A typical day at Mountain would
be to pull up into the tree shrouded and shady parking area early in the day.
After walking up the steps near the Carousel, we would head toward the office as
the Flyer played a mean game of "Peak-A-Boo" over the tree tops. Inside Id greet
Walter, ask how things were, and venture out onto the midway with tickets, first
stop of course, the Flyer for a "Wake-ME-Up" run.
As always, she delivered, the
Fan Turn being a wicked section to ride in the last seat. Next up was the
Dinosaur Den, which, still to this day, and a great many other Dark Rides later,
is still ranked in my top ten due to both its Huge layout, great stunts,
wonderful facade and overall detailing! Just seeing the Pop over the midway
section and being able to walk under this was well worth the trip. The
Pirates Den was, much like Jay spoke of, a more Kids type of ride, but at night,
under the glow of black lighting, it too packed a punch and took on a more
sinister look and feel. After the two dark rides, it was time to hit the
Carousel for a spin, as well as the Whip and Dodgem. A "Time Out" was taken
playing a good round of Mini-Golf. Back down the main midway we would ride
the Tilt, and Satellite Jets then on a rare spinning ride, the Tempest,
but remember, Mountain wasn't just rides, it was also about its people who
worked there, as you are about to see!
One of my all time favorite
Amusement Park folks was a very special lady who worked in the parks Pavilion
building, near the back end of the Flyer's turnaround. Walking up to the
building, you would enter the building thru garage type of roll-up doors.
There was a stage at one end, and several food stands at the other. Here was one
of the very special folks who made the park what it once was: "Friendly
Mabel". This lady wore a smile almost as big as a paper plate, she
was like a long, lost Aunt to many of us, and no matter what your mood was,
after conversing with her, you would view the world through happier eyes. We would
grab some great slices of Pizza, a pitcher of Beer, and wait until Mabel made
her way towards our wooden table. Here she would ask us questions much like:
" how are you kids doing today?", "Nice weather we are having at the park today,
no?", "Have you taken a ride on the Big Coaster yet?"., etc. etc. Once
you left the building, full, you were also happy, mostly due to that special Women, whom,
I might guess, was up there at the park for a few years, but
had a heart of gold much like a child. I miss her badly to this day, as do, I'm
sure, many other folks.
Could this have been the Editor, circa 1985, hanging out and talking "shop" with "Friendly
Mabel"? He's not commenting, but we suspect it may very well have been!
Mabel was a huge part of Mountain Park due to her smile and personality!
After stuffing ourselves badly, it was
time to hit the midway and have some more fun. We said our Goodbye's to
Mabel and set off for the arcade located in the former OOTW building. This
arcade had wonderful, older games to play, and also had a slew of quarter Pin
Ball Machines also from greats like Williams and Bally and Gottlieb to name a
few. Also, located near this building along the midway was one of my
favorite gags of all time: There, mounted near the buildings wall was a
funny, wooden Barrel. It had a sign that read: Insert 25 cents for a
BIG surprise!". It had a coin slot at the top, and what looked to be a
small hole at the bottom. Park goer's would venture past this machine, stare at
the words on the sign, then insert a quarter, then go running back several feet
to see what would happen! What Did happen, you may ask?!? Well.........
Nothing! Get it? A real surprise! Very funny to sit back on a park bench
and watch the fun out of this little machine that made people laugh themselves
silly at being taken advantage of !
Hanging out and relaxing circa 1986, could this also be the Editor at rest in kiddy land with
"Slim Jim The Cow Boy" ? Again, he's not telling, but we suspect it was
the Editor at large and very happy at Mountain Park, Holyoke Mass.
We would then have another
bite to eat, and start to hit the rides on the end of the midway, the
Scrambler, Bubble Bounce as well as the Flying Scooters, a really great
flying ride! The sun would start to set, so it was time to ride the Chair
Lift, down, down the parks hillside, past the picnic areas and into the woods.
If you had a girl with you, it was one of the most romantic spots ever to be at!
Back to the Midway, with Night time rides on the Flyer as well as both Dark
Rides, and by now, the Pirates Den, would take on a much sinister look. Soon,
the eve grew older, so we would say our goodbye's and head out to the parking
lot for the trip home, all the while with the Flyer's lights sparkling in the
night sky, a simple beacon of pleasure for all to see and view! Lazily, we would
set our charts for home, as the Carousel's music stuck in our heads for several
hours. It would be this way for many years to come.