Friday, July 19, 2013

Six Flags Over Me

1974 Six Flags Over Georgia Souvenir Map
The Daugette family were neighbors, they had a lot of kids too.  Billy Daugette and me were pretty close to the same age and we messed around a good bit as kids.  Billy and his older brother Rush shared the same upstairs bedroom.  They had the cool stuff, cool toys in their bedroom.

The Daugette walls were covered with paintings, portraits, and pictures.  The walls throughout their huge home were adorned with all kinds of images.  There were pictures on every wall.  Walk inside, head up the banister and there were pictures and pictures hung by more pictures with little wall to see between.  For some reason all those pictures made that house all the more a home. Going to the Daugette home was always an adventure for me.

One day a big picture caught my attention.  It was a huge poster of a fantastical place that seemed as if it were pulled from a fairy tale.  The poster hung was in Billy's bedroom.  I inspected it closely.  I became fascinated by it.  "What's this?" I asked.  Billy didn't look up or come over to see what I was asking about.  He just continued looking down, messing with whatever he was messing with.  "Six Flags", he replied nonchalantly.

"What is it?"  Where is it?  Is it really real? 
Have you been there?"

"Sure." he replied without looking up.  "We go there all the time."

"Wow...it's really real!"

It was a couple of years later that I eventually got to go.  My first Six Flags Over Georgia trip was with the Bellevue United Methodist Church youth group around 1971 or 72.  It was a miserably hot three hour bus ride from Gadsden,AL to Atlanta, GA (as the bus travels).  If you wanted air you had to drop down a window next to you.  I didn't mind the heat as much because I was finally getting to go to Six Flags!.

Being there felt other-worldly.  The first time there and I was disoriented for most of the day.  Everything was new to me and so I stuck with my pal Joey Pullen who had been there several times previously.  I let him navigate the terrain and recommend the best rides.  Waiting in line was agonizing.  The best rides were the longest waits.  We had several breaks in the day when it rained.  Joey pushed onward.  Some rides closed temporarily while other rides kept going.  Riding rides in the rain was a very memorable experience.  The day had been so hot and steamy that the rain felt so good.  Most folks stayed off the rides so Joey and I would run back to the beginning and hop on again and again.

I remember the bus ride back.  The ride back in the evening was cooler and much quieter. The ride home didn't seem to take near as long.  Everyone was wiped out.  We had departed from that strange other-worldly place and were traveling homeward down the dark highway.  I remember that trip well.

I guess I went to Six Flags about four times before I reached the age of twenty.  Much of the thrill had faded by then.  
It's been over three decades since I last went to Six Flags.  I went in 1980, but it ended up being a brief visit.  We left well before noon.

Gina, Katie and Kelsey went yesterday.  They all came home late and tired.  There was some excitement, but bed was more on their mind that retelling their day's adventure.  I had thought of them throughout the day.  I wondered if Katie and Kelsey had as much fun as I did my first time.
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