A place for Quattrones, Betteridges, and Praticos to share our family stories, history, and heritage.
When I think of entertainment and family, I think of the beach and Disney World. It was about having fun together..and sometimes having fun by yourself whether in a pool or at a video arcade or walking the boardwalk. Two memories are about that stage of adolescence where girls were just becoming interesting and mom had to figure out ways to manage just how interesting they became…and the other memory from Disney World has nothing to do with girls…but the bathroom.
I remember the movies being a part of our trip to Wildwood each summer–especially on rainy days–it was really such a treat. I can clearly remember going to Michael Quattrone’s theater with mom. I can’t recall any of the movies, but one thing is burned into my mind. Whenever a couple would kiss on screen or if there was any semblance of nudity, mom would cover my eyes with her hand until it was safe for me to look.
Still in Wildwood…on another rainy day…mom, MaryBeth, and I walked to Duffers Ice Cream. They had miniature golf and video games and I couldn’t take my eyes from the video games. Mom slid me some money and I left her and MaryBeth at the table. While I was playing the games, two girls around my age started hanging around me. I couldn’t have been older than 12. Fast forward to it is time to go and I am back at the table with mom and MaryBeth–they came and fetched me. And they start grilling me about the girls. Evidently, they were watching me. Us. And I remember saying something like “they liked the way my arms looked in my shirt” –I really remember it was something that ridiculous because of the reaction–that just made MB and mom look at each other and laugh and laugh and laugh. On the way home, I remember them continuing to probe me with what they asked me, what did I say, what did they want. Ugh. Yeah, I never saw those girls again.
Our trip to Disney World was temporarily spoiled by my going missing. Like did he drown or was he kidnapped missing. We were at the pool for the day. I loved the pool. I was always in the pool in Wildwood and Disney was no exception. MaryEllen was with us. And I think she was “in charge” of watching me at the pool.
Well, from my perspective, I got out of the pool because I had to go to the bathroom. I didn’t think to tell MaryEllen. I had to go. So, I pinched my little butt cheeks and hustled to the bathroom. Certain circumstances anchored me there for a bit.
Meanwhile, according to MaryEllen, mom, and Aunt Connie, I had disappeared. They couldn’t find me. They went to the life guard. Couldn’t find me. They cleared the pools. I wasn’t floating at the bottom. Security came and they sent word to keep an eye out for a boy matching my description.
And then started dragging the lagoon with boats and long poles.
The one flaw in the story is that at some point they did send someone into the bathroom looking for me. And a man did indeed BANG on my stall and he did say something. But he didn’t speak English. I didn’t know what he was saying. All I kept saying was “No! No! No”–I mean, what else do you say to a man trying to open a ten-year-old’s stall door? I find out later that he was saying my name. (I’m not sure that would have made it any better).
After I had to the confidence to leave the bathroom, I strolled back through the pool area. No one was in the water. Dozens of people were just standing around staring at me, slack-jawed. I saw relief, shock, confusion–every possible emotion–when they asked, “Where were you?”