IDORA PARK Former worker serves up helping of park nostalgia
It takes a true park lover to happily reminisce about a famous French fry booth where the food tastes so good because they 'never change the grease.'
By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
"Our Idora Park," by Angela Falvo Woodhull (Soulutions Publications, $10).
Some places get stuck in your memory for a lifetime, whether it is a house you lived in, a school you attended, or in the case of Angela Falvo Woodhull, an amusement park that you worked in and loved.
Woodhull operated the basketball stand at Idora Park from 1960-1967 while her parents, Carl and Louise, ran the pizza stand.
So in love with the park was Woodhull, she wrote many songs about it and put together a book containing drawings and recollections. She spent the weeks leading up to Christmas trying to sell the book and accompanying CD at the Southern Park Mall.
To draw attention to the book, she dressed up in costumes, such as a carton of Ethyl's French fries, one of the memories Woodhull preserved in song, ink and costume.
In the song Ethyl's French fries, it states,
"A lady here named Ethyl
Who makes these famous French fries
Is always being asked for her secret recipe
Ethyl simply smiles a bit
"It takes no high degree.
They're delicious 'cause I never
change the grease."
In the book and CD, those who remember Idora Park will be reminded of the Wildcat roller coaster, the Fun House Wacky Shack, The Penny Arcade, The Heidelberg Gardens restaurant and band stage, the picnic grounds and their international festivals, Big Band Night and Sock Hop Night with local disc jockey Boots Bell.
The most important person at the park to Woodhull was a colorful woman named Betty Pattison, who operated the cork gun booth and wore a different color bouffant wig every day with matching nail polish, eye shadow and plastic cigarette holder. She had a pet skunk who sat in his cage at the booth.
It was, for Woodhull, these colorful characters and even the more normal looking park patrons who gave her the most pleasurable memories. Even today, years after the fire that destroyed Idora Park and years after Woodhull left the area as an adult, she is still drawn to festivals and amusement parks to observe the people, she said.
But for now, she is trying to sell her memories of her favorite Youngstown landmark. And in the spring, she plans to bring Betty Pattison and others back to Youngstown for shows at Powers Auditorium.
For more information, call Woodhull at (330) 758-7878.