- Val Lauder: The first time I went to the circus was in the 1930s
- The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show was so important that FDR exempted it from train travel restrictions during WWII
Val Lauder, a former reporter for the Chicago Daily News and lecturer at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is the author of "The Back Page: The Personal Face of History." The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.
(CNN)I spent my childhood summers with my maternal grandparents, who had a cottage on one of the lakes outside Ann Arbor, Michigan and a home in town on Packard Street. At the lake, it was lazy summer days. Daily swims, Grandma Mann watching over me. Weekends, Grandpa Mann took me to get rainbow ice cream cones. Mondays, sometimes we went back to town with Grandpa Mann, but always the week the circus came to town.