Monday, January 26, 2009

Growing up with metal swingsets and yard darts

I went to the Performing Arts Center the other night and saw the funniest show. It was called the Wonder Bread Years with Pat Hazel. I wanted to add the youtube vid on this but I'm unable to embed it. The url is

If you get the chance to see this one man show down memory lane, please go. It was so funny, especially if you were born in the 50's-60's. He talked about how the wonder of life changes as you grow up. About family vacations to see things like 4 corners and the Corn Palace. Riding in the back of the station wagon and not in the seats.

I think about the things we did that my kids don't. We had metal swing sets (and the scars on our foreheads to prove it), my kids had this wooden structure with plastic coated chains and wood shaving to catch their fall. They wear helmets while biking and skating, we use to ride no hands down from Phinney Ave to 8th Ave, shooting thru intersections with just a glance to see if there was a car, sans helmets. We woke up every morning with school or play, that was our day. Now kids have more activities and have to keep a date book to know where they go next. My mother didn't drive, if we wanted to go somewhere we walked, rode our bikes, or took the bus. Now we drive them everywhere for their safety. Speaking of safety, they throw nerf balls, we shot bb's and threw yard darts.

Remember Yard Darts? Those lethal projectiles with a 4 inch long point at the end. You had a hoop on the ground that you lobed these at. Your friend would stand by the hoop and yell about your aim never thinking that they could take one in the eye at any moment.

My dad built us monkey bars. He took old pipes and made this maze of bars that we climbed, swing from, built forts with blankets with. We have for our kids that wooden swing set with a club house with moulded plastic walls and a plastic slide. No amount of waxed paper will get that slide as slick as the old metal ones. We could make the metal ones so slippery you would go shooting off at rocket speeds. And remember burning the backs of your legs when it was so hot?

During the summer, we constructed our own slip and slides with a plastic sheet and the hose. We would leave after breakfast, mom would call out the back door for us to come home for lunch and dinner. We would stay out until the street lights came on, but sometimes we could stay out late for a night game of hide and seek with a whole gang of kids from the neighborhood.

It was a different era. Damn, I sound like an old fart...yeah, yeah, I am!


  1. And remember the tether ball? Man that hurt if you got slammed in the face! And we climbed the cherry tree as high as we could go...

  2. I remember waxing down my metal slide.

    I don't make my kids wear a bike helmet, but I can't bring myself to let the roam the neighborhood. Why is that? Ugh.

  3. This is OT but, LOVE the new look!!!