By Paula @ Holiday World

Using this blog for little slice-of-life stories has been fun over the years.

Here’s a memory from 2002 I’d like to share. It involves Mrs. Koch and a very special coaster enthusiast.

Matthew Sullivan’s name may not be immediately recognized among coaster enthusiasts, because everyone called him Mamoosh.

Or simply Moosh.

I got up the nerve to ask him once where that silly name came from, hoping the explanation wasn’t too blue. Indeed, it was darling, just like Moosh. A young nephew had trouble pronouncing Matthew, and instead managed "Mamoosh."

It stuck.

Moosh was iconic in coaster-enthusiast circles. And it wasn’t because of how many coasters he’d ridden (although the number was quite high) or how many parks he’d visited (ditto). Moosh was special because he was so incredibly friendly and fun.

Matthew loved nothing more than to introduce friends who hadn’t yet met. He was a modern-day Coaster Yenta.

Moosh always worked the room, er, park during our enthusiast events … just having fun. Yes, he rode the coasters (and famously coined the term "Mooshed" for when a lateral force on a ride (most notably on The Legend) caused him to lean on (and squoosh) any ride partner lucky enough to be along for the fun.

Back in 2002, Mrs. Koch was finishing up her Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry. During a meeting over the winter months she joked about never getting to go to a prom, no matter how many times she graduated.

An idea was born.

A quick phone call to Los Angeles later and Mamoosh got to work, quietly contacting enthusiasts who were planning to attend our Stark Raven Mad event to let them in on the secret. All told, during the event, Graduate Koch was showered with hundreds of graduation cards and countless hugs and good wishes. It was wonderful.

That evening at dinner, we even had a little dance (as all good proms do). There was a last-minute surprise guest that year — professional wrestler Mick Foley (aka Mankind, Dude Love and several other monikers) visited with two Wish Upon A Star children.

When the music started, Mick asked Mrs. Koch to dance. (She loves to dance, by the way.)

After a minute or so, I caught Mamoosh’s attention across the room and mouthed encouragingly, "Cut in!"

Moosh’s brown eyes widened and he shook his head slowly, sizing up the immensity of the legendary wrestler.

"No way!" he mouthed back.

Apparently, though, I was a bit more intimidating than the Hardcore Champion. It took three more "Get up there and cut in!" mouthings on my part and Moosh slowly stepped forward and tapped Mick lightly on the shoulder.

Of course, Mick was a gentleman and Moosh got his dance.

Pat Koch and Matthew "Mamoosh" Sullivan

Mrs. Koch was delighted.

This memory is especially sweet in that the angels took Moosh to heaven today.

Rest in peace, good and kind friend. Heaven just got a little bit more fun.

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