Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On her 85th birthday, woman relives her first date at Glen Echo Park

E-mail this article \ Print this article

Nick Kirkpatrick⁄Special to The Gazette
Frances Broadhurst celebrates her 85th birthday June 26 by riding the Glen Echo Carousel. Broadhurst and her husband Alfred rode the carousel on their first date in 1940.
For her 85th birthday on June 26, Frances Broadhurst of North Potomac decided to relive her first date with her husband, Alfred.

Broadhurst returned to Glen Echo Park to ride the historic Dentzel Carousel, just as she had in August 1940.

‘‘Back then they had the Tunnel of Love and the Funhouse and all these wonderful things and the carousel and we had a wonderful time and it was a wonderful place to be,” she said.

Broadhurst was married in 1942 when she was 17 years old, a year after graduating from Damascus High School. Broadhurst and her husband, who grew up in Bethesda, have lived in the area their whole lives and have frequented Glen Echo Park through its transformation from an amusement park until the late 1960s to a thriving center of arts and culture.

‘‘It’s different today because there are less amusement type things and more for children,” she said. ‘‘It’s not the same attraction for older people, but I like the changes and I think they suit the times.”

Glen Echo’s carousel remains one of Broadhurst’s favorite places, she said while humming along with the organ music.

‘‘I could sit here all day and listen to the music,” she said. ‘‘There’s nothing like carousel music. I have a LP record I bought from the gift shop and I play it all the time when I’m doing my housework really loud. It seems like the music these days isn’t very appropriate for the older generation. This is just so peppy and nice.”

Broadhurst said she is thankful that she and her husband are able to remain active at 85 and 87 years old.

‘‘I’m just so glad and so grateful that I’m able to do things like this and we’re together and things are just fine,” she said.

Broadhurst has five children, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

‘‘My children thought I was a little weird, but that’s okay,” she said. ‘‘I told them if I can just get up on the horse, I’ll be fine.”