Lucky for us, our parents believed a well-rounded education meant skipping school now and then, for a day of playing make-believe. They dressed us in red sweaters so they could spot us from a distance and packed a sensible lunch of peanut butter on whole wheat with apples and a thermos of milk. Anaheim was a short drive from Manhattan Beach in our '55 Mercury, so there was only minor pinching and pummeling in the back seat. By the time we saw the Matterhorn from the highway, then Sleeping Beauty's castle as we pulled into the parking lot, we were ready to explode.
What a blast! This photo above shows me at age ten, in my party shoes and red-plaid skirt [which matched our Thermos], camera bag over my shoulder, entering a cave on Tom Sawyer's Island. My brother, sister and I crept through the caverns and popped out from dark corners to scare each other. We jumped on the swinging bridge with delighted terror, watching for crocodiles in the river.
Never did I dream that as a grown-up I'd be writing stories for children based on our fantasies at Disneyland. My first Cabin Creek Mystery: The Secret of Robber's Cave is about young siblings exploring just such an island and cave [cover above]. I love my parents for encouraging us to play and pretend.
When our sons were in 1st & 3rd grades, I told their teacher they wouldn't be in school the following day because we were going to Disneyland. "Wonderful!" she said. "Never let school get in the way of an education."
So the tradition continues. Thanks, Mom and Dad. And thank you, Mrs. Kimm, from Redlands Christian School.