If children today were to see the playground equipment of yesteryear, I wonder if they would want to play on it, thinking it looked intriguing, or if they would simply walk away, saying that it looked boring. I suppose that to them, it probably would be boring. There weren’t any bright colored, shiny things to play on back then, and no mazes to crawl through in search of the prize…the slide at the end. I don’t know if I think that todays playground equipment is better, or worse. Or maybe, it’s just different…more advanced and inventive. I suppose that the playground equipment of earlier years required the child to be more inventive, where today’s maybe doesn’t.
In the 1900s, there were often pipe built structures without paint…not that it seemed to matter to the kids. People have looked back on that equipment and wondered if it was even safe. Well, probably it wasn’t, but when you look at some of the modern day equipment, you wonder the same thing. Kids have been climbing on structures for as long as there have been kids. It’s what they do. If they have nothing to climb on or jump on, they will just jump on the bed. Now tell me you didn’t. I don’t know of one physically capable person who can honestly say they didn’t jump on the bed. In the 1900s, ladders were used to get the kids to the top of the tall structures. I’m sure that was part of the concern, but the rock climbing addition of today, isn’t really any safer, and kids will climb up the outside of a structure whether there is a proper way to get to the top or not. Remember, there isn’t a child alive who hasn’t thought at one point or another, that they were invincible.
Modern playground equipment is often designed as a “fitness” tool. That wasn’t really necessary in years gone by, because there really was no such thing as a “couch potato” then. Kids didn’t have hand held electronic gaming devises to occupy so much of their time, so they went outside and played games. I remember running around the yard until dark, once my homework was done anyway. We never sat still…and that was at home. All we had there was a swing set. The rest was make believe. The school had swings, a slide, and the monkey bars, as well as tetherball poles, but no ball if school was out. Still, the school was the place to play…especially in the summer, when playing there didn’t require class time too. While the tall structure with ladders of the 1900s, or even the pole swing of 1910, looked dangerous, my guess would be that there were no more injuries on it than any other type of playground equipment…but, I could be wrong. The way I see it…kids just aren’t notoriously careful.
Since losing over 330 pounds, my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg has basically entered her second childhood. It all started when she decided that she needed to go and play on the playground…or at least slide on the slide. Now, she has set herself a goal of visiting every park in Casper at some point this year…including walking around the parks. She found an outdoor exercise bike, and after many attempts over the course of the last two years, finally was able to make it work. When her niece posted pictures of her children sledding, Brenda told them that they should come to Casper next winter so she could go sledding with them. These things are not the activities of most life-long sedentary and overweight people, but then that isn’t who Brenda is…anymore. She is a vibrant, active 50+ year old, who got a second chance, and she has no intention of wasting it. Brenda soon became a woman on a mission…a get healthy mission.
It has been a long journey for Brenda, but not nearly as long as it would have been for most people in her shoes. Most people who find out that they have several health issues, all caused by obesity and all reversible, would have said that the challenge was more than they could face. The mere though of healthy eating and an active lifestyle makes most people in that situation feel tired and hungry. And most of those people give up before they ever get started…but not Brenda. In all reality, Brenda was no exception to that general rule, but she dug down deep within herself, and decided once and for all, that she was not going to let this beat her, and she was not going to die at 50 years old. In many ways, that was about the last time Brenda acted like someone with all the health concerns she had. and now she simply doesn’t act her age at all. It’s like she has age regressed…and that’s ok. If you missed out on an active childhood, and you had the chance to go back in time and change that…wouldn’t you do it too. Brenda simply had to do it.
In recent months, Brenda has been obsessed with the idea of riding a bicycle again. She wasn’t sure that would be a possibility given the condition of her knees right now. Nevertheless, she has high hopes, and so she decided to find a way to ride a bike in the meantime. She bought a bicycle…purple, of course. She took the pedals off of it, and for now, she sits on the seat and walks the bike along the trails. She calls it a strider, and I don’t know for sure if that is the name of the bike, or what you call one that has no pedals, but either way, she can now ride a bike…another thing she didn’t really do much as a kid. And another step back into her second childhood. Today is Brenda’s birthday. Happy birthday Brenda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!