The boys found this blue parking ticket in the box while they were resurrecting my vintage album. This is from my little town’s Sesqui-Centennial, the town’s 150th Anniversary.
This is the only token from that celebration that happened sometime in the 1960s. No photograph or colorful flier from the celebration could be found. Yet, the words on this ticket instantly whip up the memory in my head of seeing the streets of my little town lined up with carnival rides. I remember a red one, in particular. Metal-screened rectangular boxes, big enough to hold people, made big Xs in the sky, as if the ride were doing a big jumping jack. Screams from the stringy-haired teenagers inside poured down onto the street below, as the boxes went up and down and around.
There was the smell of roasted peanuts poured into brown paper bags, and the memory of their softness as I put them into my mouth. I was under 4 or 5 years old, and I can distinctly remember where I stood on White Street (or was it Baird?) as the parade came through, where the clowns threw candy onto the street, and my Dad picking up handfuls and handing them to me.
That clown chased me for years and years afterwards, in this recurring dream. The clown wears huge red shoes, and tries to catch me so he can step on my toes. As I run away and through the park, I loose my parents. Before he catches me, I would wake up screaming, covered in sweat from the chase.
Funny that my Mom only kept this small token of the day — all that she had left. Yet, this ticket could just as well have been a video for all the memories it evokes.