Getting Ready

Here it is Palm Sunday already. Morey’s Pier is not open, but is scheduled to open on Easter Saturday, which is next week. I remember, as a kid, when the Casino Arcade opened on Palm Sunday, including the bumper cars, which was one of my favorite rides back then. They had a height requirement, which we ignored, and most of the time, so did the operators. We just shoved the tickets at him and ran to one of the cars.

It took a few years to become “legal,” and now I seem headed in the other direction. I’ve lost an inch, but I often tell people I used to be 6′-4”,. not 5′-10”. Most people say, “Really?” and I say, “No.”

I spent a few years avoiding many rides because of an incident from when I was fairly young. Our Aunt Minnie took Larry and me to the boards one night and we went on the Tilt-a-Whirl. It put a lot of pressure on my neck, so I stayed off most adult rides. Sometime around the late 50s I ventured onto the Jack Rabbit and other rides, including the Wild Mouse. They seemed fun, but not that exciting. I even went on the Round-up, a ride I used to fear intensely. Now, as with my height, I seem to be headed in the other direction.

I used to be pretty much Mr. Roller Coaster, but I went on the Excalibur, a wooden coaster at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and thought it was a bit scary. Last October I went on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a ride I had been on before, but was not really pleased with the experience.

My friend, Rocco, and I used to go on the Rock-o-Plane (no relation) on Marine Pier and pulled the handle back so we would go upside-down. We also had a bunch of tickets for the Arcade, and, I hate to admit, we used to go on the Tubs-of-Fun, a kiddie ride, but we would make the tubs spin really fast! Doesn’t that count for something?

But now visitors can enjoy, for just a small fortune, the “Morey Experience,” as I like to call it. Yes, wristbands, as if there were a theme park somewhere, but there is not. And let’s not forget the water parks, which serve alcohol (nothing wrong with drinking and water parks, right?), as well as an $85 breakfast for two on the Giant Wheel. Look, I used to eat my supper (often a hoagie and a milkshake) on the Tilt-a-Whirl, which I ran, but why anyone would want to eat breakfast on a Ferris wheel escapes me.

Back in the day, tickets went for 5 cents, 24 for a dollar. Most adult rides were six tickets, kiddie rides three. Hunt’s Pier had a number of seven-ticket rides. Most families could afford those prices, even at the wage level back then. I can’t imagine where they get the money for the Morey’s piers, which are all owned by the Moreys, of course. What do kids do? We used to ride our bikes to the boards and go on a few rides sometimes. At night we usually walked, something that seems appalling to kids these days.

Yes, we walked to the beach, as did the guests staying at our rooming house. Now, our niece visits and thinks she’s entitled to a ride to the beach. Yes, her feet work fine.

I now have a hard time walking a block, not because I’m lazy, but because I tire very easily due to the number of illnesses I have. I’m working on it, though.

Anyway, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, in Ocean City, opened for Palm Sunday weekend, and they still sell tickets. Yes, of course they cost more than in the old days, but they’re not that bad. So a dollar is ten dollars. Who cares? I’m not a big fan of Ocean City, but there’s something to be said about not having to spend a small fortune to ride a few rides.

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