Ghost #1: you thought the Bill Buckner story was over, didn’t you? Well, you are wrong. Funny and wierd. Enjoy.
Ghost #2: For those of us who grew up in Central Massachusetts, I think it must have been the law that you had to go to Whalom Park once in your childhood. Even back in the ’70s and ’80s, Whalom was a creaky, rattling, old-school relic of an amusement park. Yet it was still a bit of an institution, noted for its wooden roller coaster, The Comet, which apparantly used to shake like the dickens when you rode it, adding another piece of fright into the roller coaster equation. I never rode it, myself. Frankly, amusement parks and roller coasters scare the living hell out of me. Anyplace where you strap yourself into something and get thrown around in an attempt to defy the laws of speed and gravity is not something that’s listed in my book of fun.
Whalom’s been closed down now for ten or fifteen years, driven out of business by the big business parks around here, really no different than the way the Wal-Mart’s and Home Depot’s have invaded our space, uncerimoniously sucking the life and community out of our souls. But in order to get to-and-from my sister’s house, I have to drive right by Whalom, where you can see that old wooden roller coaster in the foreground and nothing but sky and space behind it. It hovers over the road like an old spirit. Why I always feel a sense of comfort when I drive by there is totally beyond me. Again, I only went there once. I’m guessing my parents may have gone there more? But driving by it each time, I’m thinking it fuels a feeling I have and probably all of us have from time to time – a tinge of longing for a more innocent time, or another shot at childhood to right some wrongs, or to feel what it is like again to not have a smidge of real responsibility resting on my shoulders. I don’t miss the park, I miss what it represents.
Unbeknownst to me, this past Sunday was the last time I will see it, as its physical demise is finally upon us. The shaking, shambling, rotting roller coaster is already gone. You probably don’t need to even check the story to see what they’re replacing it with. That’s right……..condos. Tell me something, when our children are adults, what will they drive by to get that sense of innocence and comfort? Subdivisions? I don’t know.