On the lookout for hitchhiking ghosts

Haunted_mansionWe’re off to Disneyland this weekend, my kids have been before, but it turns out two out of three have very little or no memory of that trip, so it doesn’t count; according to them, we’ve never gone.

Disneyland (or World, they’re basically interchangeable for me) is one of those places that I’ve only visited a handful of times, with the visits far enough apart so each one is distinct. There was my first trip, during a college spring break. That time, I discovered my favorite metaphor of all time, plastered on a sign inside the Haunted Mansion: “Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts.” I’ve used it a few times to impress writing teachers; they always seemed to like it.

Anyway, I have a feeling that on this trip to Disneyland I’m going to run into quite a few hitchhiking ghosts. There’s the ghost of three-year-old Alex, who truly believed Mickey and Goofy and Winnie the

Pooh were real, and treasured his autographed Tigger hat, signed by Tigger personally, for years. (He’ll be hitching a ride on the shoulders of 16-year-old Alex, hair newly shaved into a Mohawk. Note to self; get a picture of him with Tigger, find old picture, frame together) There’ll be pregnant me, sitting on the bench next to the Flying Dumbos, and on the bench next to Peter Pan’s ride, and on the bench next to the castle; I sat on a lot of benches when I was pregnant with Nadya. I might also catch the pregnant me on the first drop of Pirates of the Caribbean—that was when that second child finally decided to flip over and stop threatening to be a breech birth. (I’m thinking doctors should do a study on this one, it might work better than external versions for turning breeches.)

And there’s the ghost of that same child at age 4 ½, wearing a party dress, and trying to meet every Disney Princess in a single day while I chase after her pushing her baby brother in a stroller. She’s too grown up for princesses these days, and for ruffly party dresses, but it will be nice to catch a glimpse of the four-year-old who once liked both.

And if ghosts are really good at hitchhiking, can make it cross country, say, then when I ride the Small World boats I might see myself at six years old, on my favorite ride at the New York World’s Fair.

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