Memories From Whalom Park Employee's
Dean Ollikkala: Rides 1987-1988
I worked as a ride operator at Whalom for a whopping 3 months total, in the summers of 87 and 88. The rides I did were the Ferris Wheel, Flyer Comet, Bouncer (I hated having to hit the release valves on those 2 air tanks at closing time!), Trabant, Bumper Cars, I think I ran the Tumble Bug once. Oh, also the Octopus (which was among the most profitable rides to operate, with all the change flying out of people's pockets on the ride).
My favorites were the bumper cars and Comet. With the bumper cars, I often did something that, looking back, was so foolish I could have been kicked out of the park. Every once in a while I'd find that unfortunate little kid that got bumped into the corner and couldn't get out. While the ride was still going, I'd run over to that car, stand with my 2 feet on the back edge of the rubber bumper, steady my balance with one hand on the pole, and put my other hand on the steering wheel and say to the kid, "put your foot on the pedal and keep it floored." I'd give him the ride of his life, bumping the heck out of everybody else, or finding just the right opening to break up the traffic jam. I remember doing this more than once.
In fact, I enjoyed working in the park so much that summer, I spoke to the park secretary, Mrs. Ellie Goguen as asked if the park might be interested in having puppet shows, since I had been involved with puppet making since my elementary school years. She in turn spoke to 'Will' as well as to the park owners, and it was agreed to. I was hired the following season to produce hand puppet shows in the Kiddieland section of the park, utilizing an old ticket booth as the stage. I was also asked to manage a small crew of high school kids who were hired as the Whalom Park Mascots: 'Super Chick' 'Silly Savage' and Simon Looney Bear'. So in addition to providing the patrons with four puppet shows each day, I also walked around dressed in a Chicken costume, and guarded the others as they strolled the park greeting and hugging folks, playing the games, riding the rides and posing for thousands of photo's.
It was truly the greatest time of any work situation I could have imagined. The costumed characters were great fun to do, for nobody knew who was inside those suits, and one could act as silly as could be, and get away with it! Of course there were some negative aspects as well, one can imagine that those costumes were not air conditioned. We spent those hot blazing summer months sweating our 'you know what's' off! The other bad part of being a mascot, were the times when inebriated patrons would come up to us and light a lighter close to the fur, or try and take the heads off to see who was inside, or to push us from behind, so we'd not see who did it. (The reason we needed to be guarded by another person) Really a million stories could be told about being a costumed character at Whalom Park. Mostly great memories. But just one quick memory that is emblazoned in my all time memory bank was on opening day (Easter Sunday) 1980. I was new as a Whalom mascot, a bit nervous, yet excited about the fact that I was going to be Super Chick, and hand out Easter Eggs from a decorated Easter Basket to happy, well behaved children. Well, not more than 5 minutes from emerging out of the dressing room, I was surrounded by a crowd of at least 5 or 600 people. maybe more! Everyone screaming and yelling for me to give them an egg, pushing and shoving. It was really incredible! kids were getting trampled and I couldn't move an inch, as I was surrounded by this huge circular mob of Easter Egg maniacs! To this day, I am still friends with Officer Paul Porter of the Lunenburg Police Department for coming to my rescue and breaking up the crowd, and getting me back to safety! Needless to say, Super Chick never went out again with that Easter Basket! It was torn to shreds.
Later, as I continued to work at the park each season during the early 1980's, I was able to design and produce puppet shows from a new, larger puppet building which I named "Ye Olde Drawbridge Puppet Theater" because the shuttered window which opened prior to the show resembled a Drawbridge - hence the name. Also, I hired many of acts that appeared at the Center Stage area, which included lots of circus type acts, magicians, ventriloquists, dog trick acts and we also did our own Character stage shows utilizing the mascots. but since they did not speak, introduced a new character who could - "Wally Whalom" the park clown. I acted as Wally for the first season but definitely made it a point to find someone else more suited to be a speaking clown.
Several people worked as Wally Whalom and Wacky Wizard as they were difficult characters to keep, since they needed to wear full clown makeup and costume for much of the day! We often switched with people who were also the mascots, and turned Wally, into a female version, named Wanda, whenever we had a girl interested in being the park clown for a while.
