Elam: Summer memories of Norfolk abound

Published 12:05 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Let’s step back in time to the 1950’s before the mega amusement parks along the interstate highways.

Each summer it was a special treat for our family to go to Ocean View Amusement Park in Norfolk. 

I had been saving my pennies all year for that special trip.  The excitement began with the morning ferry ride across the Chesapeake Bay from Kiptopeke to Little Creek. Mother and I would stay up on deck watching the fishing boats and naval vessels.

Email newsletter signup

The captain would always give a fog horn blast to the passing ferry returning to Kiptopeke. 

Once on the Norfolk side, it seemed like the car ride was forever from the ferry terminal to Ocean View. I felt a sense of excitement when the wooden Sky Rocket Rollercoaster came into view. Arriving early, Daddy would have his pick of parking spaces so that he could face the Promenade to watch the boardwalk strollers and evening shows. 

I would fill my shorts pocket with my little treasure and Mother and I would then head to the boardwalk to take in the sights and the penny arcades. Yes, it only cost a penny to play the games, such as crane diggers, Skee Ball, the mechanical “fortune teller,” the “Peep Show” – which was a crank driven photo-flipping machine featuring an 1880’s dance routine by Little Egypt.

In the 1950’s there were still a lot of the 1943 steel pennies in circulation. Inevitably it seemed that many of them were deposited in my little bank. 

Due to the magnetic quality of the steel penny, arcade and vending machines would reject them as slugs every time.

I soon learned to trade them with Mama and Daddy for the good copper pennies.

As evening approached and all of the lights came on along the boardwalk, it became a magical world for me. The night was climaxed with an aerial show and then fireworks. 

I was always sad when I stood on the deck of the ferry as it pulled out of Little Creek. In the distance were the lights of Ocean View, Buckroe, and Bay Shore beaches with the Ferris wheels and other amusements. Soon I was curled up on one of the deck benches beside Mama fast asleep with dreams of that summer’s great adventure.

Community Communiqué

The Glenn Memorial Baptist Church Kitchen Light Ministry Community Dinner will be this Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The Friends of the Appomattox River will host a Moonlight Paddle on Sandy River Reservoir this Friday beginning at 7 p.m. Meet at the main landing at the reservoir at 7 p.m., shove off by 7:30 p.m., paddle with ample light just before the moonrise, and return by 9:30 p.m. with very little light except that afforded by a full moon. Flashlights are mandatory. 

There will be a Sesquicentennial Poker Run to benefit Pamplin Volunteer Fire Department and EMS this Saturday with rain date on August 8. Registration will start at 9 a.m. with first group out at 10 a.m.

The Pamplin Fire Department will have available a barbecue lunch. 

Registration with the Pamplin Youth Association (PYA) for the fall cheer and flags team program for ages five and up will be this Saturday at noon at Elon Baptist Church.

For more information, contact Carolyn Dolan at coachcarolyn2@yahoo.com or the church.

Farm Use String Band will sponsor the free Old Time Dance this Saturday. Sam Finkelstein and Ashley Wright of Arcadia Hold will be providing the dinner menu: sandwich bar with rolls, sliced meats and cheeses, garden fresh tomatoes and cucumber salad, Amish potato salad, a homemade dessert, and iced tea for $4. Doors for the dinner will open at 6 p.m. with music beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Prospect Historical Society will meet on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Prospect fire house.

The Pamplin Town Council will meet on Thursday, August 6, at 6 p.m. in the Town Office.

Evelyn Johnson celebrated her seventh birthday with a luau at Holliday Lake State Park on July 11.

The party was complete with palm trees, pink flamingos, hula skirts, and the limbo. She wishes to thank all of her friends and family that made it such a spectacular day for her.  

Please keep the following people in your thoughts and prayers: Dorothy Womack, Betty Jean Bolt, Gary Fiscus, and Vicki White.

If you have news, please call Edwina Covington (574-6576).