As a collector of old postcards, I often wonder about the story behind a postcard. Usually these stories are lost to time, but last weekend the above postcard shared some of its stories.
It was back in 1964 when this postcard was sold in the gift shop at the Aquarama, a mermaid attraction in the middle of Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks. No telling where the card ended up for the next 40 years, but I found it along with the three other cards in the set at an antique store several years ago. This was my intro to the Aquarama. I've always had an interest in the amusements and attractions from my home town and this mermaid show seemed to be the most unique. I found out that my mom saw the show back in the early 70s and have met a few other people who vaguely remembered it. For the most part it seemed this tourist attraction was lost to time and so I added the cards to my collection and moved on. Unbeknownst to me and in the state of Oregon, a couple who had never been to the Lake of the Ozarks before was researching the Aquarama. Why? Because in an antique store they found an old brochure advertising the Aquarama. Jeff and Kelly better known as Mr. and Mrs. Vintage Roadside decided that this mermaid attraction would be a fab choice to add to their roadside T-shirt line. Like all of their tees, they research the attraction that the design is based after. Fortunately they were a lot more ambitious researching their piece of ephemera than I was. In six years they pieced together the definitive story of the Aquamaids and Aqualads of mid-Missouri.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Aquarama building and the perfect year for a reunion. It was a natural and fitting end of the tunnel for Vintage Roadside who had become close friends with many of the Aquarama alumni. The reunion took place last weekend and many of the Aquamaids and Aqualads came swimming back home for two days of reminiscing and reconnecting.
It really was a joyous occasion that the first lady of Neato Coolville and myself were very thankful to be a part of. (Thanks a bunch Jeff & Kelly!) Friday night was the dinner at the always excellent City Grill restaurant. It turned out to be the perfect ice breaker for people that hadn't seen one another in 40+ years and for the few of us that were never part of the show. Originally the second day was going to be a picnic at the local park. The unpredictable Ozark weather forced us inside and the reunion moved to Tan-Tar-A. This premier resort was in its infancy back when the Aquarama was starting out in 1964, so it was an appropriate venue for day two. Jeff and Kelly set up an amazing array of Aquarama costumes, photos, and films to look at. To help set the mood, the original audio from the show was played as background music. The cool kids from Vintage Roadside also printed up these slick scrapbooks filled with photos and vintage advertising through the life of the show.
Everyone had fun fluttering around the room signing the scrapbooks like it was the last day of school.
Remember that postcard at the top of this blog post? Now when I look at that card, I'll always be able to put the voices and stories behind the smiling faces of those Aquamaids. Wow! That really is neato cool!!
Visit LakeNewsOnline.com for an article about the reunion and click here for a slide show from the reunion.
Follow the links below to read Vintage Roadside's Aquarama interviews -