Victoria Backer [Queenie, Vik, Vikki, Peg]

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Childhood (1974-1989)
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Victoria's Story > Chapters > Childhood

"Balance is the Key to Ferris Wheels" 


Date Range: 01/01/1974 To 01/01/1989   Comments: 1   Views: 6,553
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My very first "official" job (not counting the weekly Suburbia newspaper delivery I hated) was working at a gift shop at Wyandot Lake, a local water amusement park. I was 14 and it was a summer job and I probably earned about $3/hour.

The gift shop sold every horrible tchotchke like a stuffed bear in a bucket to porcelain dolphins made in China.

I also remember they sold cigarettes for about $6/pack, which back then was really expensive.  But moms and dads slopping their cranky, wet children around would always wander in and pay (and be cranky with us about the expense). 

The store also had a hot press that would print letters on t-shirts and hats. My favorite t-shirt to make (which is all we ever did in our spare time) was "Punx Not Dead"...I was a budding wannabe punk after all...(more stories on that to come).

One day there was a staff shortage in kiddy amusements and they pulled me, the 14 year old promising punk, out of the store to run the kid's ferris wheel. The ride had 6 carriages and I was given about 30 seconds of instructions that included this:

1.      This is how you start it

2.      This is how you stop it

3.      AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – you must keep the Ferris wheel balanced….

That meant if you had 3 kids to ride it, you had to put them in every other carriage…. But what happened if you had an odd number…? What if I only have 1 rider? God forbid, What happens if it's not balanced…? 

But the 16 year old who showed me how to use it was already too far away to hear me…

Luckily, I never had to find out what happens to the kiddy ferris wheel if it's not balanced and to be honest, I gave a good handful of kids the ride of their lives! 

But my advice: next time you're on a ferris wheel, make sure it's an even number.

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Member Since
Aug 2007
Kristen Kuhns said:
posted on Aug 10, 2007
Carnie lover!

Good thing you didn't hurt anyone :)