Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sentimental Sunday, The Carousel of My Youth

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

My grandmother Florence Ruth (nee Dews) Bowen lived and worked around Nags Head, Dare County, North Carolina when I was a youngster.  My parents would take a few weeks each year and travel from Michigan to see both sides of my extended family.  It seems we always stopped in Rockingham County Virginia to see my mother's family and then we would drive down to the "beach" to see my father's family. 

Nags Head, as I remember it from a child's point of view, was the unspoiled beach, traffic, bingo and THE carousel.  I adored that carousel, the magnificently painted horses, so tall off the ground I just know my parents must have lifted me up. 

Slowly the carousel would start, the music, the horses starting to pump up and down.  I was even taken with the mechanical aspects of a carousel, all those poles and the gears in the drive assembly, it was all magical.  We always went to the carousel at night, so there were lights glittering as well, all the more enchantment for a little one.

Moving slow at first, the carousel would start to speed up, round and round we would go, the horses being pulled up and down by the poles.  I would hold on for dear life, I mean, it was going faster and faster and the ponies went high! 

And, then, much too soon, you could see the attendant walk over and pull the mechanical arm, and the carousel would slow down, the ponies would go up and down slower and slower, would you stop at the top, or would your pony stop down low?

I never outgrew that awe and fascination and love of the carousel.  All my life, each and every carousel I see sends those spikes of excitement throughout me, reminding me of Nags Head, the beach, the lights, the sounds, the carousel.

*These beautifully painted carousel horses are from the Davis Mercantile in Shipshewana, Indiana where they have a fully restored 1906 Carousel.

**I know that some parts of my memories are probably a bit wrong, as time passes, so do the particulars, and these memories are from my extreme youth.  However, they are warm and fuzzy memories and even if they are a tad wrong, I'll keep them thank you very much!  I never want to loose that fascination with the carousel.


IrishEyes said...

This story is beautiful, and so are the photographs of the carousel horses in Indiana. What a wonderful memory! I have a special place in my heart for carousels as well. Thank you for sharing this story Carol. Cheers! Jennifer

Nolichucky Roots said...

Oooh! Great photos. Brought back many great memories for me too. Thanks.

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

I loved riding the merry-go-round as we called it. Thanks for reminding me of those memories.

Karen said...

I love the way you write, Carol... One minute I'm reading, the next I'm participating. Brings back a lot of great memories for me too.

Barbara Poole said...

Your post should bring a smile to everybody who reads it. I never went on one until I began dating, and enjoyed it then! Never saw the carousel at Nags Head, and I used to go there several times a year. Ever been to Ocracoke?

Greta Koehl said...

I still love to ride carousels. And these horses are magnificent specimens! Nothing like carousel music and the accelerating/decelerating up and down of the carousel. Such a beautiful description. If you are ever in the DC area, I recommend the Glen Echo carousel.

footnoteMaven said...

Oh Carol, I loved this! Traveling up and down on a black horse and ending on the highest point on the pole. Not wanting to get down.

The wonderful thing about memories is that they are ours and ours alone. Neither wrong nor right. But oh so comfortable. -fM

Carol said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments, I do believe this may be one of my all time favorite posts that I have written. Has to be that warm and fuzzy stuff!

May you all find the carousel of your dreams!


Grandma MG said...

Carol, I too wish to thank you for reminding me of the memories of riding a carousel! Such wonderful time. Hope to see you in Q. Mina

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just love your photos, and your story is beautiful!