As a kid in the early 70’s I loved scary movies..Horror Of Party Beach on Creature Feature? I was six and loved it! So you’d think I wouldn’t scare easy. Not so.. Behind our quaint neighborhood King’s Market in Burlingame, California stood an ominous structure: The Ice Machine!
This isn’t the little box you pull out a bag of ice cubes, this was a huge structure that could fit ten standing adults. It worked like a regular vending machine, you put quarters in a slot and out comes a big block of ice. People needed ice for their highballs back then. And refrigerators were still pretty basic back in the 70’s. Anyway, why did this thing scare me so much?
It was the bumping noises inside; when you’re a kid you associate bumping with life, so, “My god something is alive in there making ice!” my young mind concluded. I’d be fine as long as I steer clear of it. Then one early evening my mom stopped by King’s to get some staples or what not and we parked relatively close to that scary behemoth. My eye’s widened. The front of the Ice Machine’s front was open!
Now you’d think this would dispel any fears I would have of this creepy structure; I would be able to see its inner-workings. It just made it worse. Thick frost was billowing out and through it I could barely see the man-thing who toiled day and night to make ice. He was scraping the ice off the floor or some kind of maintenance. I was in Mommy’s Cadillac, so I felt pretty safe. Nevertheless my mind mind was made up, that Ice Machine was to be avoided at all cost!
It’s always fascinating to hear about basically innocuous things that can accidentally terrify kids…I had several of my own…
The thing that this really made me think of was a playground that I used to go to as a very small kid…It must have been the first place I ever went that was near a train track, because I remember occasionally hearing a train rumbling by in the distance and it scaring the bejeezus out of me. I’m sure my parents must have explained to me what it was, because I think I was aware that it was a train (and not a monster or something) but it still freaked me out. I vividly remember once starting to hear the rumble of a train approaching and going fetal to wait it out while in the tower-head of one of these robot slide things: http://www.jabberwockygraphix.com/robotimage/Brad-RobotSlide.jpg