Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Fun in Avon Park

I grew up in a neighborhood bordering what is now the Rochester Municipal Park, known in those days as Avon Park. The park was both our playground and our family picnic area. Today, the playground is located in the same general area as it was when I was a kid in the 1960s, but it looks a bit different now. We didn't have engineered "playscapes," but we did have the monkey bars, jungle gym, teeter-totter, merry-go-round and the ever-popular swing set and slide. No environmentally friendly, non toxic, low-impact structures, these; most were constructed out of iron or galvanized pipe. They didn't have a foot of rubber mulch beneath them to cushion our falls, either. We landed on the concrete-like ground - beaten hard by thousands of kids' feet over the years - got up, brushed off our skinned knees and got on with the game. The seats on the swing set were rubber, and after few hours of heating up under the summer sun, they reached a temperature that could peel the skin from the backs of our legs. Likewise the slide, which was constructed of shiny sheet metal - not plastic - was hot enough to scorch our backsides.

We learned some of life's little lessons on that playground in Avon Park. The teeter-totter was a terrible danger; more than one kid took a smack from that 2x10 piece of lumber when bailing off the end of the board. The sympathy that we got from our parents ran something along the lines of "well, you've learned not to do that again, haven't you?" I suppose they figured that we were learning a lesson in physics - the use of the fulcrum, or maybe that every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. Anyway, kids had to be tough to hang out on the playground. It's a wonder we survived without helmets, knee-pads, elbow-pads and direct adult supervision!

1 comment:

  1. We learned early to recycle on the walks home from Avon Park, collecting pop bottles to turn in for pennies at the ice cream stand just across the railroad tracks, then turning in those pennies for kiddiecones!