When Mr. Tiny was young, I was quite the water baby. Joyfully swimming at every opportunity, the deep end of any pool still seemed menacing and probably would have remained so if my mother hadn't believed in the full-immersion approach to shallow-end aversion therapy. One sunny, summer day in my fourth year, my mom carried me down the street to our well-populated community pool and, filled with the strength that it would take to remove a wailing, flailing, crying child that is trying his darnedest to claw his way to the top of her head, she heaved me into the deep end and told me that I would have to swim to the edge. Needless to to say, I did make it to the edge but I never swam again... Okay, only the first part of the story is true; I actually continued to swim and became a contender in backstroke and freestyle - thanks, Mom. Not only did I overcome my fear of water more than three-and-a-half feet deep, I also learned to love the diving opportunities that only the deep end could afford. Who knew that the desert of Mesa, AZ would offer the most exciting diving I've ever seen?
|Starlite Motel - Mesa, AZ|
If there was a star attraction of our recent Arizona adventure, it would have to be the Starlite Motel. We didn't even end up staying at this 1960 roadside landmark, but the wacky tacky impact of Starlite's beautiful sign was still paramount to us and the residents of Mesa. The marquee, extending a welcome to visitors and the availability of a jacuzzi room, was pretty nice and definitely worthy of inclusion in our previous post about Main Street's amazing signs, but the sign for which the Starlite Motel is most praiseworthy is its famous diving girl.
The diving girl is the story of a comeback kid; nearly obliterated by a powerful windstorm in 2010, the sign was blown down and left to the elements when the funds to restore her could not be raised. The gods of wacky tacky were smiling on her when community leaders and Americana enthusiasts rallied to raise the $120,000 that was necessary for her rehabilitation. This year, just a few short days before our visit, the reinforced sign's restoration (using the original plans) was complete and we were able to visit the surprisingly-fit, 53-year-old, 78-foot-tall diving phenomenon.
|Awe struck by the majesty of it all.|
Ostensibly, the sign was erected to advertise the motel's sparkling pool.
Ironically, the sign has been restored, but the pool is long gone.
As per usual, we found the sign in the glaring light of the noonday sun. However beautiful she was, it was the least optimal hour to view the animated neon sign. Although time was short and the Starlite's Mesa address was quite a distance from our hotel and any of our mandatory itinerary items, I vowed to return after dark to witness the diving lady in all of her neon glory.
Not just a dive, but a jackknife!
I have a strong bias towards animated neon; nevertheless, I give her a perfect 10!
It is a loosely-guarded secret that a dream of mine (one of many) is to own an historic motel and restore it with an awesome pool, a delicious coffee shop/diner, and a venue for hosting special events. Having been bit by the same bug as Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn, it sounds like I would be treading in some pretty deep and treacherous water. I guess I won't know until I dive in. Speaking of diving, here is the Starlite Motel sign in action; I somehow managed to add sound effects and music to the video (far beyond my normal skill level) but, believe it or not, it wouldn't upload onto YouTube with them! I guess once you're flagged, you're flogged!
Thus, in the beautiful hum and glow of neon, we end our Phoenix adventures; we always like to go out with a SPLASH!!!
2710 E Main St
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