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Thread: Where Did You Play As A Kid?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Where Did You Play As A Kid?

    I had an early-morning meeting today. On the way I over I cruised through the neighborhood I grew up in, to see the changes and ignite the coals of nostalgia. It jump-started me to thinking about the places I played at when I was a young Bear.

    Up until the age of twelve (12), I lived in west Toledo. We then moved to the Shoreland area of Toledo, along the Ottawa River. Some memories:

    Lincolnshire Woods.....The Lincolnshire neighborhood of Toledo was just west of the Westgate Shopping Center area. Between the neighborhood and the stores was a large wooded area that we called "Lincolnshire Woods". It was filled with bike trails, tree forts, rasberry patches in the open areas, deer and possum, etc. A lot of my youth was spent in that woods. Ted Nugent would be proud.

    In the early-to-mid 1970's it was all bulldozed and what was then Toledo's premier office park, complete with high-rise buildings, filled that space. This morning as I drove down Executive Parkway my mind went back to a different time, when the world was far different.

    New Houses Under Construction.....When we moved to the Shoreland area of north Toledo we were one (1) of the first houses built in a development of ranch homes, tri-levels, and bi-levels.....known as The Riviera. Young teenage boys love to play in houses that are under construction.....and that's exactly what we did. We played hide-n-seek, tag, war, and king of the mountain at those construction sights. For some odd reason, "girls" started becoming more important, too, when we wandered over to the new construction.

    The Ottawa River.....Every boy should grow up by a body of water. We spent a lot of time down by the Ottawa River, Toledo's smaller river that feeds Maumee Bay (and Lake Erie). At our location in Shoreland the river is about a quarter of a mile wide.

    In the summer we made rafts, rebuilt small boats and tried to float them, swam in the boat marina (very polluted.....didn't bother me, bother me, bother me.....). In the winter we played hockey and played out in the center of the river with sleds and sticks, all the while watching out for the older teenage boys who would take their cars on the river and see how many "donuts" they could do.

    Perhaps my obsession with roads and maps took a turn for the better just about this time. My younger brother and I mapped out in the snow, on the ice, a huge city, with roads, expreessways and open water (rivers), etc. We made the roads by shuffling our feet. It was a giant map! (Mmmmmmmm........)
    _____

    Cyburbia is filled with folks who lived in many different types of surroundings. Where did YOU play when you were a kid? What say you?

    Bear The Really Bad Skater
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Until age 11, I lived in a small suburb. They don't make communities like this anymore: the houses didn't all look alike, we didn't have cul-de-sacs, and the streets were narrow and lined with big old trees like oaks and maples. Our house was a ranch on a corner lot, and kids often cut across our yard as a short-cut on their way home from school. We had a swing set in our backyard that was popular among the neighborhood kids.

    I lived only a block from my elementary school, so I spent a lot of time at the playground or at the library, which was also within walking distance (I was an avid reader). I walked or biked just about everywhere, to many of my friends' houses or to the commercial center of town, where I could buy candy and comic books. You didn't have to drive everyplace back then.

    For adventure, there were old trails that ran through the woods. You had to watch for poison ivy and barking dogs, but we always felt safe. Today, those woods have been replaced by ugly subdivisions.

    I used to get in trouble for "wandering" with my friends. From the backyard of my neighbor's across the street, we could sneak into the old barn on an adjacent property and explore their inventory of old nails and farm tools. Or we'd walk miles and pick flowers from people's yards along the way. I guess picking tulips and daffodils and carrying them in an empty milk carton was "big trouble" back then.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    We lived in a developing neighborhood, too, and played in the houses under construction. There was also a cleared and grubbed (a term I learned as an adult ) where we rode bikes, played ball, built forts. We played on the abandoned heavy equipment. There was about 100' feet of corrugated sewer pipe that I remember crwaling through. I'd have a fit if my kids did that!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    We played at the abandoned railroad yards. I remember rows and rows of tracks. And a round concrete slab. Now I know that was the roundhouse where they repaired steam engines. Today the entire area has been made into a sports complex.

    Edit:AIB SAC
    The NYC yards in Mattoon in 1938


    The same area around 1998. The area to the east has since been made into football and soccer fields
    Last edited by noottamevas; 07 Jan 2006 at 8:10 PM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    As a child my family would always go on 5 mile bike rides around the rural countryside of western Washtenaw County here in Michigan. I remember how scared I would get riding by all of the cornfields as the darkness would fall and the coyotes would howl. Today, much of the land has been cleared for houses and residents drive way to fast to consider jogging or bike riding down the dirt roads anymore. They blare their music and throw trash out of the vehicles. The only animal noises I hear are the dogs barking at each new house I jog past. Sure has been a huge change in just the past 20 years.

  6. #6
    Here ya go Bear, you'll like this:



    Its the Westgate area - 1956.

    Click here for full size image.

    http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/data...ncolnshire.jpg

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Vacant lots in the neighborhood, one of which was kinda wet and full of tall reeds, and we would build mazes and forts in it. A vacant lot across the bridge next to the house where we could ride our bikes on a path perilously close to the canal full of gators. The beach lot down the street, with picnic tables and grills and boat access for the neighborhood. And of course, on the lake, we had ski boats by the time we were 13 and could take them to many of our friends' homes on our lake and others, via canals.

