Tim’s Final Turn: Sailing Toward New Horizons
The headline on my first Tim’s Turn column in January 2014 was “I’m Baaack.”
I had been writing for Funworld for nearly 25 years but the unique opportunity to write a column provided a new showcase for my stories. The editorial staff at the time thought my writing style and recollections would be a fun and interesting way to close out each issue. Some called it dessert, some called it an old fogey’s column. I called it a great chance to share a lot of personal history, in a fun way, with our readers.
The column began the year I “retired” and it has since been a wonderful way for me to relive and share some adventures from my previous 30-plus years as a chronicler of our industry and an active member of IAAPA.
During this time, I was honored as the first (and still only) journalist to be inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame. That was the pinnacle of my happiest and most proud industry moments that I was able to share in my column.
I was also able to relate how the late-but-great Larry Cochran of Six Flags, through his timely tug of my ponytail, was able to convince my publisher that it was okay for me to keep long hair and still do a respectable reporting job within an industry that, at that time, had several facility operators that did not allow long hair.
I reminisced about the day Sylvester Stallone chatted with me in a kitchen at Universal Studios, about the official first ride on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster I shared with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler at Walt Disney World, and the adventure I had tracking down the remaining ashes of Jumbo the elephant.
On the lighter side, I wrote a tale of the necktie I wore to industry events for years and highlighted how it received every stain it possessed, and I talked about my early days as a lifeguard at Buckeye Lake Amusement Park in Ohio, complete with a photo of a tall, skinny, 16-year-old Tim in a bathing suit.
Now, after writing 96 Tim’s Turn columns, you are reading my 97th column, my last. But I do not weep, as I’ll still have the opportunity to write an occasional piece for Funworld when called upon.
I want to thank all of you who have emailed me after reading the column; I have enjoyed reading the missives. It’s nice to know there are many who have enjoyed the recollections I have shared about our industry’s history and culture. It was a joy hearing from them.
I leave this position as a happy, appreciative scribe. I will miss this unique opportunity to communicate with others who share similar interests.
I have always made sure my stories had conclusive endings; I now will conclude the cycle. From my first “I’m Baaack”, I must now sign off with a goodbye. Simply put, “I’m Gone.”