MIAMI, OK: As I mentioned last week, we are on the road this week and as of this writing find ourselves on Route 66 in Miami, OK.
One of our travel stops today was pretty fabulous and worth sharing with you. It may never have crossed your mind that a 311 foot, Balao class submarine could be found in the middle of Oklahoma, but sure enough, that’s where you can find the USS Batfish at the War Memorial Park in Muskogee.
The sub is open to the public and is lovingly tended and kept in tip-top shape through private donations; the state of Oklahoma doesn’t fund the project (and therefore there is no sign on the turnpike or highways alerting tourists to the park).
The Batfish was commissioned in 1942 and was in service for 26 years and is known primarily “for the remarkable feat of sinking three Imperial Japanese Navy submarines in a 76-hour period, in February 1945.”
The sub sits now in a depressed area of a large field at the War Memorial Park in a shallow basin of water. After touring the museum, visitors then can walk outside and go aboard the sub. The first thing that hits you is the smell of the oil and machinery of the sub, but once you descend the ladder into the Batfish, you can see the torpedo holds, banks of brass gauges, dials, and levers; you can see the bunks where the crew rotated sleep shifts, the officer and the enlisted mess, a couple of office areas, and all along the tour are either guides or video monitors with information.
If I lived closer to Muskogee, I’d take part in some of the cool events that the park offers like Bands on the Batfish, or the overnight stays that they do to raise funds to support this fascinating piece of history.
What impressed my husband almost as much as the USS Batfish was the large section of the mast of the USS Oklahoma which was destroyed at Pearl Harbor. It was sobering to stand next to that mast and realize its role in history.
Read more about the USS Batfish here, and about the park that has given her a home here. And if you find yourself in Oklahoma, go by and see it. If you want to donate to the upkeep and maintenance of the sub, go here. The park goes beyond just preserving the submarine, but also works to educate young people and to bring history alive.
For me, it was fascinating to walk through the submarine and think about the masterful engineering involved in putting so much equipment in such a small space. It is well worth the trip.
When you think of American Success stories in Hamilton Missouri it’s quite natural for the first thoughts in your minds to be either JC Penny who was born here, or Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt company who we wrote about here.
But at the very end of the street, just beyond the last quilt shop, there is a very small building. It doesn’t look like much and only sits about 20 people but it’s an American success story all the same.
This is Hank and Tank’s barbeque and you should know about it.
DaWife DaYoungestSon and I stopped there in the midst of her Missouri Star Quilt experience to have some lunch. Tank took our order and gave me a few minutes of his time.
I recorded this interview after we ordered but before we got our food. Believe me it was worth the wait.
The Ribs I had were the best ribs I’d ever tasted and it wasn’t even close, they were not served sauced but sauce was provided i we wanted but I found that the ribs were so good that I didn’t want to dilute the flavor the slighted bit (this was in contrast to the pork and pickle at the airport whose ribs which needed bbq sauce to give them flavor). My wife who had the Brisket said it was “melt in your mouth tender” and not only did my son love his pulled pork sandwich but while he never cared for ribs absolutely loved the ones I shared with him as did DaWife, both of who gave me a taste of their food as well.
I spoke to both to Tank’s father and Tank as we ate, he starts preparing his meat for the smoker at 4:30 AM and prepares his mix of hickory and cherry wood before feeding the smokers at 5:30 AM. He was very humble concerning his praise of his food still very much the man who told his family when the idea of opening a restaurant was presented to him “Who’s going to pay money for my barbecue”” even as he sells 800lbs of meat a day on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday that they are open. He was constantly in and out with his brother and son Hank serving the customers who came from all over the world for the jewel of the crown of the quilting world and discovered another gem right beside them.
Without a doubt the food here is spectacular and if you are anywhere near Hamilton Missouri it’s worth coming down for some of the Best BBQ you will ever eat, but what I love most about this story is how American it is. Think about it, a family deciding they have to get their hard-working father and husband out of a corrections job that was killing him, going all in to make their tiny restaurant a success and being rewarded not with glowing reviews from all over who have eaten their food, but more importantly with the improved health of the person they love, which is what they really wanted above all else.
