Can we revisit a place from our youth? To see how much things have changed. Two important events in my life happened in 1971, the Enchanted Forest Children’s Amusement Park opened in Hope Valley and coincidentally, I was born. My parents drove me to this woodland wonderland a few times every summer of my youth to enjoy the rides and basically just have a fun family outing.
When you are a young Rhode Islander and live in a state that is only 37 miles across, a 25-mile ride is an all-day excursion! I enjoyed the simple fairy tale inspired rides, the bright colors, the sweet cotton candy, and most of all driving the little trucks on tracks with my brother and our cousins. It was a wide-eyed adventure and I will always remember those summer days.
When my first daughter was born, I also took her to this small park. She loved the rides and the mini-golf, but in my eyes it wasn’t the same place. It’s funny how things look different through a child’s eyes than an adult’s. It didn’t look like a magical place anymore. It looked faded, rundown, and falling apart. Nevertheless, I got my enjoyment of the park through her young eyes.
Two years after the park closed, I went back to it to see if I could capture through the lens of my plastic cameras what my adult eye could no longer see on its own. Could my mind be fooled by the lens of Holgas, Dianas, and Clacks? Can I visually simulate the way the park appeared in my mind’s eye?