Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

Spring break is a week away. My kids are hanging on by a thread. Both of them have said they feel burned out. They are ready to get out of town. Not going to say where we are going because I may post while away and I like the element of surprise.

When I was a kid we rarely traveled. You’d think given that fact I’d remember all of the vacations we did take. You’d be wrong, I remember only a few. One trip, however, was so special it warranted both the Flashback and Forget About it designation.

Flashback because there is no way I can Forget About it-Most memorable childhood vacation.

Storybook Forest at Idlewild Park, Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
Ahh..I still vividly recall many parts of this trip. That is saying a lot because I can barely remember last week. The fact that I remember details of a vacation that took place over 35 years ago, must mean it was pretty good. Or it means I saw things that no one in their right mind could ever forget. You be the judge.

No really, this place was fun!

Here are some of the highlights:

The Characters:
The little old lady who lived in the shoe. She was nice…I think. Her kids didn’t look very happy though.

Just your average single mom doing all she can to raise her kids. Why is one of them on the roof? And what are those two doing behind the shoe?

The Crooked Man’s house. Never actually saw him, just evidence of him–everywhere. Now that I think about it, a Crooked Man is kind of wrong.

Crooked Man’s house. He would be a registered offender now, right?

Jack and Jill. Yep, those two. Unfortunately, we found the remains of them, you know at the bottom of the hill.

Jack and Jill, I think I might have heard one of them whisper, “Call DFACS please…”

The Activities:

A giant slide! We went down a giant slide! We sat on old gunny sacks to get down that slide. Unfortunately, my dad broke his pinky on the slide. He thought my sack was going out of control so he reached out to slow me down and *snap* broken pinky. Pretty sure that didn’t ruin the trip or the experience though.

There was also a house of mirrors. The kind of mirrors that when you stand in front of them they distort your size and shape. When you are young, that kind of thing is great. Unless of course you are afraid that the Crooked Man might appear at any moment behind you…

Writer’s embellishment: not sure where this is. I needed a picture though.

And the last stop, a perfectly innocent petting zoo where I squeezed the hell out of a baby goat and was spat on by a llama.

What was the most memorable family vacation you took as a child? Were did you go? What made it great memorable?


10 responses

  1. That is a creepy looking vacation spot, Jennifer. That Jack in the Box thing is enough to cause nightmares for a decade or so.

    I was born in Georgia, but we moved to Wisconsin when I was a few months old. I can vaguely recall my parents taking me to some similarly crappy tourist trap called Wisconsin Dells. Or one year, we went to the Indy 500, which I kinda appreciated, but mainly thought was loud and difficult to follow.

    However, when I was 9 or 10, we moved back to Georgia, and the summer after move, we took our first week long family vacation to the beach. It was Daytona, I believe. Having spent my early years in the midwest, I was SO excited about having seven whole days to play in and around the ocean. Our first day there, it rained, so we decided to go to the movies. What did we see? It was a new film by a guy named Steven Spielberg. Yes, we kicked off our beach vacation by seeing JAWS. Needless to say, I was freaked the hell out, and despite sunny weather the remainder of our time there, I didn’t get in the ocean a single time. I think my dad even had to splash around the hotel pool for a few days just to convince me that there weren’t any sharks in it. Fun? Not really. Memorable? Yep.

  2. Yes, the above is somewhat creepy, although it reminds me of parts of Rock City, for some reason. And the clown and the Jack & Jill remind me of the dancing minions from the “Once More With Feeling” Buffy episode.

    My father was insistent that he did not like the beach, so every vacation we ever went on involved going to Alabama to visit relatives (which was fun, and the part of Alabama my relatives lived in was actually somewhat similar to some of the pictures above) or to the Great Smoky Mountains. We would stay in Pigeon Forge and my mom still has the pictures – 1 taken each year for 3 years in a row – of me and my siblings with the same Indian in Gatlinburg. If you flip them quickly it’s like we age standing next to an Indian Dorian Gray.

    Of course, after I went off to college and my parents divorced, I found out that my Dad had never actually been to the beach. But, once he did go, he found that the beach was the best vacation you could possibly imagine. On the other hand, I didn’t see the beach until my sophmore or junior year when the fraternity had a Beach Week trip.

  3. Europe with my parents when I was 12. My dad “dragged” me to every cathedral ever erected while I sat in the back seat of the rental car (he almost crashed 25 times because of the opposite side of the road thing) with my walkman cassette player blasting Duran Duran Rio and Michael Jackson Thriller. I look back now and wish I had paid closer attention to the majestic sites he was showing me!
    Oh, I’m gonna have nightmares of that Jack in the Box pictured above! WTH is that thing?

    • The older I get, the more I understand the saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I remember being on family trips and my brother sleeping in or not wanting to leave the hotel room. Our lack of interest might have been one of the reasons we rarely traveled.

      Yesterday, I asked my mom what she remembered about the trip to Storybrook Forest and she said, the old woman who lived in the shoe. She must have repressed the rest.

  4. Are you kidding me? As a kid we had a membership to this place!! I was born about 45 minutes from there! We took Ellie there last summer! I wrote about here… http://mylifeastaz.com/?p=177

    I’m totally jumping up and down right now, because I’ve never known anyone else (aside from my family) to have ever been there!!! Excuse me while I run to call my Aunt to tell her someone else has been there!

  5. WOW. what a small. small world. i used to go to storybook forest all the time! i recognized the photos right away. i might hafta dig up some old photos. they might be polaroids though. WOW!

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