The most inimitable place to be, besides in my husband’s arms, is Harrogate, Tennessee. The rolling hills, clean crisp air, and spaciousness all surpass the city life. The memories and joy I experience when I am there will always have a special place in my heart.
My house resided in the country. A cow field was my backyard, and I would play hide and seek with my friends behind the hay bales. From the moment we got home and put our Bratz Doll backpacks down until the moment the pinkish, yellow sun was setting, my friends and I were always in a new adventure. At times, the golden rays would shine and radiate without a cloud in the sky. The gentle breeze was just enough to make it comfortable. The grass had already dried from the early morning dew, making it look freshly cut and greener than ever. As we would run around making up games to play, my black and white English Springer Spaniel, otherwise known as Bubba, would follow us eagerly with his wet teeming tongue hanging out of his parched mouth and his tail wagging like a hammer in an ongoing alarm clock. In Knoxville, the population and space is far too crowded to enjoy pleasures like those in Harrogate. In a way, it is suffocating here, and I miss the feeling of peace and contentment when at home.
During winter season, it would snow fervently. My yard also consisted of a rather giant slope. Due to many hills and back roads that would get black ice very easily, school was called off frequently. My friends and I would get so excited and call each other to make plans to go sledding! I would jump in my thick, white leggings and blue nylon pants along with three pairs of socks and waterproof shoes. On top I would have two under shirts, two regular shirts, a small jacket, a large heavy jacket and a toboggan on. Layered and ready for the cold, I would run outside and find my aqua green plastic sled from underneath the back porch. It was crisp and cold outside, and the snow was a clean white ready to be destroyed by the power of my sled. Hours later our paths would be perfectly carved in the snow, and we would be ready to go in and change to dry clothes, watch a movie, and drink a cup of hot chocolate. Snow doesn’t fall in the city, and even if it did, there is no room to go sledding. These memories will not be forgotten.
When summertime came around again, the park was a popular place to be. I always made new friends, and there was always so much to do with these new acquaintances. Activities consisted of playing basketball at the court, playing in the sand, riding bikes, and rollerblading on the trail, playing on the jungle gym and tire swing, swinging, and so much more! Once my mom and I had our picture taken on the swings and put in the Knoxville News Sentinel. Sometimes the church congregation would have a picnic for everyone there, and we would grill and enjoy each other’s company. Even family reunions have been held there. The people in Harrogate are country people, down to earth, and content with the simple life. They are not concerned with the greatest and latest of things. This made the events at the park so much more enjoyable.
If I could, I would go back and relive some of these memories. No matter where I go, Harrogate will be home in my heart. No matter my age, Harrogate holds some of the most memorable and cherishing parts of my life.
Coney Island in My Mind
I would really love to visit Coney Island again. The place is far from the bustling city and getting there is already part of the adventure. One can take the tunnel or drive but whichever way you take when one arrives in the island, it’s like being transported in time. There is that feeling of de`javu one gets when you see the heart of the island for the first time. Maybe it is because of the old films that featured the amusement parks or because as a young child you have had countless dreams of coming here. The place is filled with old buildings and structures that remind us of how our parents and grandparents might have enjoyed the Thunderbolt and the mermaid shows and the parachute drop and all the other parks when they where younger.
The merry-go-round, which has been the logo of the island, has been embedded in the minds of my generation. One cannot fail to notice the romance in the air and the sweet butterfly kisses of past and present lovers who had spent a memorable day in the ride. The air is filled with childish adventure and laughter, that when one is walking the streets one would surely smile and be filled with joy.
The place is like a giant playground without the technologically advanced rides and shows of today’s theme parks. It offers pure delight and tons of fun. It is a place where everyone is invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of the place and be like children once again discover how easier it is to smile and throw our miseries away.
The whole island is an amusement park with candy stores, taverns, night shows and a magnificent boardwalk. The chatter of children’s voices, the happy shrieks of teens, and the smiles of everyone tells one why this place was and will always be America’s happy park. The smell of popcorn and hotdog as one walks the streets to the parks reminds us of simple days when our wants and desires were simpler. The people are friendly and in keeping with the amusement business are always ready to make your visit to the island worth remembering. When one strolls around the commercial center, one can do so leisurely without the need to see everything, to ride everything and taste everything in one day, one keeps coming back to Coney Island because it is removed from the hurried, impersonal and rudeness of the city.
In winter, the place is like a giant ice kingdom, where everything is glistening white and silent. During this time, one can feel the sadness of the city, how it has been suspended in time, and like a bear who sleeps in the winter, it wakes up in the spring. Sadly, not many people visit Coney Island these days. Recently, the magnificent Thunderbolt has fallen from its glory, quite literally. It has lost much of its famous rides and has been stripped of its former grandeur, but nevertheless will always be an icon in America’s culture. The more important it is that we visit Coney Island again, by doing so we will help keep it alive and be a living heritage to our children.
Coney Island, wikipedia.com Retrieved June 26, 2006 from