Thursday, June 24, 2010


Me and my twin sister were 13 years old in the early 1970’s and living at 36th and Main at the time. Mom would let us take our younger siblings (there were 4, soon to be 5, and this gave our Mother a bit of a break/rest) to Riley Park. We would go to swim and swing … being sure to return for dinner. Our youngest brother loved the monkey bars and we learned quicklynever to be in a panic right away if we couldn’t find Fred, at least until you checked the monkey bars! Most often he could be found there!

Along the lane there was different apparatuses where all the kids and teens liked to play on back then: the swings, teeter-totters, the gymnastic trapeze bar and rings, the pool (was open 5 or 6 days a week, each summer) and the monkey barsEverything (except the swings) was taken out - apparently due to liability issues - replaced by stuff mostly for toddlers. Within the past decade they put in the climbing rock . . . exactly in the same place - where the monkey bars used to be.

Fred was three or four years old when they were building the conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park. A picture of it was in the Sun newspaper after the brick walls and the roof’s metal framework were completed. The glass panels weren’t installed yet, and it grabbed my Dad’s attention since the construction company was made up of 9 brothers from Holland, and that was my family heritage. Dad shared the picture with all of us, and of course Fred just wanted to climb it, seeing that - to him - it was just another set of monkey barsGIANT ONES!

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