The Great Roseland Indignity

Photo courtesy Steve Shook/fFickr
Fiction from John A. Buchholz

The ride operator stood at a control panel along the fence, and as he idled the engine, the scooters gradually drifted to a stop and dangled two feet above the pavement. Laughing, Tootsie, Annette, Bobby, Henryand some others climbed out of their scooters and staggered toward the exit gate. As Henry swayed past, he took off his Dodgers cap, wiped his forehead and rolled his eyes at us. “Holy cripes!” he exclaimed. “That’s the best ride I ever been on!”

I helped Lauren into a cherry-red scooter, climbed in next to her, and tested the big steering fin mounted on the front to be sure it maneuvered easily. Over on the tower’s other side, Jimmy sat with Helen Iberius in an orange scooter that matched his hair. He threw me a big grin and a thumbs-up as the Nesbitts sat bobbing in a blue scooter right behind him. Their mouths were wide-open and moving in unison, and I knew they were singing.

When all the scooters were filled, the attendant checked safety bars and made a few adjustments, then walked to the control panel and pushed a big button. The electric motor whined, the overhead circular girder system groaned and surged forward, and all the scooters abruptly lifted and shot ahead in unison.

My stomach felt like it was four feet behind me, and I turned to my left and belched as Lauren screeched and grabbed the safety bar as the sudden acceleration pinned us against the back of our seat. I looked over the side at the tarmac below as the superstructure creaked. Within seconds, the overhead cables were straining at maximum and the scooters were sailing at top speed.

I turned toward Lauren. The color had drained from her face, her brow was furrowed, and her eyes were thin slits aimed straight ahead. Her jaw was jutting, her lips were tightly sealed, and her golden hair was flying behind her.

I bellowed “Isn’t this great, Lauren?!” into her left ear, but she didn’t respond, so I decided that it was time to impress her with my maneuvering skills.

To read this entire story, pick up Issue Five of Bluff & Vine at Longs’ Cards and Books in Penn Yan, or by visiting


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  • Roseland was a treasured measure of growing up! How I remember progressing from the mini boats going in a circle to the eventual milestone of daring to take the Skyliner. Of course, that progression from season to season included the daring first graduations to a solo ride on the merry-go-round, the horror of Galloping Gerty, those ‘flying rocket ships; to the major thrill of those bumper cars!
    For me, the ultimate challenge of truly ‘coming of age’ was those Flying Scooters!
    Oh those memories of Roseland! Ski Ball, the Arcade, the hots at the lower patio area by the stage…
    Thanks for the memories!

  • Dana A Brigham says:

    3rd generation Canandaigua fan — grew up visiting relatives in the Rochester area, staying at our “Schoolhouse” cottage on Bare Hill overlooking the lake, and getting the best custard ever at Roseland. Now it’s a housing development…. *SAD*

  • joseph says:

    I worked at Roseland the last yr it was open as a teen in HS many fond memories nothing exists like it any more

  • Debra Zanni says:

    My grandfather ran the airplane ride probably in 1966.
    Best park ever!

  • They had a little par 3 golf course on the Roseland grounds and I fondly remember my Dad making a hole in one ! It was the first time I saw one in person and it was made by my Father !

  • Gail Cline says:

    Wished I had known about this when my kids were little were had taken them !
    I took them to another place
    Outside of Rochester it was
    Small but kids had fun !

  • Julie Malcolm Twentymon says:

    My parents met at Fascination, married 3 months later. 1940.
    Spent many a day at Roseland.

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