By Brenda S. Brown
It was the end of the school year in 1956 and our family to
include Uncle Bill and Aunt Inez were going on an extended vacation. I am
saving the details of the cross country adventure for a later column; this story
focuses on just one magical day of that trip.
Our parents had purchased a brand new Ford Station wagon to
transport the six of us on the long excursion but David, six years old, and
Brenda, then eight years old, had no idea where we were going except to meet and
visit with our long lost uncle, Theophilus Velver Scott, who resided in
California. The coloring books of Mickey and Minnie Mouse should have given us
our first clue of the adventure that waited, but David and I were just
youngsters and did not recognize the subtle hints.
The adults planned to travel through some nights with the couples
taking turns driving and sleeping but surprisingly that plan did not last long,
fatigue and different styles of navigating caused them to abandon that
arrangement early into the journey. David and I rode in the back of the station
wagon most of the time and when we got weary; adults flattened the seat and we
napped on blankets as we rode relentlessly toward the west.
We got up extremely early the day we were going to Disneyland and
arrived at the park before the dense crowds gathered; imagine our surprise when
we first recognized the Cinderella castle.
Being members of the Richland Volunteer Fire Department, daddy
and Uncle Bill visited the Disney Fire Station and learned that it also housed
an apartment for Walt Disney and his family and that when he was present at the
park, a candle twinkled in the second floor window.
We purchased a map of the theme lands and attractions, which was
designed to take home as a souvenir and color. While touring Main Street we
learned that there was a parade each afternoon so it was decided that we must
attend that event.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Cup and Saucer rides were among
our favorites, and we used numerous coupons during the morning. In the opening
year the main features were the Town Square, Main Street, the Plaza, Adventure
land, Frontier land, Fantasy land and Tomorrow land.
Soon it was time to gather in the town square for the parade and
the entire area was decorated with bright banners and colorful balloons. The
avenues and the floats were crowded with Disney characters and at the end were
the famous mouse couple, Mickey and Minnie, and accompanying them was Walt
Disney. I remember daddy lifting me high into the air to shake hands with the
There is a hand drawn portrait of our momma that hangs in my
foyer that is signed and dated; I never have to wonder when we went to
Disneyland. There are still wrinkles where it was rolled up while transported
from California back to Georgia.
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