The Life & Times of Teenage Dana Myttis Hedrew (The Summer of ’88)…

Back Row : Pat & Jeff
Sitting: Eddie, Yours Truly the Rebel with a raised middle finger ! Kev and his Maternal Twin Kenny on the far right, I accidentally hit him with the paratrooper ride, I thank God to this day that his injury wasn’t fatal. Neither of us was paying attention at the time ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Yo, what up Diary:

Plain & simple the Summer of 1988 has been one of the best Summer’s of my life. So much to recap. Girls ! Girls ! Girls ! I may have been a dork loser in High School, but I went on about five dates and had not one but two relationships.

First their was Allie, my first girlfriend ever. She was a year older than me and always pressuring me for sex but I don’t know I liked her but I guess I didn’t like her like her. I mean we fooled around a few times, but I was so turned off by her watermelon boobs.

Then one morning she bragged to everyone how she fucked her ex and eventually that news traveled to my ears. I dumped her pretty quick. Then I went on a couple dates with a few girls including Tami. My first date with Tami ended up with us in my car and her saying ” You’re candle is getting hot.” and I gave this equally cheesy response “Why don’t you blow it out ?” OMG, BJ’s are definitely awesome. When Allie tried, her teeth kind of got in the way but Tami BLEW me out of this world.

Then Tami, the two guys named Chris and I all went to Action Park in NJ. It was cool but Chris #2 literally saved me from drowning in the wave pool, while Chris #1 told me that Tami was off flirting with the lifeguard. When we headed back to Pa, I dropped off the Chris’s first and then took Tami home. Her Mom was nice and offered me some cookies as Tami left the room. I asked her Mom if Tami was about ready to leave with me again but she said No, she is hanging out with her boyfriend tonight. My heart sunk, I honestly thought I was “the boyfriend”. I found out later that Tami made her rounds with everyone at Dorney Park. It was the first time I heard the term Slut. I felt kind of skeevy after that.

I went out a few times with Christine “Ditzy”, but I decided it wasn’t worth the effort when we rode the centrifugal force ride, the Musik Express (it pushes you into the person you are riding with) and she started yelling Rape ! And I wasn’t even remotely touching her except because of the ride. When we got off she told me she was only kidding. That, to me was NOT funny.

I flirted a few times with Lourdes. But, she was out of my league and we essentially became good friends instead.

I liked Kym, I thought she was cute. But she was too young at 14. One day I decided to take Kym to work out of the kindness of my heart. Driving along Linden Street in Allentown which was one way headed west, we found ourselves behind a double parked tractor trailer. I looked back once, nothing coming, twice nothing coming. I decide to drive around and wham out of nowhere my car is struck by a speeding sports car driven by some fucking lawyer named Karoley. Who is the cop going to believe me or a lawyer ? The cop even ripped off my drooping head light. Kym left the scene before the cops showed up, even though I was just giving her a ride to work. An 18 year old white guy with a 14 year old black girl could’ve been perceived incorrectly.

The other 14 yr old girl i work with named Mary is pregnant with Ron’s kid. Ron is 28. I think someone said something about that because I don’t think Ron works here anymore.

But I think I found the girl of my Dreams now. She’s 2 years younger, Puerto Rican and acts like she is British. She also walks with a bit of a bounce because she has a mild case of cerebral palsy. She likes to go by the name Jo Tigger Rhodes. It also helps that her boobs ain’t too huge ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve made a lot of friends at this job as a ride operator at Dorney Park. Sometimes I wonder how we do it all. I work two eight hour shifts for about $5.50/an hour then sometimes we all go to Perkins and eat late night “breakfast” or we head to the midnight movies till about 2 am, go home and get up at 9 am to do it all over again. I mean we all have a day off sometime during the week but man, it is like a party almost every day ๐Ÿ™‚

The Back Row: Kenny, Lynn, Kev, Shawn, Charles, Me, Tami, Lourdes & April & Mike. Kneeling from the right Eddie (Lourdes’s younger brother), Ramona, Marve and Supervisor Don.

The Job. A word of advice to adults, hire teenagers, don’t expect anything more than a teenager is willing to give in regards to effort. In no way am I saying that any of us don’t take our jobs seriously but we sure do our best to pass the time in the most fun way possible.

Never tell a teen to NOT do something, better to just not say something at all. Two examples being: When Ditzy was running the Enterprise and she couldn’t stop the ride (And kept yelling that over the Microphone) instead of shouting at her to calm down and telling her to NOT PUSH THE EMERGENCY STOP (which makes me wonder why we have an E Stop that we can’t use ??) from across the way, the Supervisor should’ve approached the control booth and took over but nope, she pushed the button and the ride stopped suddenly while going upside down and decelerated to an end. My co-workers and I saw it all unfold from The Flying Dutchman Roller Coaster (Which was closed yet again). Definitely crazy.

