Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Let's talk about sometime a bit more frivolous today.
For some reason, just about now, I had a memory of one of my old boyhood playgrounds in Enid, Oklahoma. Kiwanis Park. It lay on Broadway Ave., conveniently between our house and Adams School, where (except for a 1.5-yr. hiatus in Amarillo, Tex.) I attended school, grades 1-6.
The last time I was in Enid (not all that long ago) it was still a park but no longer bore the "Kiwanis" name. Here's a Google Earth image of it ... You see a hint of Broadway Ave. just at the top ...
When I was a boy, the park had a swing set, a slide, a merry-go-round. A fetid creek ran through it, a place where we looked at crawdads and imagined lobsters. If you look up near Broadway, you see see a hint of a storm sewer pipe that led over to yet another boyhood park, Glenwood, and when we were brave enough, we would waddle our way through that pipe to the other park. Legend held it that the pipes led all the way to Kansas, fifty miles or so to the north. Which says a lot about legends.
When I was in kindergarten, I would walk (alone! can you imagine?!?) from our house at 1709 E. Broadway (only a few blocks away) to Mrs. Dugan's (Mrs. Doogan's?) kindergarten, which was not far from Adams School. Occasionally, the lure of Kiwanis Park was too powerful, and I would pause to play, often, of course, losing track of time and staying until Mrs. Dugan had a chance to call my mother and inquire where Danny was. There was only one possible answer.
(I'll have to say there have been many, many Kiwanis Parks in my life--roadside attractions that have delayed me from my responsibilities. Life has had many exit ramps; I have explored a lot of them.)
Mrs. Dugan would sometimes parade us all down to the park to play. I remember games of Red Rover, of Musical Chairs (spots at the picnic table), of Drop the Handkerchief, of Hide-n-Seek ...
Later--alone or with friends--we would play catch--or spin wild theories about the drainpipe (later, reading Stephen King's IT, I knew we'd been right about a lot!)--or swing as high as we could--or see how fast we could propel the merry-go-round--or see how fast we could do down the slide--go on our backs down the slide--wonder about girls (such an odd species!)--and never think of any future beyond that afternoon. That endless, peaceful, perfect afternoon.