I don’t mean to brag (yes, I do), but the year I turned ten I created the greatest thrill ride the world has ever known! And that’s no small claim coming from a guy who lived just minutes away from the original theme park Knott’s Berry Farm and a flashy wannabe built by some guy named Walt Disney (oh, OK, I loved Disneyland—and still do).
Sometime during the previous year, They (you know, They) decided to build our suburb’s first high school, the very one I would later attend. Problem: La Mirada High was slated to sit atop a hill in the middle of The Field.
Wait, what? They were about to civilize that vast uncivilized wilderness we’d claimed as our own—where we hunted trapdoor spiders, built treehouses and waged the infamous “Shingle Wars,” where lay the secret entrance to the fabled Tunnel of Doom!
The Field was our own private theme park. And now They were going to gouge a canyon through Our Hill in Our Theme Park in order to extend Adelfa Drive to the school–Adelfa, the Spanish name for the pretty-but-poisonous oleander flower. It would indeed poison our private pristine playland!
Or would it? The moment They cut that massive gouge through Our Hill something magical appeared. The steep cliff-like slopes on either side fairly screamed, “Use this!”
But how? Mommandad had recently purchased a washing machine, which was booooring. But it had arrived in The Biggest Cardboard Box Ever Made! Which I’d already employed as a spaceship at my secret Command Center in our garage. But now, thinking about those 100-foot-tall slopes (give or take a few feet), I began to wonder if…
Yes, I had it! My fellow-engineers and I were soon able to devise a method by which two fearless astronauts lying side-by-side between thick layers of re-flattened cardboard would execute a countdown ending in the most exciting words ever uttered by humans, “Blast off!” At which point several others would push my Super Rocket-Sled over the edge!
To our astonishment, not only did the 10,000 mph ride not kill us, the onrushing shower of asteroids (pebbles) bounced harmlessly over the space-age cardboard surface until we glided to a stop on the dirt road below.
Within minutes of our maiden voyage, every kid in the neighborhood came running. So we devised a method by which each would-be astronaut would earn their ride by serving as a sled-pusher.
It was the greatest attraction The Field, no, the world had ever seen!
Until They paved Adelfa Drive. Once the asphalt dried and cars began using the road, our attraction was forced to close. Still, while it lasted, my Super Rocket-Sled was…
The World’s Greatest Thrill Ride!