Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Round Robin: The Way the Future Was

This week's Round Robin Photo Challenge, "Nostalgia," comes from Dorn, author of the blogs Through the Eyes of the Beholder and Dust Bunny Club of North America. As you may know, large parts of my home, Casa Blocher, a.k.a. The Museum of the Weird, are filled with fondly remembered items from the past, ranging from a particular end table from 1960 to vintage Barbies, toys and games. Most of the furniture is midcentury modern or recreations thereof, which is to say furniture that would have been in style circa 1960.

But over the years I've shown you a lot of that stuff, and right now most of it is either in boxes, behind boxes, or under boxes. So I asked John for advice, and he mentioned Disneyland. Well, okay, I've showed you Disneyland before, too, but let's try for a different angle on the subject.

When I was a kid, I used to watch Walt Disney introduce his own program on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Disneyland was often featured on the show, and I longed to visit the place. But I lived in Manlius, NY, thousands of miles from Disneyland. It was clear that I wasn't going to get there any time soon.

So I made do with watching TV, and displaying one of my most prized possessions on my bedroom wall: a plain map of Disneyland on brown paper, which my parents brought me after they went to California (without me or Steve!) in 1968. John and I have a much older and nicer map of Disneyland (which is horribly difficult to photograph!) than that 1968 guide map I had, but I'll never forget that little brown map.

Was I jealous of my parents for going to Disneyland without me? You betcha! But I loved picking out on the map the one Disneyland ride I'd actually been on. You see, before it got to Disneyland, the G.E. Carousel of Progress was at the New York World's Fair (1964-1965). I was there, and I loved it. So I guess you could say that even at the ripe old age of eleven, I was nostalgic for a Disney attraction I first saw when I was seven years old. But mostly I was looking to the future. Someday, somehow, I was going to get to Disneyland!

Once my Mom moved to Florida in 1976, I got to go to Walt Disney World quite a few times: with Mom, alone, and later with John. Because of this, I'm not quite certain whether I finally got to Disneyland the one summer that my mom lived in San Bernardino. I kind of think not. If that's true, then I didn't get there until John and I had our vagabond year in 1986, in which we spent months traveling the U.S. and Canada. That first night at Disneyland, we saw Chubby Checker perform there, of all people, a nostalgia act if there ever was one. I should probably scan a photo from that trip for you, but they didn't come out well (cheap camera, probably not well developed, either) - and besides, John probably took most of those photos. The one above is from 1998, and could have been taken by either of us.

John loves Disneyland as much as I do, possibly more. He comes at it from a true nostalgic perspective. He was actually there circa 1960, so he has memories to relive when we walk down Main Street USA or go on the monorail. My memories are from TV, from Florida, and from that brown map. John's are the real thing. He's very interested in collecting memorabilia from that era of Disneyland, with pictures of attractions that in some cases have been gone for decades - especially old Tomorrowland attractions. For example, he has several postcards from the Monsanto House of the Future (also called the plastics Home of the Future). It used to stand near where Ariel's Grotto is now, at the entrance to Tomorrowland. I wish I could have seen it! This is stuff I love, too: vintage visions of the way our parents' generation thought the future would look. Even the Carousel of Progress (and its Walt Disney World "sequel," Horizons) tapped into that, happily prdicting that "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow."

John also collects View-Master reels of early Disneyland. The top left one is a related subject, the New York World's Fair, which had four Disney attractions.

Of course, John and I have made more memories of Disneyland together since 1986. Every time we've gone there, we've had a camera of one sort or another, even if it was a disposable one. So I can show you a ride that hasn't operated since the night we last rode it in 1998: Submarine Voyage. It's coming back sometime in the next year or two with a Finding Nemo theme, but it will never again be what it was.


Now go see what everyone else is posting on this topic. Better yet, join in yourself!

Linking List

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Carly said...

I am always fascinated by the items in Casa Blocher! What wonderful moments you have touched on here. Disneyland is very special, I haven't been since I was a little girl, but I still remember Main Street USA. Awesome entry!

kmm said...

Love disneyland on TV as a kid, but never dreamed of going there as USA was just so very far away. Now I'm a wee bit(well quite a lot)older I do think that maybe one day. Lovely post

DesLily said...

Nostalgia has got to be your middle name! lol... you have more 'stuff" then anyone I know!

Janet said...

The first time I went to Disneyworld was 1991, when I was 34; the first time to Disneyland was 1995. I've been back to Disneyworld a couple times since, love it. It's magical!

Suzanne R said...

Love your walk down memory lane! I went to Disneyland with Steve when we were expecting Tony, in 1972. I enjoyed it a lot despite my being at my pregnant not-best.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

ohhhh... I am sorry - dont see an email address to post you off site. I thought the link I left the other day would work. I can see I don't understand the rules yet. I think my confusion lies in that most exchanges insist on a static link that can be posted before or after the date of the prompt. I was thinking you didn't want me to join in so I removed the round robin link. I will put it back on. Sorry for the frustration; am I the only one that keeps you busy this way?

Becky said...

I swear... I wish we were neighbors. We'd have so much fun together! LOL! Even just munching popcorn and watching videos. I think of myself as a Disney fan (I've got my Maleficent costume all ready to go for Halloween this year. )

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff!!!! I LOVED Autopia! AND the submarine ride, too. Oh, and Dumbo...

MariesImages said...

I have wonderful warm memories of Disney. Good choice for nostalgia!

Steven said...

I've never been to Disneyland or World butI do recall having a few viewmaster images of the parks as a child. Great entry!

Anonymous said...

Disney for my generation!
I can remember my richer cousins getting to go to Disneyland the summer it opened. LOL, we got to watch the slides when they got home and hear about the TeePee Motel on Route 66. As Durante might say(err sing)- Thanks for the Memory!

Anonymous said...

So the future ain't what it used to be, eh? Great entry!

Bea said...

Karen, I actually went to the New York World's Fair. I have no pictures to prove it, but my parents took me and my sister. It was in 64 or 65... I would have been 11 years old. A fifth grader. I was enthralled by the Carousel of Progress and the Space Age look and feel to the exhibits. The cars of the future, the homes of the future... my eyes must have been so wide as we watched and heard how things were imagined for my future... I could write so much more about it, but have not the time. THanks for reminding me of the wonder of The World's Fair. Bea

Anonymous said...

:) yes, that's a perfect nostalgic entry! I guess I've always loved Disney and this does bring back memories.

Anonymous said...

Great Disney memorabilia!