Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Riverside Park

This morning, I woke up thinking about things even further back than high school. I woke up with a picture in my mind of my friend, Janie. We share a birthday (day and year), and her parents are long-time friends of my parents. I remember hearing the story as I was growing up, about my dad trying to call them to tell them that I had been born, only he couldn’t reach them…because they were at another hospital having their baby girl. In this mind picture, we are celebrating our birthday together at Riverside Park. I am picturing her in a terry-cloth green and yellow jumper…as I recall, I had several of those terry-cloth jumpers, and they were the way to go for early 1970s comfort in the hot, humid, South. ;-)

I remember having birthday parties at Riverside with siblings and cousins and homemade cake, and blankets spread on the grass. I remember my brother being stung on his lip more than his fair share of times by yellow jackets who desired to sip his soda at the park. I remember playing in Dead Man’s Gulley (or was it Gulch?) on the Nature Trail that ran behind the park.  I remember the water fountain, swing sets and play ground and going around and around on one of those spinning wheels (with a flat surface) kids can jump on…and getting sick when I stayed on too long. I remember the long walkway lined with shady trees.

I woke up with pieces of all these memories swirling around in my head. I think it all started with Hawaii Five-O. Thinking about my high school band made me think of my friend, William. He played drums in the band. William, is Janie’s cousin. My cousins and I spent many fun weekends (Sunday afternoons?) at Riverside Park…when it looked way different than it does now…oh, and it was FREE to get into the park then too. (Was it Dead Man’s Gulch or Gulley? Is that where we dug for fossils? Did Hal really get stung as many times as I seem to remember?) As you can tell, it is like the old song “I remember It Well” since I don’t think I have a lot of the details correct, but the very fond memories of the people and place remain. I think details are overrated anyway. ;-)

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