Ode to a Playground
A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.
We lived at 515 West 15th Street in Minneapolis, in an apartment building for couples and families that was operated by Northwester Bible College where my dad was going to school. Kitty-corner across the street was “The Park,” otherwise known as Loring Park.
This picture was taken in the ’50’s, when we lived across the street.
We all played there. The playground offered the usual array of swings, moneky bars, merry-go-round, slides, and so on. That’s where we tended to stay, because we had been strongly warned to stay away from the shady, leafy area of the park when old men sat at picnic tables or on benches and spent their days in the summer.
“Don’t go there alone, ever! Stay away! It isn’t safe!” And I believed the warnings, because my parents always knew what was what.
So we kids avoided that corner, and perhaps deprived some innocent old guys of the fun of having little kids around. I don’t know if there really was any danger. I suspect not.
One area of the park was my favorite. There was a swimming pool, not deep, just right for younger kids. You could splash and play all day during the summer, and it was a magical place for me. My mom was very afraid of water, so we weren’t allowed to go into the pool unless an adult was with us. I yearned for those few rare ocassions. But I could still sit nearby and watch, and sometimes get splashed with cool water that refreshed my sweaty face on a hot summer day.
I remember big old trees that beckoned us onto the pathways of the park. Lots of grass. Benches sprinkled all around so a person could sit and enjoy the shade. I think we played hide and seek there, but I could be wrong about that. Memory fades. I was only 5 and 6 while we lived there, so I could be confusing some of it.
There was a good-sized group of us kids who spent the summers playing on our own block or running across the street to play in the park. It was an important part of those two years that we lived in the apartment house. I am sad to think of it being closed.
(This is not the building we lived in, but it’s the closes style type I could find. Ours wasn’t this big, and I remember iron railing that went up the stairs. Don’t even know if the building still exists.)