That’s the quintessential American success story.
I don’t know if they’ll eventually decide to open a fourth day or a fifth, or expand into a bigger restaurant and I can’t tell you if you will someday see a Hank and Tank’s chain serving great food all over the country, but that doesn’t matter because that’s not the measure of what success is. If they simply remain a family able to support themselves by working hard and providing customers with great food three days a week that makes it no less an example of the American Dream that Tank’s great grandfather came from Sicily to pursue.
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Alas the pictures from Pizza West in Shawnee Kansas which in addition to an excellent Pizza Buffet and a good red sauce has a fine selection of pinball machines, nor the Up Down Bar Arcade with a great selection of machines all at a quarter a play, nor the Crown Point tavern which combines excellent burgers with a downstairs full of pinball machines all that is on my son’s phone but I’ll close with this.
When we got to our hotel in KC the AC wasn’t working, and the 2nd night there it was pretty bad for DaWife who has breathing issues. I tweeted this out and heard both from Priceline where I booked the room through and the parent company of Four Points. The next day when we came back from the Red Sox KC afternoon game the General manager and the maintenance guy were both waiting for us, it appears that the storm that swept through the area just before we arrived and caused power outages throughout the area has shot the thermostat on the unit. They were able to repair it while we were at the game, and the AC was cranking, nevertheless they offered us a different room if we wanted it (that wasn’t possible the night before as the place was full of Red Sox fans as were the surrounding hotels in the chain). We elected to say where we were and had a good two nights and when we left on Friday the general manager was there to see us off and make sure things were OK.
The measure of a company is not if there are no problems, there are always problems in life, the measure is how you deal with problems when they come up.
As this post goes live, the 48th Chicago Pride Parade is taking place on the city’s North Side. The event is still commonly called the Gay Parade, “Pride” is of course a much more generic term. On the Yahoo home page today, next to the rainbow colors, is this message, “Be proud of who you are.”
In Chicago there are many people who should be ashamed of who they are and what they’ve done. Which got me thinking. America’s third largest city–for now–really needs a Shame Parade, something along the lines what Queen Cersei suffered, in the buff, in Game of Thrones two years ago at the hands of the Sparrows sect.
But please, shameful ones, keep your clothes on.
Participation is limited only to brigands who live in Chicago.
Attendees are encouraged to chant “Shame…shame….shame.”
Chicagoans, now let me present to you the 2017 Shame Parade participants!
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley: The son of Mayor Richard J. Daley, the younger Daley inherited his father’s talent in creating a powerful political organization. But while the first “Hizzoner” was a whiz at public finance, Number 2 was clueless about about it–clearly Richie is bad at math. Chicago has the worst-funded municipal worker pension plans in the nation. The city prospered in the 1990s, it’s easy to see why. The pension obligations were shorted to create an illusion of prosperity, a Potemkin Chicago.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel: The Tiny Dancer inherited a mess from Daley, and he’s responding as any liberal Democrat would to any problem–raise taxes. But Chicagoans are responding with their feet–Chicago is the only major city losing population. Most of the West Side and much of the South Side is a killing zone. More people are murdered in Chicago than New York City and Los Angeles–combined.
The leaders of every street gang: “Chicago is the gang capital of the United States,” CBS News reported a few years ago. There are roughly 600 gangs in Chicago and about 70,000 members in these criminal enterprises.
Cook County Assessor and Cook County Democratic Party Boss Joseph Berrios: The assessor’s office has long been a campaign fund cash cow for the Chicago Machine. But in a fantastic series from the Chicago Tribune, Berrios’ reign has been shown to favor the wealthy residents of Cook County while cheating poor ones. Boss Berrios has also been accused of rampant nepotism. Do you mean the Democrats aren’t for “the little guy?”
Edward Vrdolyak: A onetime boss of the Cook County Democratic Party, “Fast Eddie” is one of the many former members of the Chicago City Council who is a convicted felon. Roughly once every 18 months a member or former member of that shameful legislative body takes up residence in a federal prison. Vrdolyak became a Republican in the late 1980s. Seven years ago he served a ten-month prison sentence for participating in a kickback scheme with cronies of disgraced governor Rod Blagojevich. Last fall Vrdolyak was indicted again on tax evasion charges.
