Voted the World’s Best Seaside Park

Growing Up at the Boardwalk, 1950

My parents, Pep and Hope Mealiffe, fulfilled their long time dream by moving to Santa Cruz in 1947 when I was 2 years old. They purchased the Dolphin Court on Riverside Avenue just a block up from the Merry-Go-Round. My father ran the motel in the summer and year round wrote the gag lines for Dennis the Menace and Gordo and epigrams for Post magazine. My mother was a teacher at Branciforte and Gault elementary schools for many years.

In the summer we spent all of our time swimming and laying on the pontoons, which were placed in the water off of the Main Beach. (I swear the water was warmer then.) In the winter we practically lived at the Boardwalk Plunge, diving, swimming and sitting under the fountains pretending that we were in the jungle hiding behind a waterfall.

We loved the Fun House with the clown face entrance. For a small fee we could spend most of the day sliding down the slide, trying to keep our balance while walking through the turning tunnel and trying to stay on the large disk that we would pile onto only to get spun off and thrown up against a padded wall. The mirrors made you different sizes and had blowholes in front that would startle people. They were controlled by one of the boys that worked there. I always wanted that job.

I can’t even express how fortunate I feel to have been brought up in such an amazing place. It was a child’s paradise!

Jan (Mealiffe) Chaboude

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