Story by: Alma Wallace Fenter
Based on a photo by Paula Walls, Sweet Memories Photography
Let yourself go back to that special playground of your childhood, remember your favorites…
Swing sighed. Another day just like all the others, dreary and sad. He lamented, “It seems like I’ve hung here, in this very spot, for so many seasons. So many in fact…well…they’ve all run together.”
Swing often discussed things with himself these days; there just wasn’t anyone else. Sometimes he wondered if he was just a crazy old piece of playground equipment. He knew he had to change his outlook on life. There were rays of sunshine coming through the trees, and one of those rays touched his old board, warming him just a little.
Dreaming of happier times, he gently swung sideways on his frayed rope. It felt good to move freely again. It seemed like ages since the breeze had touched him and moved him. “Am I imagining things?” He said, his mood brightening. “Or is there…something…it feels like a new, lighter breeze blowing.” He suddenly began to feel more excitement. “Is there more sunshine in the clearing?” It seemed so.
He swung even harder, thinking. There had been other days he had thought this, too, but he had been disappointed. He concentrated really hard, listening intently, turning round and round with watchful, hopeful eyes. He sighed, “No, probably not. It’s just my wishful thinking again.” He tried to stop himself from swinging, before he actually hit the tree, but there was nothing to hold on to. Not only could he not make himself stop, he felt himself twirling faster.
“Wait!” he said, gleefully, “I know the breeze is stronger! I’m actually about to bump into the tree trunk, and the leaves are rustling and falling to the ground faster than normal.” Looking up through the branches of the tree, he could see the blue sky beyond, a few clouds drifting gently by.
Swing hated being on the edge of the Wood all alone. At one time, many seasons ago, he wasn’t in the Wood at all. He had been in a Park. But now the grass had grown wild, unattended, the trees thicker, until his beautiful home had become a Wood. Children no longer came to play with him. He was lonely now.
He thought about See-saw and Merry-go-round, though he couldn’t see them through the brush. “Did they feel the same excitement just now?” he wondered.
“Wait!” He listened closely, holding his breath. “There, far off, I think I heard… voices?” Maybe he was only hearing echoes from long ago. “Oh, I’m so addled,” he said. “I know it’s probably all in my head.”
Everyone had stopped coming a long time ago, but Swing often reminisced about the good ole days, the days when everyone would come out for a picnic, or to play baseball on the fresh mown grass. They were all — the kids, the parents — so much a part the yesterdays, the memories. He smiled at the memory. Sometimes the whole town would come out for a special celebration. Swing remembered how they would play on Merry-go-round, Slide, “…and, of course, on Me, their favorite!” he added, gleefully.
Those days brought so much warmth to the Park. “And to this old Swing,” he mumbled.
Again, he paused in his reverie. “Wait! Yes! I’m sure I hear the sounds of running footsteps. And voices! Young voices!” He laughed, “I’m not dreaming after all!”
Swing wondered which of the kids would be first around the tree line. Then he thought, “Of course, there might be new little ones coming to play.” The voices were getting closer now, and he could feel the branches and tall grass swaying. The Wood seemed to be awakening to a new adventure. What an exciting time!
He paused, listening, struggling to remember. Then he smiled broadly. “I remember those voices. Why, it’s Bobby and his brother, Jerry.” He could hear them clearly as they came closer, their jeans swishing in the tall grass.
“Come on Bobby,” Jerry said, “Hurry! Let’s see if he’s still here.”
If Swing remembered correctly, Jerry was the younger of the two brothers, and would probably remember the Park, and Swing, most fondly.
Swing caught a glimpse of the younger boy running through the tall grass, Bobby trotting slowly along behind him. As they got closer, Swing began to grow impatient. He called out in anticipation, “Hey, Jerry, over here. Please hurry, I have so much to talk about.”
Swing heard Bobby say skeptically, as most fifteen-year old’s would, “Jerry, slow down, it’s been too long, and you know most anything could have happened.”
…Thanks for reading. Tune in next week for more of Swing’s playground adventures…
We all have memories of those wonderful old childhood playgrounds. Share a memory or two with the rest of us in the comments below.