AURORA, Ohio - It was just a small note in the newspaper: an 85-year-old volunteer woman, very active in her community, had hobbies including riding roller coasters. That little newspaper item would turn out to be my favorite story in 31 years as a videographer here at WEWS.
It was Aug. 1996, a few phone calls later and Joe Pagonakis, along with yours truly, were on our way to pick up Esther Saginor in South Euclid for an evening of roller coaster rides at Geauga Lake.
The story was to run in our 11 p.m. newscast and the public relations staff at Geauga Lake cleared the way for us to make this magic happen.
Logistically, it was a tall order: pick up Esther in South Euclid at 6:30 p.m., drive 45 minutes to the park, shoot the story, drive 45 minutes back to South Euclid, drive back to the station, edit the story. No problem.
You’ll see the story in our video player is all Esther. Joe did not use any voiceover. He asks one question on camera, “Is it good every time you do it?”
Joe and Esther did two rides on the Double Loop and two rides on the Big Dipper.
Two rides on each coaster were to make sure I got the shots and to ensure the wireless microphone Esther wore had two usable takes as wireless technology is prone to drop out at the most inopportune moments.
Joe seems more scared of the coasters than Esther and the closing shot of the Big Dipper picture bears that out.
Esther was a joy to be with and if you’re looking for any evidence that riding roller coasters keeps you young, Esther turned 101 years old last December.
In an email, her daughter June Kiner told me Esther lives independently, plays cards in different community centers during the week, and is on a few community boards.