The other time was when I ran the Wave Swinger. I was told to never press the foot peddles. Till that one day I decided to break the rules (who am I kidding, I broke the rules almost all the time, more on that later). So as the ride was running, I stepped on the peddle and the ride started to tilt too far and some of the unoccupied swings got entangled. When maintenance showed up and asked if I stepped on the peddles. I gave a firm NO, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED ??! lol, I don’t think they believed me but my ride was closed for a bit, cos nothing beats standing around telling people the ride is closed AND getting paid to do that ๐Ÿ˜€

We had speeches we had to say for each ride, I was always changing those speeches, Calling rides by different names ie; The Wave Swinger became the Bavarian Cream Pie & The Humdinger, The Musik Express became the Mucas Express & The Enterprise became the Asparagus.

My experiences with running these rides has been one hell of a trip each day. I don’t get to run every ride, they break down who runs what according to their age. For the Most part I run, the Musik Express, The Apollo, The Iceberg, The Paratrooper, The Enterprise, The Wave Swinger & The Flying Dutchman. I never ran The Sea Dragon or The Tilt-a-Whirl. With Those two rides you essentially pushed a start button to operate it, every other ride they had both manual & automatic buttons or completely different ways of operating. Each and Every ride had a manual that we had to study and then pass a test before operating. Each also had a generator of sorts that you had to start to warm up and then test run the rides.

Aside from the crappy incessantly boring indie mix tape my supervisor made for the the Musik Express, that ride and The Apollo made for some boring shifts for sure.

Unlike the other more electronic rides, the Paratrooper was pretty old. It was operated by a stick that when pulled back started the ride, when pushed forward slowed the ride down to a stop. This was one of my favorite rides to operate sadistically. My co-worker/15 yr old attendant Charles & I would make bets on who looked like they were ill and/or may throw up. Pushing forward on the stick too fast would make the ride stop suddenly causing anyone who looked green to lose their lunch. I can be such a dick sometime, but it’s funny. I always ask fat kids if they have a brother named Pugsley too, they usually just give me a blank stare in return.

One night I was working with Kenny. Kenny was my attendant. He was supposed to stand behind a certain line when the ride is in motion. He loaded the last group of people on the ride then gave me the thumbs up to start the ride, for which I did but Kenny bent down to tie his shoe extending his body past the safety line getting hit by the ride in motion, thankfully not in full speed.

He fell and busted his knee, neither of us were reprimanded but I was profusely sorry and after more aware of my surroundings in regards to where everyone was at the time of starting every ride I operated.

Charles, Me on my Day off Riding the Merry Go Round, Lourdes, Me once again on another day off.

The Iceberg was one of the most popular rides to go on and operate. The line for this ride was always long. The ride was individual spinning circles that fit up to about 6 people that move about on this intricate track inside an air conditioned building. What made it cool was not only did you push start but you also picked the music that played, turned the lights off and on, turned on colored lights, strobe lights and a fog machine for whatever sequence you wanted then you ran it backwards too. I always had a heavy finger on the fog machine ๐Ÿ˜€

The Wave Swinger, elevated swings that fly in a circle. Aside from the Peddle experience the only other interesting things that happened at this ride was giving my attendants the uncomfortable task of trying to strap in fat people. Usually their thighs were too big and we had to turn them away, that happened on most rides if the safety belts/straps/bars didn’t fit or go down we had to ask people to leave the ride, most people embarrassingly cooperated others were belligerent ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

My doppleganger also rode this ride once, its a trip seeing someone that looks just like you but isn’t your twin

The Enterprise, this ride fit up to two people spun around on the ground then slowly raised in the air till it got to the pint that you were going upside down. I had a lot of fun with “The Asparagus”. Whenever people left behind tings like money, sunglasses or stuffed animals instead of taking to lost and found, I’d include in my speech “If you’re in car #?? Come to the control booth after the ride has come to a complete stop and collect your prize. ๐Ÿ˜‰

One time someone threw up on Ditzy but instead of getting cleaned up in the bathroom she poured z-goop (scented saw dust used to clean up barf) on herself and finished out her shift at this ride, that girl is something else.

Twice my horny young attendants 15 yr old Charles & 16 yr old Eddie tried unique approaches of picking up girls at this ride. Charles once asked a girl if she ever rode the “Ratcher” ? He said it was a smooth ride, that started slow but got faster and faster until you screamed out in excitement, she caught on that “Ratcher” was his last name and passed on the offer.

