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"Riverview"

Riverview was a big part of my life and family. I was a young girl when we started going their in the 50s. But Riverview was more than just a park. It was a total part of my life. My dad, Frank Allender, was the owner of Allender & Company, an upholstery shop and his most important customer was Riverview.

I remember spending hours helping my dad, from the time I was very little up until the park closed when I was 18. We would roll out the naugahyde on his big tables, cut out any bad pieces, re-roll it, wrap it and mark it for "the customer". Much of it was going to "Riverview". I was so proud. My dad's material was going to be the seats at the park. Even though I didn't like that people damaged the seats it still made my dad important since he provided the material to fix the seats.

Riverview wasn't just any customer. It was THE PARK! It was my favorite place to go. In the earlier years my dad's store was a part of our house in Wooddale, but in the later years his store was on Cicero. My friends were always very happy to join me in helping my dad and then we would walk to Riverview from the store.

I remember being talked into going on a "roller coaster" and Jim Cruse grabbing my pants as I almost flew out of the Bobs. Thank you Jim. I remember turning almost totally upside down and pretending to have a tea party on the Rotor. I remember the thrill of going down the Chutes and always amazed that the Bumper Boat mechanics could move back and forth like it did. I remember my mom going to the guess your age booth at the age of 55 and still winning the prize. I remember all the mirrors, smoke and slanty floors of Aladdin's Castle. As I said to my kid, now a teenager, there just never was a fun house as fabulous as Aladdin's Castle.

When the park closed, a part of my life really died. It was traumatic. It was like losing one of my best friends. For my dad, it was his best customer and his business never recovered from that loss.

When I was in Lincolnwood at my step-dad's funeral in 1999 my brother and I took my mom's car to a car wash in Lincolnwood to get it cleaned. On the wall of the shop was a big collage of Riverview. I burst into tears. It was like seeing a picture of my long lost friends. There alive and well were the chutes, the parachutes, Aladdin's Castle, the Rotor and the bumper boats. All my favorites.

It reminded me of the Beatles. I will always hope some day that Riverview gets back together even though I know it can never really happen...I can still fantasize. It was a wonderful part of my childhood and youth. It is a wonderful dream that I still talk about and tell many.

I too now have one of those wonderful collages on my wall thanks to the people who run this website and were smart enough to save some of the artifacts.

Julie Ann Allender
 
Sharpshooters Productions, Inc.

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