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Sue Eldridge's Gallery 2013

Sue Eldridge's Gallery 2013

We went to the Enchanted Forest in 1967. I was 5 years old. I LOVED it!
Not too sure why, but sometimes when my mind sneaks up on the memory I have of this witch's gingerbread house for "Hansel & Gretel for the splitest of a second I can almost feel the excitement I felt when I first saw it. When I saw this sweet house is when it REALLY felt like my fairytale books from home had suddenly turned into huge pop up books that I was able to run around and play in.

Papa Bear looked so friendly and inviting that I just ran to him and posed next to him like he was an old friend. He was! My parents had read his story to me all the time at home.

I am embarrassed to say that the reason why it looks like I'm starting to get up and turn around on the "Old Woman's Shoe" is because I had such a great time going down the slide, I wanted to climb up it to slide down again as quick as possible. *Knowing me, I was also probably trying to avoid the line of kids at the door too for their turn.* I can still remember trying to crawl up it and kept losing traction. I can also remember my Dad laughing at me and telling me to "Go around and use the door!" (No way, Dad! Don't you see that line!)

My Dad wanted my older brother to drive me around the fenced in area where you drove the antique cars. I was stubborn and insisted I could drive by myself! So my older brother drove my younger brother around instead. Needless to say. I crashed into the fence. See behind my car? That's the leg and foot of some kind E.F. employee that had jumped on the back of my car. He tried to help me steer it before I crashed. My brothers made it safely around the track without hitting anything. As if THAT wasn't embarrassing enough to crash in front of everyone, I had to put up with my brothers teasing me about it for quite awhile after. I seem to remember him taunting me with a little card he was given for not crashing. It was something like a driver's license or free trip around the track again
... Needless to say that since then, as an adult, there are certain "drive thru's" that are curbed the whole way. And it always reminds me of this and it makes me smile.

I loved the fairies tree house that had a baby rocking in a cradle in the branches of it. It has also been referred to as the rock-a-bye-tree over the years. This was the place the 3 fairies brought Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty as a baby til she was 16 years old to keep her safe from Maleficent. Inside there were 3 stone chairs, a stone table,  cupboard doors on the walls, and even a fireplace! I laughed with joy when I ran inside because it looked like it was made just for me, and it wasn't going to be easy for my parents to pull me out. LOL.

I ran to the first cup in the tea cup train. I wanted to be the first one to see everything. Til we went into the dark tunnel. And, as if it couldn't get any scarier, the ride stopped in the tunnel for us to get out! I remember seeing the scene where they are painting the roses red and the Queen of Hearts looks like she is yelling at Alice. I whispered to my Mum that I was gonna go grab her and she could come live with us. My Mum laughed and said they weren't real. They were just like big dolls that wore clothes in the department stores. I remember going home and playing pretend that I was back in Alice's Wonderland and I ran to her and saved her from the Queen. And also in the tunnel, I remember being right on my Mum's heels, by the water. Wasn't it sort of like black light in there for effect? There was a little frog by the edge in the water, and I was sure he was going to jump out at me and push me in.

This place had such a HUGE impact on my life. My father loved telling and reading us stories. And going there made me want to make up my own when I got home. I still do. I've used this creative side to get through some happy and dark times. I was going through a really bad chemo episode because I had breast cancer in 2000. The only thing that took my mind off it was thinking up a story with a setting of a castle (my home) and trying to get back to a King (My Dad) before I died because I had been attacked by "The Cann of Cer."  
I wanted to thank him for giving me the life he had with my Mum and brothers.

So, thank you to the wonderful Harrison family who created the Enchanted Forest! Thank you for all your wonderful stories, nursery rhymes, figures, and structures that made my story books at home become real in front of my very eyes.

And also a big thank you to Martha Clark of Elioak Farm and ALL of the great people who have helped her relocate and restore so many of these treasures so that a whole new generation and those of us from the land of "remember when" can enjoy this wonderful and unique way of storytelling.

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