Karen Lewis: The longtime president of the Chicago Teachers Union, a hardened leftist, was a pretty good high school chemistry teacher, a former co-worker who was one of her pupils told me once. But she’s not that good at math. Or perhaps she is? For years members of her union have had taxpayers, in the name of Chicago Public Schools, pay what is supposed to be the teachers’ contribution into their still woefully undercapitalized pension funds.
Barbara Byrd-Bennett: While the aforementioned Chicago Public Schools was headed into the financial sewer, its CEO, “BBB,” participated in a kickback scam. Byrd-Bennett will report to prison later this year.
Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn: Barack Obama began his political career in the living room of these unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists. After their terror career ended they moved on to academia, where they learned that it’s easier to destroy America by indoctrinating youngsters with leftism than by bombing buildings.
Rod Blagojevich: Can President Donald Trump arrange a furlough for the onetime “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant? While Colorado is the jailbird’s home for now, the rest of his family still lives in Chicago. The hair-brained former governor inherited a fiscal mess, as did Rahm Emanuel, but he made it worse, particularly with his 2005 pension payment “holiday.”
Former Gov. Jim Thompson: Look! Another Republican! In 1989 Thompson signed into law the compounded interest pension raises which of course were never properly funded. An astute pol, yes, but like the younger Mayor Daley and perhaps Karen Lewis, math is not the strong suit of “Big Jim.”
Chicago’s Power Corruption Couple, former Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson and former US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr: They’re undergoing a nasty divorce right now, but in happier times they looted Junior’s campaign fund. Both are ex-cons. The couple that steals together doesn’t necessarily stay together.
Lifetime Lack-of-Achievement Award, Jesse Jackson Sr: Decades of race-based shakedowns enriched himself and his family. Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH organization placed his son and daughter-in-law into positions of power. But what tangible achievements can he show other Chicagoans?
Who will the grand marshal of Chicago’s Shame Parade?
State House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Boss: Michael Madigan: Since becoming speaker in 1983, Madigan has nominally served with–or over?–six governors. But you can find the 13th Ward Democratic committeeman’s fingerprints on every piece of pension and fiscal legislation enacted into law since then. Illinois’ public pension plans are among the worst-funded among the 50 states. Illinois’ bond ratings are just one step above junk–the lowest ever for a state. And if a budget isn’t passed by the end of this week S&P and Moody’s warns that junk status will be declared.
Oh, why isn’t Barack Obama in the Shame Parade? Chicago is so bad even Obama has bailed on it. The former president lives in Washington now. Obama served in the Illinois Senate, from 1997-2004, while the state’s pension disaster festered. Obama is so smart, right? But why were there no warnings from him about Illinois pensions?
It’s almost better than Christmas morning for these ladies
Donna from Indiana
Hamilton Missouri is a small town of just over 1800 people, there is a lot of farming and grazing land in the area and until just a few years ago it’s primary claim to fame was being the birthplace of that American success story JC Penny.
Now buses arrive at the down on a semi regular basis and travelers from all over the nation and the world converge on this little town and not to see where Mr. Penny grew up.
No these people are quilters, women (and a few men) who are crafters of beautiful things and Hamilton
Missouri is their Mecca because of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Here is an excerpt from a report from KSHB from 2013 whose video didn’t want to embed .
They come from Oklahoma, Kansas and far-flung locales beyond. One visitor traveled here all the way from Israel, just to meet the woman who has become a YouTube sensation for the hobby she has turned into a multi-million dollar family business.
That woman is Jenny Doan, matriarch of the Doan family, who launched the Missouri Star Quilting company in 2008 with a quilting machine, and a tumbledown brick building in Hamilton’s one-stoplight downtown.
“It’s bizarre,” says Doan of her YouTube fame. Doan teaches quilting classes in short web videos, and in person, for those who trek to her store to shop, and to meet the woman one described as the “Oprah” of quilting.
Their Youtube channel is here and if I had the traffic they had I likely would not be working my night job.
