SOLS:2013:4 Thrill Ride Battle Wound


Time: August 1960

Place: Coney Island, Ohio

Peeking through my bangs in my first grade school picture is a bandage that doesn’t look like it’s hiding any serious injury. But behind the bandage is a battle wound. Before school began I had a row of fairly fresh stitches across my forehead from one of my several bike collisions with our stone bridge. The bridge was a crossing for the meandering creek that ran in our front yard.

For an end of the summer fling, our family visited Coney Island near Cincinnati, Ohio. I was only five, almost 6 and my brother was two. Apparently my father wanted the thrill of a roller coaster ride and the only viable option for a passenger to go along with him…was I. Was there any discussion or did my father just ask me, “Would you like to ride the roller coaster?” Or did I request to ride the roller coaster as we passed by? Or did my dad ask my mother if she would ride with him while I watched my two-year old brother? I can imagine protests from my mother on all the above ideas. I don’t think she much liked roller coasters. I am certain she wasn’t comfortable leaving a two year old with a very shy five year old in the middle of an amusement park.  I wonder what made her give in to my dad? Did I beg to go? And didn’t they have height requirements? The fact is that she caved in to my dad.

The thrill begins……

Before I know it I am at the queue line to ride this towering wooden roller coaster that seemed to reach the sky. It is hurry, hurry to get into our car. The seconds feel like several minutes as we wait for the ride to begin. The car begins to move on the track. Stomach butterflies flutter as the roller coaster click clacks up to the cloudless sky. Head and body are pushed back against the red covering of the seat while white knuckled hands clutch the safety bar. Excitement builds along with a sprinkling of fear, as the car edges closer to the top. I become aware of the thump thump of my heart because the click clacking noise is now silent. I are at the top of the hill. For a few seconds I feel suspended in air. It’s coming! Some people dare to put their hands in the air but I hang on for dear life. The car thunders down. My body jerks from side to side as the car rapidly whips around sharp curves with my hair blowing in the wind. The car travels up another hill and down and around and yet another hill. Tightly I hang on but all of a sudden my head jerks forward and cracks into the safety bar. Ouch….blood drips as my dad realizes that I have broken open the row of stitches in my forehead.  As soon as the car comes to a stop I carefully get out of the car with dad holding my head. You know how head wounds are. We rush to the first aid station that is nearby where they stop the bleeding. Homeward bound. The end of a summer fling trip now cut short. Wonder what the ride home was like between my parents?

I am assuming that it is the following day when we go to our family doctor, Dr. Brown, for damage assessment. This battle wound requires metal clamps to pull the skin together. I do remember that Dr. Brown said I was very brave as she put the clamps in…not a tear. It must not have been too much of a family trauma as we continued to attend fairs and visit amusement parks. On the other hand, I don’t remember riding another roller coaster with my dad. ??? Come to think of it I don’t often do roller coasters…even now.

rollercoaster book 2I’ve used Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee for Reading Workshop Lesson to model making connections. Most kids have all kind of connections to roller coasters or that tingling butterfly feeling in their stomachs! Marla Frazee has other great titles for Making Connections focus lessons: Fast Food and Birthday Presents.

This entry was posted in childhood memories, connections, Marla Frazee, Reading Focus Lesson and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to SOLS:2013:4 Thrill Ride Battle Wound

  1. Lori Kidder says:

    I love how I could just feel the tension build in this. I think I need to write a roller coaster slice!

  2. Tara says:

    Yikes – I am not a roller coaster sort of person myself, and your post confirms my suspicions about the whole terrifying process. What a summer of thrills and spills you had!

  3. Tam says:

    Yeah, we kids were real guinea pigs in my day, too. It’s a wonder we survived. I loved roller coasters as a kid and it waned as I got older–wouldn’t even consider it now. It was a truly exciting ride! I can feel those coaster moments now. Clang, jerk, ouch, chug-a-chug,bang, whiplash–let’s go again! Loved that Fireball at Riverview in Illinois. Can this count as my post tomorrow?

    • Deb says:

      Never rode the Fireball in Illinois but it sounds like a monster. Yep, we survived no seatbelts and playing all over the neighborhood. Thanks for reading Tam!

  4. I love your timing, the sense of tension adds a wonderful element to your writing. I will look for this book for my collection. Thank you.

  5. newtreemom says:

    Wow, Coney Island…how many remember that name instead of Kings Island? I remember going there, and I think I rode that roller coaster, though probably not more than once. We also went to Kings Island through the Hair Bears, Hanna Barbera Land, the Smurfs and Nickelodeon…

    • Deb says:

      I had to do a little research because I wasn’t sure if it was Coney Island or Kings Island. Coney Island was flooded in 1964 so this ride did fit the time frame. I found out Coney Island has reopened. I think I need to take a road trip this summer.
      : )

  6. Kristen says:

    Love it What a great mentor text to use with your students. It demonstrates a moment in time, and wonderful description for visualization (I know I felt as if I was ascending the coaster). I’m sure their are great connecting stories relating to this with your students.

  7. Ruth Ayres says:

    I am SO glad you are writing your history. Your words have such a nostalgic feel that I love.

  8. Ruth was able to find the words that I could not as I read this post. This is so pleasing to read….it’s your voice. Lovely.

  9. I just can’t get over what a strong lead that is. I went back and read and reread.

    • Deb says:

      I wrote a strong lead? Ha! Admire you so. I had to go back and reread too. I wrote from my first grade picture…it’s a crazy looking picture. My hair is a mess and then there is the “battlewound”. Thanks Christy for reading.

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