Oh yes, and perhaps a playground or two that wasn't an episode of Wipeout waiting to happen.
Seriously, folks. How are any of us who grew up swinging from the monkey bars of the 80s even alive?
While at my parents' house, I took the little boy for a stroll down memory lane to the playground from my childhood.
Taking photos of him in the swing, I noticed wood chips underneath his little feet. "They've mulched over the gravel or concrete that used to be here," I thought to myself followed by, "why were the swings over gravel or concrete? That doesn't seem safe."
When I came up for air from the "baby on swing" photo session:
I noticed a wide open expanse of empty playground where slides and a jungle gym used to reside. Looking at it 28 years ago, I'd seen only fun. Now the one manning the stroller, my mind's eye saw a take-no-prisoners obstacle course of hot metal and three-story falls. Had my parents been absolutely insane to let us romp around on what was once there?
Let's start with the old metal monkey bars, a metal igloo-shaped apparatus that I used to scale up and hang from. This was the safest use of these bars. Many more adventurous kids climbed the inside and clung to the top like Peter Parker post-bite. I am certain I watched more than one classmate crash down to the compact dirt below. Not even mulch chips could soften those blows.
Since the equipment has been ripped down by zealous PTA moms, I can't provide pictures. Instead, I've sketched the apparati out as I recall and am sharing my sixth or seventh attempt at each one. Were I writing an Individual Development Plan this year, I'd include "Drawing" under my "Area(s) of Opportunity."
I've digressed. I give you The Monkey Bars.
"What is the saucer?" you ask because you don't recall one from your own childhood. Let me tell and show.
The saucer was comprised of two ladders, one on the right and one on the left, each leading up to half of a giant dome or "saucer."
The children who climbed the caved in side were good to go. They could have grand old safe time as long as they avoided the hole where the ladder came up.
The children on the other side were not so lucky. They clung to the side for their dear little lives and either scrambled back up to the top to grab the ladder or closed their eyes and jumped down. This is, of course, if the brown lead paint covering the saucer wasn't heated up to 114 degrees under the treeless sky.
I would, however, love to import this old playground into today and watch my reaction as my son approached the saucer. Who's talking about character now? Not me, I'm on the phone to the city planne rdemanding they rip that deathtrap down. What? They're busy. Then that's me in the Home Depot rental bulldozer.