I just finished reading an article about children's playgrounds in the New Yorker (not available on-line). This reminded me of the summer around kindergarten when my brother dragged me to Polifly Park in Hackensack almost every day. I remember making a lanyard and playing on the swing, see-saw, and climbing through the tunnels (actually leftover water-main pipes). I remember having a girlfriend at the park who was what we used to call "colored". Finally I remember the older kids nursing a sick bird. The next day they buried it.
I also remember the two hours I was in a playground in the Bronx. It was an experience quite noteworthy at the time. I was brought there there by my mother so she could go to my aunt's funeral. She left me with an old neighbor of hers she knew from her Bronx days. It was a nice day so we went to the park. I remember the park was real quiet and then suddenly hundreds of kids came running down Webster Avenue. Suddenly they took over all the swings and merry-go rounds. It was incredibly noisy. Then two boys approached me and started to talk. One was real friendly and the other kid wanted to slug me. I told them about Hackensack. They wanted to know if it had cows.
Soon my mother came to fetch me and take me back to New Jersey. Back to a slower paced life where you could be ignored in the playground. And milk in peace.