Mr. Robinson's New Farm Truck and Fontaine Ferry Park

Gerry Goode

One Sunday morning after church services at Horner’s Chapel, Mr. Otto Robinson, one of our neighbors, announced he would take all the neighborhood kids to Fontaine Ferry Park in Louisville.

Mr. Robinson was proud of his new, red farm truck, and he wanted to share his joy. He said, “Meet me here on the chapel grounds at one o’clock.” What a joyful announcement that was to the ears of these country kids that wouldn’t, otherwise, have such an opportunity.

At one o’clock, enough kids boarded the truck to fill the bed that had high racks for safety. This was in 1949. The reason I know the date, John Beard, a neighbor, had passed away, and his funeral was that afternoon. I remember feeling sad about that.

When we went on our outing, a dollar would pay for an afternoon of fun. And fun we had! The merry-go-round was fantastic, the Ferris wheel exciting, and there was nothing to compare with “Hilarity Hall” where Sue and Sam, laughing action figures, greeted you at the entry. As you watched these two comical characters and listened to their outrageous laughter, you couldn’t keep from joining in.

Inside “Hilarity Hall” the fun choices were endless. From the blowholes, where unsuspecting young ladies clutched their full skirts, a blast of air lifted them above their heads. This action was perpetrated by an overweight, balding man seated off to the side. He held a stubby cigar in his mouth while he watched for female victims. I unwittingly became a victim years later while attending with my date Boyce Goode. The hall of mirrors was most fascinating as you watched your body go from fat to thin and other shapes you couldn’t imagine. There was also a swimming pool and skating rink on the grounds and food vendors for easy access to a quick refreshment.

When a bunch of us got on “The Comet” we literally didn’t know what we were in for. I, for one, didn’t know it was an extensive ride on a roller coaster. By the time the ride ended, my cheeks were hurting from grimacing on the long drops and deep curves. To make things worse, a girl friend and I were on the first car. But it was so thrilling we stayed in the car for a repeat performance.

Before we left the park we stopped by a booth where you could have your pictures made for just a quarter. What memories we had on our first trip to Fontaine Ferry Park!


As a member of Writers Bloc, I am submitting this story reminiscent of my childhood, in the hope that others would be inspired to tell their special stories, or at least record them for their children and grandchildren. When the pandemic quarantine is over, Writers Bloc will resume meeting twice a month at the Salem Public Library. Come join us! Watch for information in The Salem Leader.


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