Thursday after seeing the Red Sox relievers give away their final game to the Royals and rejoicing that the management of our hotel in KC got the AC fixed and made it a point to be waiting for us after the game to confirm it and apologize for the problems in person the day before, my wife, who works a 2nd shift job and is historically NOT an early riser was not only up early but urging our youngest son and I along so with the goal of getting to the place she had dreamed of seeing ever since she took up quilting a few years ago as soon as possible. I dashed through my piece on the Georgia 6th special election getting it up at 9:13 and less than 10 minutes later we were on the road with a quick stop at a local WalMart to buy a battery operated camera as I had neglected to bring my charger, for the pictures she would be taking.
It took about an hours drive to get there, there was nothing extraordinary about the highway or the country around it, nor the simple left turn off of Route 36 down S Hughes street to South Davis Street. The country was farm and grazing land, beautiful country, with a few places to stop and eat dotted along the way but my wife’s anticipation grew by the mile and when we took that final left turn from South Davis Street to and when we took that final left to West School Street and the first building came in sight her excitement was boiling over.
We drove down that street and saw quilt shops to the right and the left of us finally deciding to park at the final shop and work her way to the main location.
When we walked into the first shop it was evident that this was estrogen heaven, a dozen immensely happy women were inside and my wife immediately made it a baker’s dozen. My son and I noticed a fellow sitting near the door and sat with him for a bit.
He was the retired Steelworker from Pittsburgh who had driven 12 1/2 hours to bring his wife here and his story of her anticipation at every mile they got closer mimicked mine, interrupted only by his wife coming over and asking for a few dollars for the purchases at this shop.
Eventually my son and I found the Man’s spot which we’ve already discussed. We sat back, played some pool and eventually I grabbed the laptop and starting surfing, on twitter the fact that I was at Missouri Star got the attention of several of my readers who were anxious for me to get an in. I had not planned on doing any interviews or work during this trip, I had not even packed my monopod, but when DaWife stopped by with camera it was clear there was a story here worth telling so after doing a quick intro video and lunch at a tiny BBQ place called Hank’s and Tanks (which deserves its own post and will get it on Monday or Tuesday) I headed to the main building to see if I could get an interview with someone at the company.
I talked to a nice lady behind the counter to tried to find someone available but within a few minutes a pair of busses arrived and as with any business the customers have to come first, so I sat down and watched the ladies come in.
They were happy, but not just happy, you could literally feel the joy and excitement as each one came into the door and found themselves at the place they had dreamed of. Their ages ran from the mid 30’s to the seventies and there was one lady, clearly old and infirm who might have been in her eighties, but no amount of age or infirmity could restrain the sheer unadulterated pleasure written on their faces and emanating from their hearts.
As the people at work were far too overwhelmed to even think about me, I started to approach the women inside to see if any would be interviewed on camera. Donna from Indiana who was in charge of the bus trip was kind enough to give me some time.
It’s never an easy job to get a lady to consent to an on camera interview with a strange man in a hat wearing a 18 foot scarf on a 90 degree day and it’s doubly difficult when said interview tears them even for a few moment away from the place they’ve been dreaming about for years. I was turned down quite a bit but a pair of ladies from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints one from Oregon and one from Utah gave me a few minutes
At this point there was a tutorial being given by a lady named Cindy so there was no prospect of getting anyone so I headed back to the main building and found myself tweeting back and forth with Al Doan one of the founders of the business but unfortunately he was not in the area. Around this time my wife had finished shopping so we headed back to the main building where Cindy had finished with her tutorial and had been given the OK to give a few minutes to the odd fellow in the hat:
It was pretty late in the afternoon when we loaded up the rental with the fabric that my wife bought and got ready to leave the glow of being there still upon her.
There are a lot of things to say about the Missouri Star Quilt Company: that It’s the fulfilment of the dream of Jenny Doan, that it revitalized a small town in Missouri, that in less than a decade it has become the largest employer in Caldwell County Missouri, that the Missouri Star Quilt Company in general and Jenny Doan in particular are, like JC Penny, an American success story. All of these things are true, special and worthy of praise.
