Grandpa Story 12
DISNEYLAND, KNOTTS BERRY FARM AND DISNEYWORLD
Ed Turpin was his name. He was a dedicated, loyal, introverted church trustee at St. Mark’s Methodist Church who fixed our broken parsonage toilet more than once. Every day, in the wee hours of the morning after the last parent and child had left, he swept the parking lots in Disneyland with his huge industrial sweeper. So, guess what? Back in those days we had paper tickets, A, B, C…all the way to J. A was for the Matterhorn ride, and J was for bumper cars and Tea Cup rides!! Ed salvaged tickets strewn around the parking lot, and he gave us a big bunch once or twice every year. Needless to say, there were many more J-tickets left on the parking lot than A’s!!
We lived in Buena Park at the time, in the 60’s, close enough to hear the train whistle at Knotts Berry Farm, and less than five miles from world-famous Disneyland.
Disneyland opened its doors in July of 1955. Six thousand people received special tickets to this gala opening. Unfortunately, twenty-two thousand additional people came with counterfeit tickets. The next day, open to the public, it cost $1.00 to get inside. The plumbing didn’t work; it was a very hot summer day. Women’s high heels sunk in the new asphalt. Thanks to his contracts with movies and TV, Disney made enough money to finance and complete his first dream park. The rest is history.
I remember vividly, December of 1966, when Walt Disney died. Flags flew at half-mast. Tears flowed. One man who shared stories and gave us songs about a duck and a mouse disappeared overnight. Even today at this keyboard little warm tears still hold that moment in memory. And yet, as I walked along Main Street last week and watched the fascinated faces of little children and happy parents, I knew that the soul and vision of that one man was still very much alive…spilling over on all of us.
Living in Southern California was like living in a perpetual vacationland. Countless tandem rides with our young children to and from Knotts Berry Farm, always including the country store with cherry liquorish; plus climbing rocks along the seashore at Laguna Beach; Tinker Bell, Tiki Tiki Room, and Mickey Mouse; sitting among the swallows at San Juan Capistrano Mission; fishing for albacore in the Pacific, visiting Universal Studios in Hollywood, snowball fights two hours up in the mountains, visits to San Diego Zoo and picking deliciously fresh oranges off the trees in Don and Jean Dornan’s orchard. And there were individuals whose lives deeply influenced us.