Twenty five years ago, I started working for an amusement park in southern Indiana. I had grown up going there with my family every summer and I wanted a "fun" summer job. I knew that every year the park had a special day called "Play Day". While in high school, I was never able to work that day because obviously, I was in school. The first year I was in college, I was able to work. I didn't know what to expect. I had never been around people or anyone with a disability. What I didn't realize is that it would be my favorite day of the season...every season! The park was closed to the public for the day. It was only open to children with disabilities, caregivers and teachers. Over 2,000 children attended the one in 2005 (I'm not sure how many attended while I worked there). Holiday World works with Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center to pull it all off. I think of that day often now that I have had Hailey. I understand the caregivers that were there a little better. I think wistfully of the joy and laughter that I witnessed while I worked those Play Days. There wasn't a better way to start the amusement park season!
It was at this amusement park that I met my husband. He was a lifeguard and I worked in the administration office. We both worked there several years and left in 1996. I always said I wanted to take our kids back to Holiday World and show them where their parents met. Needless to say, we failed at that plan until this summer. I was so excited to take the kids to such an awesome family amusement park that I have so many fond memories of and one of my earliest memories of children with disabilities. If you ever find yourself near Santa Claus, Indiana, check it out!!!
|22 years later....|
|Who would have imagined this in 1993?|
|Hailey LOVED everything!|
|The only pic I have of the boys from that day.|
|She made a new friend, Holidog!|