But for my money the greatest thing about the Missouri Star Quilt Company is the happiness they bring to thousands of women who come there each month and the tens of thousands who watch their tutorials online and the satisfaction that I and all the other husbands get when they see the sheer joy on the faces of the women they love.
My wife’s photos follow:
Update: The video from KSHB wouldn’t embed so I’ve replaced it with an excerpt from the text of the piece
I make my living by what readers decide to kick in. If you like what you see at this site from my writers an I are please consider subscribing and become (if you wish) a listed as a Friend of DaTechguy blog
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Events are turning me into a radical skeptic. I no longer believe what I read, unless what I am reading is an empirically verifiable account of the past. I no longer have confidence in polls, because it has become impossible to separate the signal from the noise. What I have heard from the media and political class over the last several years has been so spectacularly proven wrong by events, again and again, that I sometimes wonder why I continue to read two newspapers a day before spending time following journalists on Twitter. Habit, I guess. A sense of professional obligation, I suppose. Maybe boredom.
The fact is that almost the entirety of what one reads in the paper or on the web is speculation. The writer isn’t telling you what happened, he is offering an interpretation of what happened, or offering a projection of the future. The best scenario is that these theories are novel, compelling, informed, and based on reporting and research. But that is rarely the case. More often the interpretations of current events, and prophesies of future ones, are merely the products of groupthink or dogma or emotions or wish-casting, memos to friends written by 27-year-olds who, in the words of Ben Rhodes, “literally know nothing.” There was a time when newspapers printed astrology columns. They no longer need to. The pseudoscience is on the front page.
And, the worst thing about this state of affairs is that much of the public cannot tell the difference between reporting and opinion/speculation. That’s no accident.
Millenials seem to leak like a cheap diaper. Manning, Winner, Snowden are only the latest in a line of people that think it’s OK to send whatever information they want to the press. I recently received a personal-for message (sometimes called a P4) expressing dismay at people who were leaking information about the investigation into the USS FITZGERALD collision. While looking for answers as to why someone would do this, I stumbled on this quote:
“In 2016, Gallup found adults under 29 least likely to say they were “extremely proud” to be American, with just over a third agreeing. If managers in the national security industry think they can count on patriotism to dissuade potential leakers, they are mistaken.” Continue reading “Stopping the leakers with mandatory service?”→
Yesterday I was at the airport in Kansas City with DaWife and Da youngest son as we prepared to head home after a short trip that involved no political reporting. I’ll still have some posts on the Missouri Star Quilt company some of the things to see and bits of the trip over the course of the next week or so, but I promised DaWife and DaSon that other than my normal daily post I wouldn’t be doing political stuff on my trip no chasing pols nor interviews along those lines in the land of Claire McCaskill.
I bring up Senator McCaskill because you might recall that her re-election in 2012 came about because of some intemperate words by her hand picked opponent Todd Akin which networks like CNN not only promoted via newscasts, print and online stories and every form of social media in sight to the nth degree, but were a subject upon which their reporters demanded that every republican from Mitt Romney on down with an “R” next to their name comment on and/or denounce even though they had as much of a connection to Mr. Akin as I do to a Sicilian pulled at random from the Island by lottery because they thought it would help reelect her and harm every republican running for office that year immediately recognized it as newsworthy according to their standards
Meanwhile yesterday on the net this story was exploding
That headline is from the local ABC affiliate and is referring to congressman Steve Scalise the GOP deputy whip that a Democrat who volunteered for Bernie Sanders Campaign shot while attempting to murder a bunch of GOP members of congress last week which oddly enough seems not to have generated the sustained coverage that the shooting of congresswoman Gabby Gifford did a few years ago but I digress. Here are some details from the Omaha World Herald.
In the recording, Montag, referring to Scalise, says “this (obscenity), his whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to (obscenity) kick people off of (obscenity) health care. … I’m glad he got shot. I’m not gonna (obscenity) say that publicly.”
“Well then what are you saying it to us for?” Gentry-Tipton’s friend asks in the recording.
“I wish he was (obscenity) dead,” Montag says as the recording continues.
Now you might think that a party official cheering the attempted murder of a sitting congressman while he was still in the hospital recovering from multiple surgeries to save his life might be considered “newsworthy” particularly to outlets that operate on a national scale. As a person who has run this site for nearly a decade now and has reported on events as a credentialed journalist I certainly thought it was.
