The description on the back of this vintage postcard reads: Near the entrance of the famous Rainbow Pier, is the popular Amusement and concession center, known as "The Pike," where crowds congregate daily to enjoy the many interesting and amusing attractions. [My note: The Plunge, seen in the background, was an indoor salt water swimming pool.] Cardcow.com
My brothers and I were born in Long Beach, California, as were both of my parents. My Mom spent most of her youth in Nebraska; however, my Dad grew up in Long Beach where he later met and married my mother after she moved back to California. They then purchased a newer suburban home in Long Beach and raised 3 children.
By the late 60's, The Pike (shown above) was a fading flower. Much like it's star attraction, a wooden dual-track racing roller coaster called the Cyclone Racer, the amusement park had taken it's last ride to the top and was rapidly declining.
Before The Pike was torn down, my Dad felt compelled to share a final Cyclone Racer ride with me– his eldest. At 10 years of age, I had only ridden the tamer Disneyland attractions, never the serious stuff. The Cyclone Racer– functional from 1930 to 1968– was one of my Dad's favorite childhood pastimes, an added bonus of living in a beach resort city. Introducing this ride to me was perhaps his way of saying good-bye. For me, it was my "ride" of passage.
As our train slowly gained elevation, my emotions were like a mixed cocktail of fear, apprehension, and ecstasy. This exhilaration was tethered to my confidence that Dad could protect me from anything. Nevertheless, this "confidence" was challenged when our ride gained momentum. I remember clinging to my Dad as my feelings seesawed from fright to glee. I walked away from this experience with an indelible daddy-daughter memory, and an insatiable love for roller coasters.
A vintage postcard of the Pier at Long Beach, California - 1910. Cardcow.com