austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Shrouded in a daft disguise

Saturday started with us driving out of Cedar Point. It was a bit cool, and more, it was rainy, and we had to make our regular pilgrimage to the Merry-Go-Round Museum. The drive out gave us our first really good daytime look at the state of reconstruction as Mean Streak continued its transformation to Steel Vengeance. (The new name was announced right before our Labor Day trip, I believe.) Mostly, and dramatically, it's clear the new lift hill will go up higher and drop much farther. Going to be a heck of a ride.

We went for lunch to this diner just outside the park. It's a real, proper diner, a wholly un-self-aware thing in such classic form that even the average Jersey Diner would have to bow to its authenticity. I'm not sure if it is actually a railcar with seating, but it's got that style, cramped and chromed and a formica tabletop with that late-50s boomerang shapes. Diners are always good spots for us to eat, what with how you can definitely get something vegetarian. We got there as it was so crowded we had to eat at the counter with our heavy winter coats tucked between the stools and the counter; over the meal, the place emptied out. So we got there fifteen minutes early, I guess is the lesson.

The Merry-Go-Round Museum I'd --- well, first, I don't want to brag but I'd found my way to without using the satellite navigation. I've gotten to Cedar Point without assistance before, but there's a flock of road signs to help the tricky part at the end driving through Sandusky. The Merry-Go-Round Museum has a way lower signaged profile and so I feel really accomplished getting from the diner to the museum without more than my loose mental map of Sandusky.

So, the Merry-Go-Round Museum. I'd been a bit worried about it last time we visited, in 2016, owing to word that they were losing a good part of their collection. Well, much of it was on loan from an estate, and the family wanted to have things back where they could enjoy them a while. An impulse I can't say is wrong or malicious or anything, but that did make me wonder (a) just how much stuff they did have in storage where it hadn't had room to display before and (b) how bare, really, the gift shop seemed. A small thing, but one of those that raises little fears about the place's long-term survival.

Maybe they did have a major turnover in the collection. There were some pieces that seemed to be gone, such as the late 19th century French cow that I couldn't forget because bunny_hugger's starter husband once explained the joke on it to the docent. (The cow was labelled ``La Belle Mere'', which is not a slightly odd sweet thought of one's mother but rather a snarky way to refer to the mother-in-law.) I believe, though I'm not sure (my photographs seem to all miss the one place I really need) the big sign for Euclid Beach Park has gone, which might reflect Cleveland's ongoing efforts to put a carousel back around the area of its famous and long-lost amusement park. The ticket window for Euclid Beach Park's carousel is still there, but who needs old-fashioned wooden ticket windows anymore?

And there were some interesting-looking new things, including a second miniature carousel. They'd had one in 2016, under careful restoration because if it worked it ought to fully work, including the miniature figures going up and down as the carousel turned. This year they had one there, and a docent even turned it on for us so we could see the many lights and see the three-foot-wide thing turning. And this wasn't the one from last year. So they now have a pair of tabletop carousels, a couple feet across, that work with lights and jumping horses and everything. And I noticed in a vestibule in the back of the building that there was another one there. I assume not working; certainly at least not plugged in. I don't know what's going on with the Merry-Go-Round Museum that suddenly everyone in the world figures to give them a tabletop miniature carousel but, hey, works for them.

The gift shop looked more robustly stocked this time around, although there hasn't been any luck in getting a new carousels calendar printed and bunny_hugger accepted that she'd have to make her own for 2018, too. The lack of a published carousels calendar is a bizarre thing; there's so many antique horses out there, and they're now appreciated as these great pieces of Americana, that I don't know why they're not in every mall calendar shop in the country. There must be some practical problem we're not thinking of.

Also in the gift shop I picked up some issues of the magazine rapidtrabbit wrote his ``Riding With The Rabbit'' column for. They had the issue announcing his unexpected death (and the fire at the Rye Playland carousel), and the one after that with people's recollections of him. I bought both, but have't somehow read them yet.

Trivia: The British, Forrest Mars-founded, Mars got its chocolate initially from Cadbury. (At the time Cadbury and Mars wouldn't have been direct competitors.) Source: Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers, Deborah Cadbury.

Currently Reading: The Dancers of Noyo, Margaret St Clair.

PS: Some cool stuff in The Peaceable Kingdom.

SAM_1053.jpg

Some of the Easter decorations they had and no, I don't understand the bunny on wheels either but if you were a mouse isn't that the car you would want?


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While the Peaceable Kingdom was mostly an art gallery-type shop featuring kind of precious stuff for sale, it also featured a huge counter of Cheap Thrills. Things you could be interested in if you were a kid with a small budget and easily swayed by hand-made signs like this.


SAM_1057.jpg

More of the cheap thrills. Those Tiny Babies were on sale forever.


Tags: ann arbor, halloweekends, merry-go-round museum
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