Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Closing a part of my childhood

I was the big winner, the girl with the golden egg. To be honest, I know this more from stories my parents told me and photos in old albums. I was either 2 or 3 and we had gone to Houston to visit my grandmother, my aunt and my cousins. While we were there we went to the amusement park Astroworld. It was Easter weekend and there was an Easter egg hunt with a special prize going to the kid who found the golden egg. From what I've heard, it was a bit of controlled madness and I am sure one of my sisters was in the middle of the fray.

But I was little, so my dad took me by my hand to go search for eggs. Mom recalls at one point there was this guy from the park who kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye. This was the early 70s so there was no thought of stalking or pervs. The man watched me as I approached a tree with an egg in it and my father lifted me up so I could grab it. Suddenly there was this big commotion -- I had done it, I was the girl who found the golden egg.

I'm not sure what all the prizes were but I do remember one of them was a year's membership to the Astro club. The other was a big blue and white bear named Astro. When I mean big, there are photos of me hugging this bear and he's bigger than I am.

Thirty-some years later I still have Astro, although he's worse for the wear. Since our junior high and high school mascot was the bears and our colors were blue and white, Astro was a part of teenage life -- lasting way beyond the average kid stuffed animal. I'm sure he also got a bit abused, getting spirit ribbons stuck in him and occassionally taking him to pep rallys, although I think we made this much of a habit. Throughout my 20s Astro lived in my parents' attic. Now he resides in ours. He is so filthy and matted that I wouldn't want a little kid getting near him, yet I just can't seem to bring myself to part with him.

Needless to say, I was sad to read in today's paper that Astroworld is closing. I felt as if a part of my childhood is closing with it.

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