What Would You Do with a Life Without Disease?
For William "Bill" Brown the answer is clear: Make the world go round.
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In his 46 years operating the Balboa Park Carousel, William “Bill” Brown has only missed two weeks of work. Just like Bill has become part of the community’s fabric, the carousel has become a dependable constant in his own life. It helped him through difficult periods when he was caring for his sick parents.
“It was good to have this constant during a time of change,” says Bill.
Bill used to ride the carousel when he was a child. He would hang around and eventually summoned the nerve to ask the owner, Virginia Long, who was working at the ticket counter about the minimum age required to work at the carousel: 16 years old. That was in 1972. He's been there ever since.
Bill moved through his apprenticeship and eventually became the head operator, a job that requires a varied skillset. "You have to be good with machines, and good with people," he says.
Above all the joyous raucous of the carousel, there are still "magic moments" that makes time stand still for Bill - the moment is when, for the first time, a small child climbs up onto a carousel animal and begins to feel it move, an expression of wonder lifts to their face, realizing that the fun has just begun.
"I strongly believe that your mental health affects your physical health," says Bill. "Sharing a good time with customers keeps me in a good mood." He believes that the happiness of working at the carousel, seeing kids having fun and joyful parents watching their children, has kept him healthy. How long will he continue with the carousel? "It would be kinda cool to go to 50 years," he admits. "It's my secret goal, and there you have it!"