Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bad postcard of the week: Perilous playgrounds of the past

Playgrounds today are for the soft!

Kids back in my day had to be tough. Going to the playground involved danger and risk.
I’m reminded of my perilous youth by this week’s bad postcard.

The back reads: “Arrowhead Campsites, HWY 90 East, Marianna, Florida, Children’s play area, 250 wooded campsites, camper’s store, lounge, laundry, pool and gamerooms on a spring-fed, seven mile lake.”

I’m assuming that this is the children’s play area, notable for the lack of children playing in our photo. I see three of those arch monkey bars, which were always the most worthless of all things on the playground. I even see a rare pentagon-shaped bar, which seem even more worthless than the arches.

Seriously, what were you supposed to do on those things? Climb on top and then what? And why would any playground need four of them?

The real action seems to be at the back of the card, by the swings. We had those at Brady Park in Massapequa Park. The swing support is shaped like a person, and ours had an Indian head, which probably would happen today.

Marjorie Post Park, where I later worked for three summers as a seasonal, had perhaps the most dangerous with three-level structures shaped like rockets with a metal slide on the second level that was hot enough on a sunny day to fry eggs. 

The really bold kids would climb all the way into the nose cone, with less-strong kids falling to the metal floor, still two levels above where any adult could climb and console.

The park also had those spinning things that kids would spin so hard any that any occupant would either lose grip and go flying on to the sand – or asphalt – or hurl their PPJ and Cheetos, which project in a circle.

All of these, of course, were like our campsite arches, all hard metal bars. Our schools had the same stuff. It’s amazing that we didn’t return from recess covered in burns, bruises and broken limbs.

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