The year was 1968 and our family was living in Independence, Missouri having moved there from Arizona the year before. They were having the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, and we were going. I was so excited, I had never been to a state fair before and I had no idea what to expect. It was an 80-mile drive, so I sat enjoying the scenery and listening to my parents’ talk. After a couple of hours, we pulled into the parking lot, and I was astounded! There were people walking around with their farm animals on leashes, there was music in the air and you could see the large Ferris wheel located in the middle of the fairgrounds. As soon as the car stopped I jumped out of the car, ready for a long day of fun.
It is odd the way most of the day is a bit fuzzy for me. I remember watching the judging of the sheep and pigs. For a girl who was raised in the desert, this was fascinating. I had always thought that a sheep was a sheep; I had no idea that there were so many varieties of breeds. I can still smell the smell of the livestock pens. I remember the man who walked around with a tiny Chihuahua who had a hat on, and he had a little pipe in his mouth. Of course, I have a picture of this to help with that memory! I played a few of the games trying to win a prize. I did win a purple stuffed poodle by throwing darts at balloons. I remember riding the Ferris wheel and the Hammer, screaming and laughing. I remember my sister, who because of her weight had to ride the Hammer by herself, and she got sick and vomited while in the air. How bad am I that after all these years I still find this extremely hilarious?
After my sister got cleaned up, it was time for lunch. We found a seat under a canopy as my Dad went to get us hamburgers. While we were eating, a cover band took the stage to the right of us, and they began singing “Jumping Jack Flash” from The Rolling Stones. The teenage kids around us got up and began to dance. My Dad was horrified. I wanted to dance but he said “NO!” So I sat in my seat and moved with the music and sang along as loudly as I could. I loved it.
I don’t remember much else about the day except after the fair we visited some relatives who lived in Sedalia and my Dad repeatedly proclaiming “How can they play that jungle music in public?” and “How can anyone call that music?” for the next few weeks.
Now every time I hear that song I am transported back to that sunny day in Central Missouri dancing in my seat and having a great time.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.