Friday, July 19, 2013

July 20, 2013: One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

I was eight years old when the world changed forever. My mother and father were on a trip to Washington, D.C. and I was staying with my Aunt Marie and Uncle Junior at their home in Ceredo, West Virginia. I loved staying with them in the summer. They had a pass to Dreamland Pool. Dreamland was a real showplace at the time, a left over from the big band era and a meeting place for the entire tri-state area. Before there were private pools and multiple public pools, there was Dreamland, the largest swimming pool east of the Mississippi River. A good chunk of Dreamland burned in 1972, the three-story pavilion that had hosted Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra, gone forever but the pool is still there; that is just part of the story.

On the night of July 20, 1969, my Uncle Junior came home from work at Columbia Gas later than usual. Marie woke me up and we flipped on the television and I sat on the couch and watched Neil Armstrong make man’s first fateful step off planet Earth. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Neil was the first man on the Moon because he was the closest to the door. The man fated to be the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, had a job that required him to be at a less convenient location to leave the Lunar Lander first. But do not fear, sometimes we do remember those that come in second, every time we ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, we remember Buzz Aldrin for whom Buzz Light year was named.

Today is National Lollipop Day. My wife cannot go to Walt Disney World without having a big lollipop. Find any location that sell’s candy from Goofy’s Candy Company and get yourself a big old lollipop. If you can’t make it to Walt Disney World, may I suggest a purchase from the Hammond's Candies in Denver, Colorado? I don’t know if they’re family but their candy is great.

Today is National Hot Dog Day. I don’t think I have to explain why you need to go to Casey’s and get a Chili Dog. It’s the American thing to do.

On this date in 1890, Verna Felton was born in Salinas, California. Her voice lives on all over the cartoon world. Let’s do a roll call: Pearl Slaghoople, Fred Flintstone’s mother-in-law, Winfred the Elephant in The Jungle Book, Flora in Sleeping Beauty, Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Mrs. Jumbo in Dumbo, and a host of others. Verna’s footprint is everywhere at Walt Disney World, let’s try riding Dumbo in New Fantasyland in The Magic Kingdom.

We were on a Disney Cruise in 2008 for our twentieth wedding anniversary. We did a seven-day Caribbean cruise on the Wonder. My daughter stayed in the art gallery a huge amount of the time and the lady over the area told her, “There’s someone here that you’d like to meet.” She introduced Allison to Harrison Ellenshaw. Harrison followed in the footsteps of his father, Peter Ellenshaw. Peter was a famous matte artist having won an academy award for Mary Poppins. Harrison was no slacker, he went to work for Disney and then took what was probably one of the most fortunate moonlighting jobs in the world; doing a little matte painting work on the side for a young director and his sci-fi movie, Star Wars. His other movies include: The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Watcher in the Woods, The Empire Strikes Back, Captain EO, Gus, The Shaggy D.A., Tron, Superman IV, Ghost, Dead Silence and many, many more.

Harrison was an extremely gracious man who loved to share and talk about his work. Ellenshaw was born on this date in 1945 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Go enjoy Star Tours and remember that your moonlighting can make your career.

Unfortunately, our memory card crashed. This is all that remains of our picture of Allison with Harrison Ellenshaw.

However, this picture with Mickey from the cruise survived.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

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