As this weekend quietly approaches I remember what I did last weekend (how quickly time flies) namely, go to the great Disneyland. Oh my.
I had not been since I went for the very first time. I was six. My parents brought me to California for the first and only time, until now, that I live here. Who’d a thunk it ey?
I remember staying at a variety of (what I thought were the most luxurious and splendid) motels. One stands out in my memory for it had giant greek pillars and a giant swimming pool with a mosaic of tiles beautifully arranged on the bottom of the swimming pool floor. I was in heaven. Every morning my father and I would wake up and go for our morning swim. I will never forget the warm sun slowly rising, the pool completely empty and my father and I swimming about frantically in the chilly water.
I also remember Denny’s as a particularly delicious place. Nowadays I would perhaps not admit this so openly, but at that time, Denny’s was yummy. Pancakes for breakfast and some orange juice – simply divine.
My parents are wonderful and when I was six they decided to make this trip to California to take me to Disneyland. Growing up in Norway meant I hadn’t really been that exposed to what awaited me in this magical land. I had seen some Disney films and had a vague idea but I didn’t quite comprehend the magnitude of this place. When we arrived I was awe-struck. Perfectly trimmed hedges, clean streets, adorable shops and buildings and…oh MY GOD Minnie Mouse!!! She was the first “person” I saw… I was wearing a navy blue polka dot skirt and a navy blue blouse and a beautiful hair band. White socks and navy blue sandals. There I stood next to Minnie Mouse who wore her red polka dot dress. I was in awe. I remember she didn’t talk so I didn’t either, I decided it best to communicate in signs as that was the language of choice apparently. My mother took a picture and I squealed with joy. What IS THIS MAGICAL PLACE I thought in euphoria.
I also remember the submarine. As it descended we passed fish and other sea like creatures and then suddenly a group of mermaids. I dropped my jaw and turned to the submarine and in a loud voice said, “See? I TOLD YOU they exist.” I then sort of giggled in a “I told you so” fashion and went back to staring out the window. When I returned to school I informed everybody that I had seen mermaids and therefore, knew, for a fact that they were real. If ever challenged I argued this fact till I was blue in the face. I still do.
The scary house also stands out in my mind. When the walls disappeared from behind me I thought I would faint. And then, of course, A Small World. I sat and waved at every character as they sang to me, yes, to me. It was heaven.
Pirate ships and songs made me giggle lots. The first time I went on it, I think it was the most scary ride I had ever been on. I remember being impressed with how the boat “dropped” in the dark…. It was rather epic.
Finally there was the carousel. I have always and will always love carousels. I like to get on the tallest horse and sit proudly. I feel like Marry Poppins and I secretly still hope that the horse will dislodge from the carousel and goes off into the distance whilst I sing. As I sat upon my beautiful horse this time, I remembered just how I felt as a six-year-old girl. Sitting there now as a twenty-six year old girl, or young lady as some would say, I felt a whirlwind of emotions. (1) I missed my parents and felt enormous gratitude for all that they are (2) Felt excited about bringing my children to this wonderland and (3) thought of how I want to play more in my everyday life. Oh, and laugh lots. Yes laugh plenty.
When my parents brought me, twenty years ago, I caught wind of the fact that there was a Disneyland hotel and I begged to stay there. My parents, to my great surprise (I honestly didn’t think they would say yes), DID in fact say YES! I remember the room as beige with long curtains. And if I were to confess something, I had expected it would be like a mini-disney in a room – which it wasn’t – so I felt a bit bad about insisting but then savored it. The best part was taking a train from the hotel to Disneyland the next day. It felt like taking a magic carpet – from what my parents have told me I smiled so much and was in dis-belief most of the time.
I have to say my parents really did do it right. They hadn’t told me so much about Disneyland and it was their first time too so we all enjoyed in the novelty of it. I don’t remember asking for many things, maybe just Minnie mouse ears and an ice cream (or two). I don’t really remember what we ate but I do remember going on the teacups and laughing hysterically.
The feeling I remember most is loving my parents so much and feeling so lucky to have them take me to this glorious place. It was the best thing they had ever done (in my mind then). I will never forget it. As I stood watching the nights fireworks, my husband to be holding my hand, my best friend Elsita smiling excitedly at me, I thought of how the memory of my parents and I at Disneyland would be with me forever and how memories make things eternal…..for even if you don’t remember them at one point, you will have told somebody and they will live on that way…. But then I thought what happens when they cease to be told and vanish – where do they go? Perhaps the point of good memories is not that they go, but that they happened and exist for however long that is.
Next time my parents visit we will have to go to Disneyland again……and make more memories.