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Lillian here, happy to open the bar and serve up some fun!

When I was young, we made an annual summer outing to Riverview Park in Chicago, Illinois. 74 acres of fun founded in 1904 that finally closed down in 1967. It was called an amusement park and was always crowded with families, thrill seekers, scout troop outings, teenagers and young couples. Excitement spilled out on the midway as people watched the rides, or stood in line to wait their turn, or threw balls to knock down wooden milk bottles and win a prize. Favorite rides included The Bobs, a wooden rollercoaster on which my dad broke a rib; The Tunnel of Love; Shoot the Chutes; The Pair-O-Chutes; and Aladdin’s Castle, a classic fun house that included a collapsing stairway, door mazes, a turning barrel, and air chutes on the outside walkways that blew up ladies’ dresses to the delight of gawkers outside.

Amusement parks have become more sophisticated now: think Disney World and Epcott Center. But we still have the occasional small carnival in a mall parking lot with the obligatory Tilt-a-Whirl; and the Iowa State Fair!

For today’s Poetics, I’d like you to think about amusement parks, carnivals, rides, cotton candy, state fairs. Dig back in your memories. Did you ever ride a ferris wheel? A carousel? Maybe you can evoke the madcap feeling of a place like this. Or use the idea as an extended metaphor. In any case, amuse us, take us on a ride! Get into the spirit of Riverview Park! Use your imaginations and have fun with this! Photos below of Riverview – remembered by many Chicagoans!

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