Archive for Thursday, June 23, 2005

My grade school playground

June 23, 2005

As you drive north or south on Main Street and pass the Zinser Apartments, try to picture in your mind what that building was like as a grade school.

From 1923 to the early 1950s, the upper floor consisted of four large classrooms. You entered the front door going up some steps, through the hallway and down more steps and out the back door to its wonderful playground.

The older students played on the Ocean Wave, which was like a merry go round that also went up and down. It had eight sides with boards you could stand on with a higher bar to hold on with. The body action of the riders made it go faster and higher. It had a 2-inch-thick metal striking ring at the base of the center pole. We worked hard to make it glide around the striking ring and stay there. All eight sides had to be balanced in order to work properly. It was loads of fun.

On the south side of the yard there were two giant strides. Each one had a large metal pole with three chains hanging down with metal handles that you could grab and run around with taking big strides. That was good exercise. There were also a slipperslide for the younger students, three swings and a teeter-totter that had three adjustments to help balance different weights and sizes.

In the area north of the building was where we played marbles, hopscotch, jacks and jumped rope.

The boys played softball west of the Ocean Wave in the tree area. The trees were the bases. The whole playground was covered with red shale that came out of the Carr Coal Mine in Richardson. My mother got upset when we came home with our clothes covered with red shale dust.

On the west side of the building was a long concrete ramp that went to the lower level boiler room door. This was our jail. Sometimes we were jailers and sometimes we were prisoners, but we all took turns going to jail.

To the west of the playground was the Santa Fe railroad tracks, and we always stopped to watch when the big steam engine went by pulling the railroad cars.

There are a lot of good memories about that old school yard.


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