But apparently the professionals at CNN didn’t agree because in my four hours sitting in that airport waiting to board my delayed flight with CNN on every TV in sight I saw plenty of stories on President Trump and Russia and every possible permutation of the same and plenty of promos about how important CNN and the media is, yet I didn’t see any hint that this story, let alone Phil Montag even existed.
shows that none of the broadcast networks found the story worth their trouble and the one MSM outlet that touched it, the NY Times that picked up an AP story on the subject did not find it necessary to ask democrats on Capital hill or elsewhere to comment on Mr. Montag’s remarks.
Does anyone doubt for one moment that if Mr. Montag had been a republican and had made such a remark about any sitting Democrat Congressman even if such congressman had not been shot, that during my wait for the my connecting flight to Baltimore there would have been an endless supply of commentary and stories on the subject and republicans high and low would have been made to own or condemn his remarks?
But what a difference the letter “D” makes.
The irony, this same media that doesn’t find this story newsworthy actually feels insulted that they are no longer trusted by the people.
Exit question if President Trump tweeted out this story how much do you want to bet the MSM headline would be “President tweets out divisive story after Scalise story” vs “Democrat official wishes Scalise dead”
Update: Perhaps the reason they don’t find this story newsworthy is explained by this Roger Simon piece at PJMedia
The most recent of the seemingly endless incidents/outbreaks range from the ridiculous (hapless movie star Johnny Depp making a joke about assassinating the president and then recanting it…his agent must have called) to the genuinely creepy (a Democratic Party official declaring he was glad Steve Scalise was shot).
Yes, this last one was about a congressman, not the president. But we know the atmosphere that condoned it — the same atmosphere that enabled thirty GOP congressmen either to have been violently attacked or to have had their lives threatened since the beginning of May. (Such things did not happen BT/Before Trump.)
In the case of Depp, it was not so much his pathetic remarks that horrified — the actor is in the midst of a public nervous breakdown — but the raucous approval of his comments by the Glastonbury Festival audience, as if he had just given a shout-out to the local football team.
This automatic reaction by the rabble is just another example of the reach of Trump Derangement Syndrome, where assassination talk is de rigueur and Trump is regarded as a combination of Daddy Warbucks and Caligula with a little of The Joker thrown in. (Just the other day, author Michael Chabon told an Israel Radio interviewer that he wakes up every morning with the hope that Trump “is going to have a massive stroke, and, you know, be carted out of the White House on a gurney.” The surprised Israeli interviewer told Breitbart he naturally thought Chabon was just joking, but then realized he wasn’t. )
Perhaps my exit question should have been: How many people at CNNNBCABCCBSPBSMSNBC et/all hold the very same opinions as Montag, Depp and the audiance cheering the idea of the murder of Trump and wish they could say so aloud?
Update 2: Newsbusters reports that ABC did cover this story that had been reported by its affiliate, but not without paring it with a previous statement by a member of the GOP from NH from last year
There is a brand new water park in San Antonio, Texas, that is designed to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of physical limitations or other special needs a person may have. Via Sunny Skyz:
Morgan’s Inspiration Island in San Antonio, Texas, is making sure kids with disabilities don’t miss out on all the fun this summer.
Every section of the the new water park is wheelchair accessible and guests with special needs are admitted at no cost.
Other features of Morgan’s Inspiration Island include waterproof RFID (radio-frequency identification) wristbands so parents can keep track of their kids, a seven-story lighthouse and a water play area called Rainbow Reef, which has water that can be warmed for guests with sensitivity to cold.
In a press release, owner Gordon Hartman said the team behind Inspiration Island consulted with water park professionals, doctors and experts in special education and special needs, as well as received input from local teachers, parents and caregivers.
The park also offers private areas for guests to transfer out of their personal wheelchairs to waterproof ones.
“We recently unveiled with the University of Pittsburgh revolutionary new wheelchairs propelled by compressed air,” Gordon said. “Our guests in expensive battery-powered wheelchairs can’t afford to get them wet, so we have special Morgan’s Inspiration Island PneuChairs.”
