Nanna Banana holding daddy's hand

Nanna Banana holding daddy's hand
Nanna Banana holding daddy's hand

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Times have changed: The park

I was sitting here with my scatter-brained thoughts and was thinking about how different things are now. Not just with the girls, but in my life as a whole.
I remember riding in the pick-up truck with my mom and dad. I sat in the middle. No seat belt, but Mom's arm to hold me back in case of an emergency. She was quick. I am not sure that any air-bag would have been any better at saving my life. As we would drive, there was nothing but farm land and desert from about 5600 west, clear to Copperton. It seemed to take forever to get there, but Copperton park seemed huge and had an amazing metal slide.
We slid on the burning hot slides in the summer. We didn't care, it was fun! the best part about those very dangerous slides were that they were so high, that you would literally shoot off the bottom of them. They were dangerous because pretty much all the consisted of was a ladder and a piece of angled metal. there was no rails to hang on to, no connecting equipment either. Just a ladder and a slide.
I was (am) terrified of heights, so it always took me nearly until it was time to go home before I started enjoying the slide.
The parks usually had a swing or two with metal chains and a wooden seat. Of course you would get your fingers pinched and a sliver or two when you would swing, but generally, the swings were much higher then than they are now.  If you were REALLY lucky and got to go to Murray park, they had not only a huge metal slide, but also a swingset where the swings were horses. These were awesome! Me, being a wanna-be cowboy as a child would swing on these for hours pretending I was a cowboy out in the west, riding my horse and twirling my 6-shooter on my finger.
Sometimes there was a teeter-totter (or see-saw). They were usually just a plank of wood with a notch cut out where the seat really was. They often had a "t" made out of pipe as the handles. There was no spring. One of the best things about them was to jump high (or just jump off)  and make the other person hit hard when they come down.
Another great toy at the park was the round about. This was one of my favorite playground toys since spinning was always a favorite of mine. This was a large round platform that had bars on it that you could either sit between, or stand and hang on. the bigger kids would run it in circles until it was spinning really fast. Then they would jump off and the little kids would often go flying. This is probably why they don't have round-abouts anymore.
On the ground, usually the playground sat on what USED to be grass, but with the traffic of all the children, it was mostly packed down dirt. Yeah, we got hurt, skinned knees, bruised elbows, and bumped heads, but we survived.
We used to stomp in the mud puddles and not worry about giardia or any of the other illnesses associated with dirty water. We would catch little frogs or tadpoles. We didn't worry about salmonella. we didn't get sick from it, and no one we knew did either. the worse fate was usually with the poor amphibians we caught who rarely made it home.
When we picnicked at the park, we took food from home. It was usually either peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chips (with koolaide if you were really lucky) Or it was leftover fried chicken that was served cold. We ate, and when we were done, we could play. we knew that was how it was, and we didn't question it at all. Eat first, then play.
When it was cold, our parents had us wear jackets, or in my case, a little white button down sweater. Usually it was made by my grandmother and had buttons that were made out of little wooden rings. We didn't question it, we knew when it was cold, we put on something warmer.
Parents used to let us wander too. we were allowed to wander down to the duck pond at liberty park. And actually, we were pretty safe. Our parents trusted us, and other parents would look out for the kids, whether they were theirs or not.

When it was time to go home we were usually called by the "holler". When mom hollered, you knew you had better hurry!

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