Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Giant Stride ...

Marlene Terry

For our most recent anniversary I and my hubby decided to get back to our roots.
It's been years since we revisited the place where we first met. 
Then he was a cute college boy. And I, who had lived in the same place my entire life, was still at South Cache High.

I have to admit I was a little surprised to find my school, Wilson Elementary, still standing. But because it has been added on over and over again throughout the decades, it hardly resembled the red brick structure of my memories.

During those years I could hardly wait for the school year to begin. 

... The best part of Wilson? The playground.
When recess came it offered swings we could bail out of (getting up as high as possible and then on the count of three, you and the friend you were swinging with, would jump out).
The only object of the game was to propel yourself farther away from the swing than your friend. ... If you did, you were the winner and the feeling was wonderful. ... Don't know why.

There was also a Jungle Gym, an apparatus that was much like the Monkey Bars of more recent times.
I always thought the correct spelling was "Jungle Jim," because of the actor Johnny Weissmuller who  played that character in the movies and later on TV. ... And no. I never did get a handle of spinning around up high and on one of those bars with just one knee. Shari Redling did and was the envy of the school.

My most favorite place to be during recess however, was on the Giant Stride. 
By the time I came along that particular playground toy had been in use for years. The rule at Wilson was, kids from kindergarten to second grade age, weren't allowed. So it was always a scramble for the older bunch to see who could get there first and secure one of those trapeze-like bars. There were eight on our Giant Stride.

It was very, very difficult to wait your turn if you had to, and even more difficult to give up your spot so someone else could enjoy first of all, running as fast as possible around the center pole in unison with the other striders, while lifting your feet now and then to glide carefree as you hung on. 
... And if you were "stride" savvy, you could pull back at just the right time and for a few seconds, the momentum would fling you out high and above everyone else. ... I can still remember the feeling of the wind blowing in my face as I soared.

Call me old-fashioned but I think it's a little sad that none of that equipment or those actions exist today at Wilson Elementary or for the most part any other school across the country. ... Just too unsafe for the kids, it was determined.

... And even though I really never want our children to be hurt or compromised in any way, I think there are times when we just need to relax a little and allow some of life's experiences to happen. ... The fun kind, that for sure will result in a bruise or two, but will be remembered happily, forever!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at