I have often talked about my love affair with the west. Growing up on the east coast, one might think it a bit strange. But, when I was younger, there was a theme park called Frontier City. It stood in the heart of Virginia Beach, on 66 acres, near the intersection of Birdneck and Laskin Road.
It had a saloon, the Longhorn which served the biggest burgers I ever saw. You could walk down the wooden boardwalk to the sheriff’s office or head over to Cactus Creamery for frozen pudding otherwise known as ice cream. The bank gave away wooden nickels and yes, I still have one in my jewelry box. A white clapboard church stood at the opposite end of the wide dirt Main Street.
Winding down the path toward the river, a huge paddlewheel steamer stood moored and waiting to carry passengers on an excursion past the Native American burial ground where snake dances were preformed. Yep, I never got off the boat.
If you wanted a somewhat tamer ride, there was always the train. Of course you had to be careful, bandits usually held up the train as it rounded the bend. Best of all were the shoot outs on Saturday afternoons. Bank Robbers never made it far before the sheriff and his deputy would put a stop to their shenanigans.
For a young girl of eight, there were what seemed like hundreds of cowboys, horses to pet, and ride, even a candy shop to explore. It was the closest thing you could get to heaven. Oh, to find my Annie Oakley outfit, complete with the turquoise handle revolver and go one more time. Only now, an apartment complex stands in its place and only my heart remembers.
I’ve spent a few days trying to find pictures I know we took, but for some reason, they have eluded me. You will have to make do with what I found on the internet.
What prompted your love with the old west?