My first six years of life were spent in the city of my birth--Cleveland, Ohio. The fragmented puzzle of my memories has many disconnected pieces. Over here I find the piece that shows Euclid Beach, an amusement park that I seem to recall visiting several times as a child.
Nearly any child is wonderstruck by the gaudy carnival atmosphere of an amusement park. Thus I was with Euclid Beach. Now I only vaguely remember being there.
I was afraid of the roller coasters which was fine with my Daddy. My younger sister was fearless about it and rode with our Mommy while Daddy and I watched. I envied my sister Joy, but couldn't bring myself to ride those scary roller coasters.
However, I was okay with the fun houses and dark rides. There's an image in my mind of riding through a swirling tunnel of stars while Sousa marches played through loudspeakers. I don't know if this was real or only a dream, but I relate that image to Euclid Beach.
An iconic image that I do know was real was Laughing Sal, the mechanical woman who seemed to never stop her maniacal laughing. My sister and I would pay tribute to Sal as we joined in her laughter until we too laughed like loons.
My research shows that little of Euclid Beach remains. The last time I was there must have been about 1957. The amusement park apparently closed about twelve years after that. Hopefully one day I can return to Euclid beach to see if there are still any cotton candy memories to be found or a distant echo of Sal laughing.