Private carousel ride

I recall grabbing a brass ring on a carousel. My memory swears it was on the carousel at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis many, many years ago, but memories are faulty and no brass rings are to be grabbed now.

No matter.

I had the carousel to myself. Well, me and the carousel operator. I slowly walked around the perimeter waiting for the horse that would speak to me and whisper for me to clamor up on its back.

There’s the one. Up I went, reaching back to stroke its real horsehair tail, my fingers looking for the acorn that a woman I recently met said her dad—a maker of animals for carousels—always surreptitiously planted in the tails. No luck.

There is something a little odd about riding a carousel as an adult. Even odder when you are by yourself. And even odder still if you are the only person on the carousel. I didn’t let that stop me.

The carousel operator didn’t either, asking for a loud “gitty up” from me before commencing. He donned the familiar pig hand puppet to dance and sing along with the carousel music. Good to know other adults are a bit silly too.

The ride wound down too soon. But I suspect I’ll be back at some point to see that beauty of a Dentzel Carousel some other time.

This National Historic Landmark celebrates its 100th birthday next year. It was built in 1917 and in 1938 moved to a domed pavilion in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis. Time and the outdoor elements—and the dome collapsing on the carousel in 1956—took its toll. The carousel was dismantled and stored in an old barn for years.

In 1976, the Museum Director Mildred Compton, with childhood memories of the carousel, brought it to the new building being constructed for the museum, where it has been ever since.


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