They really did try to think of everything a person with special needs might need to be able to enjoy this unique water park, including providing water proof undergarments – free of charge – for people who may need them.
The fully handicapped accessible water park was preceded by Morgan’s Wonderland, which is an amusement park that was designed to be enjoyed by people with and without special needs, after the parents of Morgan Hartman noticed that Morgan, who has physical and cognitive limitations, wanted to be with other kids at a hotel pool, but the able bodied kids appeared to be uneasy about playing with a special needs child. So Morgan’s parents decided to make a place where all kinds of kids could come together and have fun, in the spirit of friendship and inclusion:
The tipping point occurred in 2005 when Gordon observed Morgan wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids were leery of Morgan and didn’t want to interact with her. Then and there, Gordon resolved to create opportunities and places where those with and without disabilities can come together not only for fun but also for a better understanding of one another. That led to the construction of Morgan’s Wonderland in an abandoned quarry in Northeast San Antonio. It’s apropos that the butterfly is the symbol of this unique theme park; soaring to one success after another is now commonplace.
When it celebrated its grand opening April 10, 2010, Morgan’s Wonderland became the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment. The completely wheelchair-accessible park features more than 25 elements including rides, playgrounds and other colorful attractions. From the very beginning, anyone with a special need has been admitted free of charge, no questions asked.
It is Morgan’s fervent hope that everyone with a special need – young and older, healthy or ailing, introspective or outgoing – will be touched in a very special way by Morgan’s Wonderland: a shrine of inclusion, an oasis of friendship, an unforgettable wonderland…Morgan’s Wonderland!
Our vision is to establish a special place where smiles and laughter lead to wonderful memories with family members, friends and caregivers. We want Morgan’s Wonderland to be a place where the common element of play creates an atmosphere of inclusion for those with and without disabilities, encouraging everyone to gain a greater understanding of one another.
Morgan’s Wonderland is just like any other theme park except for a culture and environment that assures 100 percent enjoyment by every person who enters through the Welcome Center. Unfortunately, countless children and adults with special needs do not have access to facilities that enable them to fully enjoy outdoor recreation. Morgan’s Wonderland has begun to change that.
And now there is a fabulous water park for the enjoyment of all as well. Morgan Hartman’s parents also established a school nearby for people with special needs between the ages of 12 to 24 where they can learn skills that will help them fulfill their potentials, and they are involved with adaptive sports and physical rehabilitation services.
The admission prices to both parks for non-disabled people are very reasonable and military discounts are offered. Morgan’s parks also host live entertainment and special events. May Morgan’s parks enjoy long and successful futures, and may they inspire others around the country and around the world to create similar projects. Fun without barriers, what a beautiful concept!
MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals.
If you go to the Pottery Barn page, they have stuff that will make the dweller of a tiny house or a Manhattan apartment (but I repeat myself) weep with envy.
I love it.
As a pro-Western values, cisgender, capitalist, anti-abortion Christian woman, I find it exhilarating.
What this tells me is that “you, dear girl or boy growing up in America today, can, through hard work and purpose, grow up to buy yourself, from your own earnings, the best appliances and modern conveniences for preparing your family delicious meals in the comfort of your own home.”
Add to that, “and when your kids are little you can get them beautiful toys if you have the room and can afford to.” (As you may remember, I consider living within your means one of the twelve adulting steps.)
It warms my capitalist heart.
If you can afford it, buying your children an upscale miniature kitchen is a better option, and I speak as a mother, than buying them a tablet. My experience is that kids will pick up computer skills in no time at all, but they will need time to learn social and everyday management skills as they grow up. Getting mini appliances is “a good thing,” as Martha Stewart says.
We didn’t have the room in our house when my son was growing up for a Pottery Barn mini-kitchen, but he did have one drawer for his toy pans and plates and a Queasy Bake Oven,
He asked for a children’s cookbook when he was five, and has been cooking ever since. Most of his friends cook, too.
Now, if you will excuse me, I’ll be looking at the grown-up kitchen toys at Williams Sonoma.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog. She still has the Queasy Bake oven.