The Rope Swing

Remembrance of Things Past

By Diana Braskich

Since my birth in 1983 at Kootenai Memorial Hospital, or “The Big Blue Hospital,” as my friends and I loved to brag (as if being born at the nearest regional hospital were somehow prestigious), Coeur d’Alene has seen a lot of growth and change.

We’ve become a much more diverse city than we used to be. For the most part, I like our expanded town—there’s so much more here than when I was growing up. But I often find myself driving through the city and missing the great pockets of woods, the vast empty fields, and the long-closed businesses.

For example, the closing of the waterpark called Wild Waters was a travesty to me—which is no offense to the area’s two exceptional contemporary waterparks—but I drove by Wild Waters yesterday and felt the urge to break in and explore, despite the decay and rampant graffiti. I lived at Wild Waters during the summers of the early 1990s. No doughnut has ever passed my lips that can compete with the freshly made glory sold at their doughnut shop, and even though their rough, scratchy slides shredded the bottom of more than one swimsuit, I hold those rides in higher esteem than their presumably much smoother, and safer, modern counterparts. The tourists can keep their climate-controlled indoor parks and hotel packages. No matter how thrilling today’s parks are, they cannot overcome my nostalgic love for their predecessor.

The Showboat Theater is another long-lost love, despite the obvious superiority of the current cinema complex at Riverstone. As a small child, I longed to play with the model of the steamboat, frustratingly out of reach behind its velvet ropes. As I teenager, I found myself deliciously traumatized by the decaying red velvet curtains, whose ambience increased the terror of late-1990s horror classics like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. While the Showboat lacked the comfort and quality of a contemporary cinema, it more than made up for that with character.

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