Eddie on the other hand tried to take advantage of New Kids on the Block who were having a concert at the park one night. His approach was that he could get the girls backstage because his cousin was Jordan Knight. Eddie was Puerto Rican, not a single girl he tried this on fell for this line ๐Ÿ˜€

Aside from everything that happened this Summer, the most memorable and at times Harrowing moments happened when operating The Flying Dutchman Roller Coaster.

The Good: My Buddy Dave came up with a song to the Tune of Guns & Roses Welcome to the Jungle that Kinda went like Welcome to the Dutchman it’s got hills and turns its got everything you want just wait your turn… Dave is a cool & Funny guy to work with.

The Bad: One day I worked a day shift at the Dutchman and no one came to replace me. So I walked all the way down the hill to ask Don if anyone was replacing me for the night shift. He told me no and to head back up. I told him to fuck off and shot him the finger. He then told me to work the rest of the night at the scrambler instead (this awful and incredibly boring ride was in another zone). While running the scrambler, these people (Fern & Sammy) approached me and said they knew my brother who worked at the park prior to me. They said I looked really unhappy. They gave two tips, one they told me to apologize to my supervisor and two they gave me $10. After the shift I went to sign out and wholeheartedly apologized to Don who then reinstated me into our zone. I was eternally grateful that he chose to teach me a lesson in humility and didn’t fire me.

The Ugly: Diary I want to conclude this extra long entry on these two final notes. One day when I was working the back break/unloader at the Dutchman I saw someone skip in line. I stepped over the track to the other side of the platform to tell them to get the hell out of the line, Charles was in line on his day off and helped make sure they split till the attendant came up to escort them out of line, the line cheered ๐Ÿ˜€ Not thinking as I walked back to the brake, I stepped into the open track and my leg got entangled in the brake line and there was a car going around, it was only a matter of minutes till I possibly had a severed leg, I asked Kenny to help me up but he froze in fear, Charles saw what was going on jumped up onto the platform from being in line and saved my life. A few minutes later the car was making it’s way into unloading. God, My Guardian Angels and Charles Rachter were on my side that day. ๐Ÿ˜€

And this moment of infamy. One day I was stationed on the emergency brake in the landing, Dave was on the regular brake/unloader with Kenny on the other side and Sam, the Push off operator with Kev as the loader at the front. Four very heavy people were loaded into a car, surprisingly they passed the safety measures put in place. Their car made it up the hill and was on its way. Then there were six distinct whoosh sounds. Having no idea what that was, Dave checked the computer that ran the ride. The Message said that all six brakes that slowed the car down at each turn had blown, these 4 people had a rather fast unsuspecting dangerously good time.

This car was coming in real fast, I held the emergency brake down with both hands, Dave shouted to Kev and Sam to unload the next group of people and get them off the platform as well as Kenny & Kev. Then the car came in, it went through my brake, it went through Daves brake and smashed into the cars cards ahead of it in a cloud of smoke. The impact was so huge it pushed the six empty cars out onto the track. Dave shut down the computer and Ken & Kenny helped close out the line, with stoners in line actually asking how long we were going to be closed ? Sam Called it in on the radio as a 10-7/10-99 (Out of service/Emergency situation) The people on the ride suffered both whiplash and a broken ankle. I was in shock and asked to go to first aid then head head home for the night.

And right now Diary, I just got done telling the Park’s lawyer exactly what happened that night and or how we all responded. It was crazy, I just hope I don’t have to tell this in court in the future or anything.

All said and done, best Summer EVER !!!

Till Again, Dana

Published by mattsnyder1970

Matt Snyder has been making a dent in the creative community in North Eastern Pennsylvania since 1988. Heโ€™s been involved in showcasing his art in Exhibits in area Galleries & Spaces as well as online. Mr. Snyder is a real renaissance man. He doesnโ€™t just dabble in the fine arts but has been known to grace the following kinds of things with his presence: Live Sound Mixing, Radio Production, Television Production, Short Films(Acting/Editing/Writing/Directing), Animations, Costume Character Performance, Dance, Music, Djembe Drumming, Theater (Writing/Acting/Directing/Props Management/Stage Management), Self Published Comics & Zines, Written & Slammed Performance Poetry, Sculpting Animal Figurines, Designing Tee Shirts, Photography Film & Digital, Painting (Acrylics), Drawing (Pen & Ink, Pastel, Colored Pencil, Sharpies, Crayons), Mixed Media, Collage, Paper Art, The Brooklyn Art Library & The Sketchbook Project, Blue Turtle ComiX, Just an Average Day Comic, Toxic Shock & Other Abnormalities of the Inner Being Zine as well as the culinary arts. His passion is the arts, his life is as a married humanitarian bisexual politically unaffiliated pacifist working as a Digital Preservation Archivist since 1999. Matt currently resides in an apartment with his equally creative wife of 7 years ,Jess and their cat Nigel.

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