My favorite memory of Gladys Meadows Smith

Photo courtesy of the
California Historical Society.

My most favorite memory of my friend Gladys Smith – I knew her as Gladys Meadows – is from one of the fall county 4-H and livestock shows during the early 1960’s. This particular time the county had hired a carnival with various midway rides. The tickets were five cents each, which now sounds really cheap, but back then, that was more than the price of a loaf of bread. The cost of a nickel for a carnival ride – only once and for such a short time – was a big luxury, one that my friends and I didn’t usually have.

That day, however, my three siblings and I were given $1.00 to divide between us – 25 cents apiece – to spend at the carnival. When we arrived, we met our friends, Gladys and her siblings. They didn’t have any money for rides, but they were content to have fun, to watch their friends ride, and to hang out. My siblings and I decided to take the tickets we had just purchased and divide it between my family and hers.

What a great decision that was. We all hit the rides and rode them together. We were all sloshed to one side or another on the tilt-a-whirl, jammed in a little car on the roller coaster to go over and under what seemed like mountains, screaming and yelling, as if this was our last time to go over a hill on a ride. We all laughed and yelled and were loud and uncontrolled… And then, saving it for last, we rode the Ferris wheel. I still remember each of us staring quietly out into the dark of our world and watching the bugs dive bomb the small creamy yellowish lights and dreaming and planning of what we would someday create, build and accomplish to change our places in life.

Those few hours have stayed forever in my mind with the smiles, laughter, hugs, and little girl dreams and close forever friends.

Thank you, Gladys. You are always in my heart.