Today on my bike ride around Pawnee, Illinois. I saw a the cutest Little Fee Library not far from the school. This made me think about reading and writing stories! It had the greatest message on the side . It said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. It was a quote from Dr. Seuss.
I’ve always loved to read. Maybe that’s why I love to travel so much. Even when you can’t travel, you can travel to places, AND through time with books. I was able to speak with Jean Brickey. She placed the little library outside her home. Jean said she thought it would be a good idea. She said a friend built it for her. She added she has been having several people stop. I saw a variety of books inside, and plan to add some of my own to the collection. When I spied a John Grisham book on the top adult shelf, I knew she was getting a good stock!
What a kind and wonderful thing to do!
Besides reading, this made me think about kids and stories. I hope that children are being inspired not only to read, but to write as well stories. I talked to my sister this morning about an experience we had as kids at the Illinois State Fair.
This is based on a real experience. A lot is true, but some is not!
The Saving of a President (a fiction story based on a real event)
It is only in our adulthood looking back that we realize the magnitude of what happened that day. My sister and I were just kids when we think we saved President Richard Millhouse Nixon from an assassination attempt. Can we prove it, no. Would anyone believe us, of course not, but today, we know it as clearly as we know our own names, it is only now in our mature years that we are brave enough to speak out about what happened and tell our story.
We can’t really say we did it on purpose or claim to be brave, it was all about wanting a ride!
The setting was Happy Hollow at the Illinois State Fair grounds. The date was August 18, 1971 and the President arrived in Springfield, Illinois earlier in the day at the Old State Capitol. He dedicated the four-block area around Lincoln’s Home as a National Historic site then came to the fair. Not that Debbie and I cared. At 10 and 12, we had one thing in mind, getting to the rides.
Debbie and I were visiting Springfield, Illinois to see our grandfather with our mom. Living in central Illinois, coming to Springfield was a treat and going to the Illinois State Fair was like a trip to Disneyland for Debbie and me. President Nixon’s visit had the importance of seeing our principal in our eyes at the time.
Mom took us to Happy Hollow and there it was, the iconic ride we had been looking for, the Rock-O-Plane.
Mom was not too sure she wanted us to ride this evil looking ride designed by Lee Eyerly in 1948. This ride was manufactured by the Eyerly Aircraft Company of Salem, Oregon and is sometimes nicknamed “the cages”. The ride rolls round and round as it circles. I had never ridden one before and I was finally, at the ripe age of 12, game. Debbie, always brave was also game.
The carnival ride guy that oversaw providing the rides for the Rock-O-Plane, however, was not game. “The President is about to come through,” he said.
We looked around noting the quiet Happy Hollow thrilled with the fact that there were no lines and that we were the only ones on the ride. Yes, it was the perfect time for a ride indeed.
Looking back, we don’t truly recall exactly what he looked like, he didn’t have a weapon, so I can’t say for sure that he had evil in mind, but it was clear that he wasn’t happy. “The President is coming through in a few minutes,” he said again.
Mom looked at Debbie, and I and we stepped up to the ride ready to go, Mom walked on over to get a glimpse of the President assured that we were in good hands.
If she only knew! We stepped into the “cage” and the man twisted his face into a grimace. His hands almost shook with anger as he slammed the door to our section of the metal ride.
We felt the “cage” rock as he slammed it. “I hear the President,” he grumbled as he hit the lever to start the Rock-O-Plane. We went sailing through the air, round and round, upside down. Our “cage” started turning over and over nonstop as we circled round and round quickly in Ferris Wheel motion. It wasn’t long before Debbie said, “I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Me too,” I said.
“I think he really wanted to see the President or something,” I added.
We kept waiting for the ride to be over. Round and round our little cage went as we hung from the flimsy strap that kept us in place and crashed against one another as we sailed through the air round and round over and over like a towel in a crazy wash machine cycle. “This should be over by now,” I said.
We both started yelling, “Stop!” as we traveled past him circle after circle. All we saw were evil squinted eyes that were narrowed to slits and the mumbled words “President” as we flew past.
Finally, we saw our mom come back our direction in what must have been ten or fifteen minutes. He stopped the tortuous ride and we stumbled out. “Wow, you guys really got a long ride,” Mom said smiling at the Carnival man.
He glared at Debbie, and I but nodded at our mother who was an innocent to his games with us.
Debbie and I stumbled out and held our stomachs. These days we are sure that the Carnie was part of a plot to stop the Presidential motorcade at the fairgrounds. It was only our need for speed that kept him alive that day. If it wasn’t for us, so much history, for better or worse would never have happened.
You may not believe us, but we know what we saw in his eyes, and it was pure malice in the way he said, “The President.”
We were just kids, it was unwitting, but yes, we are heroes! Or I guess, he might just really have wanted to see the President!
What stories do you have?
What experiences have you had that may encourage a bit of fun? I would love to hear what stories you have written about your experiences!
My sister and I really did ride on the Rock-O-Plane and it was a wild ride. President Nixon really was there and the Carnival man was very angry. He really wanted to see the President. And all information about attempts of violence are pure fiction on our part. Except the wild Roc-O-Plane ride, that was true. I admit I never have ridden a Rock-O-Plane again!
If you enjoy fiction stories, here is another fiction story on Traveling Adventures!