Good afternoon to all my followers. Hope you are handling the heat better than I. I am having a migraine due to the moisture and humidity in the air and can't wait for it to go away. I have sat with a compress on my head, neck and shoulders for the past couple of hours.
Today while I as thinking of summertime...it brought to mind the carnival that my parish ha when I was young. Now I grew up in the city of Chicago and our church, St. Stanislaus B & M had a huge one each year. The carnival had just about everything you could imagine. It filled every empty spot on the grounds where the school, rectory and church stood. It was adjacent to the fields of Hanson Park where they filled the grounds with all the amusement rides. Even in the church hall, which was enormous, they held Bingo games The stage was filled with prizes. The bar at the back of the hall served drinks, and the crowds just poured in each day. I cannot recall exactly how long the carnival went, but it must have gone on for 2 weeks I think. There, next to the backside of the rectory was set up a huge stage where each night there was entertainment of some sort. Polka Bands galore. Lil' Wally was there! When I was 12 I made very good friends with the daughter of the shoemaker across the street. She was much older than I, but I met her because I went to school with her niece. She knew that I could sing....so she had pull in the church and I think she must have perhaps had pull with someone in the band...because I knew that at one point each evening, was singing up on the stage with the band. I remember one of the numbers was Ka Sara Sara which Doris Day used to sing. I sang Never on a Sunday as well and there was one more song that for the moment escapes my memory. Every so often something happens that stirs that up in my mind, but I seem to lose it as fast as it comes. To think back now that at such a young age I was entertaining the crowds. I of course loved every minute of it. I was perhaps one of the first "American Idol" performances. HAHAHA.. But I loved it. I had hoped that one day I would be on stage...I guess my dream somewhat came true. Perhaps the venue is different...but entertaining people was the main factor in the equation.
I remember my favorite ride was always the tilt a whirl. I could ride that for hours on end....it especially became easier as I became a teen and the guys that were in charge let me on over and over again without a ticket. I guess that wasn't really right...now that I think back on it...but at least it didn't hurt anyone.
The food was amazing...loads of Polish and Italian food. I used to volunteer as a teen in the teen group and run the ice cream booth. I made more root beer floats and black cows than I ever thought was imaginable. Anyone know the difference between the 2? Root beer float is made with vanilla ice cream and the black cow is made the same except you use chocolate ice cream. I remember the stuffed animals and the games they used that you could play to win them. I always choose the astrological game. You would put the money down on the month of the year and throw the special 12 sided die. I used to win a lot, but I was never really the stuffed animal kind of girl, so I used to give them all to my younger cousins and godchild.
The best part of the night was when they did the fireworks at the end. Oh, how I loved that. And I must say, they put on a magnificent show. Not only were there fireworks in the air, but they put on a show on the ground at the end as well. The last firework they showed was on the ground and it was of a big cross. It was a church carnival you know! I just thought it was amazingly beautiful. And then I would walk home . On days that I wasn't working there, just there fr fun, I would walk back and forth all night long. It was only about 6 blocks away. Odd to look back on it now. Back then I was 11,12,13 or so and would walk home alone at 10 or 11 at night and never worried about anything. Never afraid....You would not see that happening today. I am not sure the world was just not as crazy or we were just more naive about it.
It was even a joy to go downstairs into the church basement and play Bingo with what seemed mostly the older folk...and yet there were so many nice things on the platform to win...even for kids...but when I won, I usually picked something my grandma would like. She had Arthritis pretty bad and never seemed to get out much to things like a carnival. Grandpa had already passed away and my mother was always working at her nighttime job. So it as me and me alone...but I was never really alone...I knew almost everyone there. I wish though that Grandma could have seem the fireworks on he ground...I know she would have been impressed. By the time I came into the picture, I was the youngest grandchild of the youngest child, so age wise...my Grandma was already older.
It was sad when the carnival packed itself up and moved on to the next town. But there was always the dream of next year when it would return. In the meantime...there was Riverview. Now that;s another story! Hope you had the opportunity to experience the neighborhood carnival. Have a great day!