Working at Whalom was certainly a great experience, and especially for young people. For most of us, it was our first real paid jobs. Operating a ride meant a great deal of responsibility for young high school or college kids. Running the games were too, as there was the need to manage money people placed on the game, making correct change, and dealing with the public. There were jobs with the concession stands, ticket people, landscape crew which kept the park looking good and clean, office personnel, and many older folks were hired as ride operators, mainly in Kiddieland, as the flexible part time hours were perfect. It is truly a great loss to this whole community that Whalom is no longer. Many local high school and college kids worked here regularly during summer vacation - It still shows presently how many young people seek summer employment in the area with very little success.
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Julie Sweeney (St. Laurent): Games - 1996
I worked at Whalom for a short time in the summer of 96. I worked at the game booth where you try to knock down the cans (can can?), also at the one where you throw the baseballs. Most of the time though, I worked inside the skeeball arcade....air conditioning...AAHHHHH! I know it wasn't that long ago, but it seems likes ages ago for me! I didn't work there very long because I lost my grandmother that summer, but it was quite the experience being a part of Whalom history even for a short time!
Our Memories of working at Whalom Park
Paul L'Ecuyer: Entertainment - 1980-1989
I was first hired as the park 'Caricaturist' at Whalom by the General Manager at the time, the late Wilfred Fregeau. It was during the summer of 1979. I set up shop outside the park office with a small table, two chairs and a cash box - as well as my art materials. I would sit for about two or three hours at a time just drawing folks portraits as caricatures. I cannot recall how much I charged per portrait, but I do remember that Whalom charged me 50%, which I supposed was fair enough. I was getting some great experience with the public, and really enjoyed making some pretty good money to draw! As an art school student at New England School of Art in Boston, what could be a better summer job?
Phil Babeau: Rides 1961-1962
I worked two seasons 1961 & 62 during high school. Made many friends.. Met a few playhouse stars- memorably Martha Raye. And the cast of west side story.
Brian McEleney: Artist 1970's
I worked as a sign painter/mural painter/ride upholsterer and repainter in the 70's. My workshop was a narrow space that ran the length of the building behind the Pirate's Den. It was a great experience. I enjoyed freedom of creativity and I considered it a "stepping stone" into the sign business. On my website, www.vitalsignsnow.com, I've included a picture of me painting a mural at the Flivver ride.
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John Spadafore: Concession Stands - 1974-1975
I worked in the concession stands,lake front, mid-way and outing pit. I worked the 1974 and 1975 season. My dad, mother and sisters worked on weekends for Mr and Mrs Harlowe. My mother and father were in charge of the team and we had a great time. The Harlowes were the nices people and treated all us young workers like their own. I miss those times and the fun we had working together. Whalom Park was so much part of our lives that it is sad to think it has been taken from the future genrations to enjoy, they surely missed a lot !!!! Here's to you mom and dad along with Mr and Mrs Harlowe, I am sure if there is an amusment park in heaven, they are working the food courts!!!!!
Anonymous: Games - 1973-1977
I worked at Whalom Park during the summers from 1973 to 1977 when I was a Junior in high school until I graduated from Nursing school. I originally worked at the "Bear Toss game until it blew away during a damaging windstorm during our dinner break, then I moved to the front of the park to the "Ball Toss' game. Mr. Will Fregeau was our boss at that time. I met my first TRUE Love here, working on the Roller-Coaster.
Dan Thibodeau: Rides 1976-1980
Went here all the time when I was a kid growing up,and saw the park go through its growing stages. I worked here during high school. Made alot of friends. The best couple of rides I worked were the Pirates Den, The Whip and the Rockets. Some of the best years and times of my life. Enjoyed working there very much. I was really sad to see the place close up. But memories last a life time and working at Whalom were some of the best ever.
Michelle Cote: Tickets - 1995
I worked at the park in 1995 (or 1996...it's all a blur). I worked both in the ticket booth and making season passes. It was one of my favorite summer jobs I had.