This photograph was taken in one of the picnic shelters at the St. Clairsville Memorial Park. I’m sitting with my friend, Janice. She worked in the park at the Allen pool where my dad was the manager for several years.
The shelters at the park are pretty much still there, but the playground is substantially different. The wonderfully dangerous and heavily-enameled things are gone: swings with real wooden boards, the merry-go-round that spun and rocked until you rang it like a bell, the horizontal metal ladder that was tough on the hands, the rusty monkey bars and the bathrooms that had a low roof where many young folks scaled in order to drink or make-out.
It’s all so different now, that except for the contour of the ground, it is nearly unrecognizable. There are still swings but only ones with the ever-tortuous butt straps. Most of the other playground items are either colorful polyethylene plastic or some other space-age material. It is no longer my park, but I like to imagine that all of this now will be someone's memory someday, as it is to me in black and white.
Change isn’t so bad though-- because it surely reminds us of what we miss.