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Funlandia

August 27, 2019

I’d been feeling there was something missing from the summers of 2006-16. It finally dawned on me that what our calendar lacked during those years were trips to Funland. Our offspring had aged out of it, and Aiden wasn’t yet old enough to go.

Funland, as everyone around here knows, is the collection of rides and games on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk. It is an absolute must if your kids are ages 3-13. I love Funland dearly for several reasons:

#1: it is amazingly inexpensive, especially the rides for the little guys and gals. Now you CAN drop a pretty penny playing Whack-a-Mole and Frog Bog, but being the klutz that I am, I so rarely won a prize that I stopped playing eons ago. The Seyfried rule was that if our preteens wanted to keep playing skee ball or whatever beyond a certain point, they had to pony up the cash themselves.

#2: Funland is family owned and has been forever (by the Fasnacht family). They keep everything in pristine condition—no trash on the ground, no chips in the carousel horses’ paint.

#3: The employees are great—teens from all over the world come to spend their summers working there, living in the Fasnacht-owned dorms, and making money for college. I have never witnessed a Funland worker being unpleasant to anyone, and most are very friendly--no mean feat when you have to start (loading kids in) and stop (helping them out) the fire engine ride a jillion times per shift.

I learned when to go (1 PM on a sunny beach day is ideal for avoiding crowds), where to park, and how to time our visits for maximum enjoyment and minimum meltdowns (I’d aim for about 90 minutes). For more than 20 years this info served me well, but for the last kid-free decade it was useless knowledge.

Then Aiden turned three. Suddenly Funland was on our schedule again. As I held his little hand and ventured in, I almost burst into tears, because recalling Aiden’s dad, uncles and aunts as children there overwhelmed me. That summer was a trial run—at just three, he was only ready for a couple of (very) tame rides. But last summer? My four year old date and I had a blast! True, the only thing he “won” was a small stuffed whale playing one of those “everyone’s a winner” games (just my speed). But he didn’t care, he loved it all—just as my kids had. We soared and dipped on the same helicopter ride that Sheridan and I had done in 1988, and it felt just right to continue this tradition with the next generation of my loved ones.

And this summer? Aiden was joined by little bro Peter, and both adore this local treasure.

How many Funland summers are ahead for me? No idea, but I hope many. There are so few places in my life that haven’t changed a bit, and sharing a special one with my grandchildren is a great, great joy.

So, as August ends, Funland, I salute you. Thanks for the memories.

 

 

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    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: www.eliseseyfried.com or email me at eliseseyf@gmail.com.