There was this big red jungle gym at Woodside Park shaped like a boat, and I spent many a summer evening climbing all over it. I loved that thing, as I did the train, the bouncy duck thing, the stone pavilion. (That served as my play-house, which I would emerge from each play-morning to go to play-work on the boat.)
But progress is as cruel as it is relentless, and much as I saw the apartment building of my youth given over to sushi-clad women, I would be pained to see Woodside Park shed its old skin as well. The boat, so to say, hit an iceberg and sunk. Shame I never bothered to take a real photo of it.
I think I just saw my childhood carted away.
That's not to say, of course, that the play equipment at Woodside Park looks a lot more ragged than it did fifteen years ago, and that people aren't dropping three grand a month on an apartment here to send their kids to play on a plywood-covered jungle gym.
And I figure kids probably don't even like boats anymore (Pirates of the Caribbean notwithstanding), because there aren't any screens or buttons or WiFi connections on them.
I took my children to that park to play on the ducky thing, and other stuff, when it still looked new. And now I've taken their children to play there a few years ago, and the ducky thing wasn't looking so good any more. It still did the bouncy thing, so the kids didn't seem to notice.
I hate to see the old stuff go, but the boat was too far gone to save.
For me, that stuff that got carted away last fall was the new stuff. The old stuff was large and made of telephone poles and would give you splinters regularly. And we liked it. When I first moved to Silver Spring (1978), there was still a large concrete fountain that doubled as a jungle gym.
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