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What Wuz It Like Back Then On StatNisland Harry White hrwhite leighnharry@earthlink.net It was fun but it wasn't pretty. I spent wonderful summer days at Midland Beach. Midland Beach some years earlier had been a classy resort. During the years when I went there it was in serious decay. The pier was a shambles and going out on it was pretty risky. There was evidence of a roller coaster, an old structure on the beach that my mom said had been the band box and lots of other skeletons of rides and buildings. I did not think of the area as in decay at the time, to me it was a playground. I could climb above the wild cherry trees on tracks of the old roller coaster and play war or Tarzan or what ever fantasy came to mind in the remaining structures. When we tired of playing in these areas we would go swimming. Our favorite times in the water was when we found a raft, pallet or cable spool, to float on and dive off of. Frequently we had to do the breast stroke to make our way through trash on the waters surface. The sand on the beach was littered with trash and balls of tar that had washed ashore from garbage barges or ship bilges. After a day in and around the water I would take a shower and then have to use a strong cleaning agent to remove the oily mustache that had formed on my upper lip.
There were still a few rides operating, a beautiful merry-go-round with hand carved horses that went up and down. I could grab 5 rings at a time as I passed the arm that fed the rings. There were also dodgem cars. I loved them at night when sparks flew as contact was made/broken between the electrified screen above and the metal tongue on the cars pole. Crashing, racing and weaving in an out of traffic, what fun. I knew which cars were the fastest.
At night we would go to the movies. Each kid would get a ticket with a number for the races were part of the show. I would go wild cheering for who/whatever was wearing the number that I had been given. If you number won you got a piece of candy. The movie was out side under the stars. The air was filled with the smell of citronella, the only mosquito repellent of the day. The races were followed by MOVIE TONE NEWS and then a feature movie. The movies were wonderful, mostly black and white, and always told a story, no cursing.
We all, to a degree, worried about polio. We never worried about the polluted water we swam in. It is amazing that I survived.
Harry



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