Bubbleator, Seattle World's Fair And A Marriage Proposal
Coming to see the Seattle World's Fair with my boyfriend was exciting enough,
but he had something else in store for me.
Full of Junk Food And Dreams
I was young enough to gawk openly at the 607-foot high structure, which looked to me like a flying saucer with legs but what Seattle was calling its Space Needle.
Nineteen years old, I’d come to Seattle with my boyfriend Frank, to see the Century 21 Exposition. It was the summer of 1962.
“Want to go there first?” Frank looked up at the Space Needle. (By his bunny-frozen-in-the-glare-of-headlights expression, I knew he wasn’t too thrilled about the ascent.)
“First let’s get a Belgian waffle,” he said a little desperately. “I may not have an appetite after I come back down.”
We took our plates of waffles piled high with whipped cream and strawberries over to the International Fountain and sat down.
Between bites of waffle, he told me he wanted to transfer to the University of Washington and study political science. (He had a year in Eastern Washington State College at the time.)
“I want to write play about heroic women,” I told him. My dream was to become a playwright. Seattle had an 800-foot playhouse right there on the fairgrounds. “Perhaps someday I might have a play here…,” my voice trailed off into the fountain’s noisy spray.
We threw our soggy paper plates into one of the many trash receptacles around the grounds, and joined the long line of people waiting for the elevator to the Space Needle.
On the way up to the observation deck, Frank told me that his grandfather was a bobby in the queen’s service, and after college, he might join the police force.
The elevator coming to a jerky halt, we disembarked and I made a beeline to the curved window, where I could look out at the panorama below me.
The sky was robin’s egg blue and the snow capped volcanic cone of Mount Rainier loomed majestically in the distance.
“Good thing we’re too high for flying insects,” Frank joked as he timidly peeked over the side, “Or you’d have a mouthful.”
After the Space Needle, we visited the science pavilion and then headed for the food circus for more empty calories.
Full of junk food and dreams, we boarded the oddly shaped Bubbleator into a maze of cubes containing pictures of space and the atom.
“First floor,” chants the pilot, “threats and thresholds, frustration and fulfillments, challenge and opportunities.”
As we stepped out into the second floor, I thought the pilot could well have been describing our future---for somewhere between the souvenir shop and drinking fountain, Frank asked me to marry him.
On July 1 we celebrate 49 years of marriage. He became a police officer and rose to the rank of Criminal Division Chief for the King County Sheriff’s Department. I wrote my plays, and saw many of them on Seattle stages. (A play that won grand prize at the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference was staged in a little theatre right at the foot of the Seattle Space needle!)
For me, and possibly the other 9.5 million people who passed through the entrance gates in l962, it was truly a fair to remember.