Swings, slides, sandboxes and Putt-Putt golf

By Kay Conklin - Contributing columnist

What a refreshing sight it was to look outside my dining room window and be surprised to see a child’s swing hanging from our new next-door neighbor’s tree!

Since the first time I saw it, they have added a sliding board, a table and a playhouse. It reminded me of when our daughters were very young, and we had our backyard filled with things for them to play on. We had two swing sets, a big sandbox, a tire swing hanging in the big cherry tree, and a baby pool. Lots of cousins, as well as neighborhood kids, often came to play out there. We enjoy watching our old home movies that were taken over many of their growing up years.

I wonder what ever happened to all those things they played on? There was also a child-sized picnic table George built that had a lot of use. All my siblings and I sat or stood around it to pose for a picture once. Of course, it was in the day before color film. And, whatever happened to the two swing sets? Since they were both given to us, we probably passed them on to the next little kids we knew of.

For a short period of time, we had a large trampoline out there, too. The problems came when we were gone from home for a whole day. When we got back, there were signs that a lot of kids had been here, when they weren’t supposed to be. They left hats, pop cans, candy wrappers, papers, etc.

So, because of that, it was gotten rid of.

If you ever saw our old home movies we had “back in the day,” you would see when we made up some tricks, so when the

film was run backwards, it would be fun to watch. One was when one of my brothers rode a bike into the yard, jumped off, and let the bike roll away until it eventually fell over on its own. Then when running the film backwards, you would see the bike set itself up, go backwards to pick him up, and then continue out of the picture. Or the time when he drank a whole glass of something that looked like a milkshake. When that piece of film was run backwards, you can imagine how gross that looked!

One of our daughters once told us that all she wanted for Christmas was a sliding board. So, George got our first swing set, slide and all, and set it up inside the patio for the winter. Of course, that meant taking it all apart and putting it back together twice during that year. When we bought our house, there were four delicious apple trees across the back of the property. As they got older, one of them fell over on our garden, thus that garden never made it. The other three eventually died. But not before being wonderful trees for all the kids to climb. We also had a sandbox that sat in the shade of the old cherry tree. One year, James came to stay for the better part of a summer, and he made a “pretend garden” out in the sandbox. (You might remember James, because he was the boy with the “pretend horse” that I wrote about in a previous article.)

One of the fun things to do for both adults and kids was the “holey ball” Putt-Putt golf course. George buried tin cans to use for holes and used those little white plastic holey balls to hit with his golf clubs. Our next-door neighbor and his guy friends played often. We were told that one of the friends suggested to his grandfather that he fix one like it, at his farm. We heard that when the grandfather did, it turned into a real golf course, right here in Delaware County. We have often wondered if that is true or not.

Now you can understand why, when I saw that new baby swing out my window, it brought back so many wonderful memories of all the good times we had when lots of kids were here playing in our backyard with the swings, sliding boards, and also climbing in the apple trees.


By Kay Conklin

Contributing columnist

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.