The Ottumwa Courier

Columns

April 13, 2013

'Leafing' through the memories

(Continued)

My sister and I also spent a lot of time playing “Statues.” We had two cement plinths that bordered the steps to our front porch, and we would stand on them, wait for a car to drive by and strike a pose like a statue for the driver. As we lived across from the city park and a block away from the middle school, we were pretty busy statues. Those plinths were also a great reading spot.

Heading to the park was an almost-everyday occurance. Either walking or riding bikes to the opposite side of the park to the playground, we would often meet friends and swing, go down slides, hang from the monkey bars, get dizzy on the merry-go-round or just play tag. I even broke a wrist there as a young child when I fell getting off one of the merry-go-rounds that had leg pumps to make it go faster. I must have been extra dizzy that night.

My reward for being brave during my X-ray? A Kit-Kat from our local Hy-Vee. When I was in fourth or fifth grade, they took out the old playground equipment and built a new playground.

It was a volunteer effort, and even as a kid I was able to contribute. That park was my second home, even if I was just there to watch my parents play slow-pitch softball and buy treats from the “candy man.”

Leafing through these memories reminded me just how much entertainment can be found with very few pennies and a little imagination. It has been a constant battle for me to try to find a way to drag my stepson off his Playstation3 and involved in more active pursuits. He’s starting to get interested in playing football with my husband, and we like to get him out the fields to play some baseball. But looking back, it’s not playing Nintendo that provides such warm memories from my youth (with one exception involving my dad, my brother, RBI Baseball and a shoe). It’s the time spent outdoors, bonding with my family. And these are the types of memories I want to create for my stepson and my 2-year-old boy.

Tracy Goldizen is a Courier copy editor.

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