Sunday, December 30, 2007
Yesterday was another perfect winter day in Minneapolis, so Dave and I took the dog over to Brackett Park to check out the rocket ship that was recently installed. According to brackettrocket.org, "The Brackett Rocket, built as a playground structure in 1962, was the neighborhood icon of America's entry into the 'space race.' Played on by generations of Longfellow, Seward, Nokomis, and Phillips residents, the structure was removed from Brackett Park in 2004 when it no longer met safety requirements. A 'Save the Rocket' campaign was initiated by a group of residents...to rejuvenate the rocket as a work of public art."
Dave has memories of climbing up in this when he was a child, and his mom loves to tell the story of when she was 7 or 8 months pregnant with him, his older brother got up to the top and was too afraid to come down. With a huge baby belly, she had to climb up and retrieve him. Unfortunately it's no longer for play, but it's fun to see such relics from the past. It reminded me of the rope spiderweb that I used to play on as a child. It looked exactly like this one, and was just about as unsafe as they come.
Playgrounds these days just aren't what they used to be. They look like this and this, and gone are the days of metal slides, swing chains that pinch your fingers, and merry go rounds that go way too fast and throw you from them if you can't hold on. I'm sure everyone is a lot safer and there are fewer injuries, but I sort of miss the rope spiderwebs and rocketships, the climbing structures that enable your children to fall a good 25 feet to the hard sand. Most generations think of the age of their childhood as the "good ole days" and I'm just as much to blame as the next guy. I don't think this dangerous playground thing will be coming back anytime soon, though. At least we can catch a glimpse of the past here and there.