    Of course, when we were younger, we played in each others yards, but everyone had at least 1/2 acre so there was always room for a football game.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    When we lived in Panama it was just around the house, or in the street in front of it. I was just a little kid then and probably could not have gotten myself too much farther way than that. Haven't been there in close to 50 years, so I imagine it's changes a bit.

    In Seattle we lived in an inner city neighborhood. We played in the street in front, in the alley behind, and in everybody's yards except for the mean old couple who didn't like kids in their yard. I was there in the 1980's again and it was all exactly the same.

    In Monterey we played in the canyon behind our house. Lots of trees, trails, adventures, places to find fossils. The Pacific Coast Highway freeway now runs through that canyon.

    In San Diego it was the street in front of our house, and anywhere we could get to on our bikes, which usually meant the local canyons. Last time I was there some of the canyons had been developed, one had a freeway in it, but some were still the same and were set aside as parks.

    In New Cumberland PA it was everywhere we get to on our new three-speed english racing bikes. The Susquehanna River was one frequent destination.

    After PA I we lived in Northern Virginia and I had a car. I "played" all around the
    area. The number one spot was Burke Lake Park, where I worked for years, first counting worms (we called it "boxing worms") to be sold by the dozen as fishing bait, then in the snackbar, the in the camp store. The things we did at night after the park closed would probably make for a Porkies XXIII. Those were among the best times of my life, except of course for the parts where I actually was in attendance at High School.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    In the woods behind our house. A couple of trees had fallen on each other and we used the area as our secret hiding place.
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    When I grew up, the property across the street from my dad and mom’s house was an undeveloped block. There we played baseball, football, shot BB guns, flew kites, drank beer, chased girls, built tunnels and hay forts, and tossed our garbage on it. Typical stuff, I guess.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by savemattoon
    We played at the abandoned railroad yards. I remember rows and rows of tracks. And a round concrete slab. Now I know that was the roundhouse where they repaired steam engines. Today the entire area has been made into a sports complex.

    Edit:AIB SAC
    The NYC yards in Mattoon in 1938


    The same area around 1998. The area to the east has since been made into football and soccer fields
    That after photo is pretty damn depressing. Personally, I'd much rather play around old railroad tracks that some overblown sports complex. Today's kids have so little opportunities to do what we did because everything has to be constrained by sprawl (and it's illusion of safety), safety-freaked parents and a consumer culture that craves antiseptic sports complexes such as the ones depicted in the photo. They have no access to the remote, forgotten, and abandoned places that would conjure up imagination, creativity and and pure sense of adventure.

    I too used to go down and play by the tracks at the end of my street when I was a kid. I'll expand on this later.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Super Amputee Cat
    That after photo is pretty damn depressing. Personally, I'd much rather play around old railroad tracks that some overblown sports complex. Today's kids have so little opportunities to do what we did because everything has to be constrained by sprawl (and it's illusion of safety), safety-freaked parents and a consumer culture that craves antiseptic sports complexes such as the ones depicted in the photo. They have no access to the remote, forgotten, and abandoned places that would conjure up imagination, creativity and and pure sense of adventure.

    I too used to go down and play by the tracks at the end of my street when I was a kid. I'll expand on this later.
    I couldn't agree more. you should see before and after pictures of our downtown

  13. #13
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    The backyard...the swingset, the sandbox, playing catch
    The front yard...football
    The street...football and hockey
    The cul-de-sac...baseball and homerun derby
    The driveway...basketball
    The whole block...ghost in the graveyard
    The school yard
    The park
    The sledding hill (former retention pond)
    Construction sites
    Fishing and playing in the sewers of retention ponds
    Riding bikes all over town
    The library
    The municipal aquatic park/recreation center
    Woodland areas
    Any friend's house who had a lot of property, a trampoline, or a pool
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    In the US I played in the yard of my building with the other kids that lived there, we has a sandbox, swingset and other stuff. It also had a slight hill nearby a chapel, that was quite nice to go down in a sleigh in winter, and of course lots of parks that were nearby.

    Here... the streets of my neighborhood (when they had less traffic because the neiborhood was just starting to be built) and other undeveloped areas and parks nearby , doing small excursions on bikes, the inevitable trespassing (you're not a kid unless you go trespassing), etc

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Growing up in an exurb that is now a suburb....

    1) New subdivision houses under construction. I fondly remember jumping off a second floor balcony into a pile of fiberglass insulation thinking the landing would be soft. 10 ithcy hours and 4 showers later, I had to confess to mom what I did.

    2) The active landfill over the ridge. I swear I'm not the one that started the fire.

    3) The pond with the big oak tree and rope swing. That was the second time I remembered I cant swim...

    4) Fishing in the mill pond downtown. We'd have to ride bikes 14 miles round trip. It was effortless. I miss effortless.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Places already mentioned -
    1. Backyard - woods and trails on ridge line; swing hanging from tree.
    2. Frontyard - steep slope for sledding.
    3. New subdivision homes under construction.
    4. Storm sewer that we could walk in and the creek it drained into.
    5. Subdivision streets - bicycling.
    6. Summer Boy Scout Camps (mentioned in other threads)

    7. NJ Shore - sailing & swimming
    8. Visiting the Ships that Dad's company were working on.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  17. #17
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    My early childhood, I lived across the street from the 'wash' (the Los Angeles River). For the most part, we used to play all over the neighbourhood... but sometimes we would climb down into the stormsewer and play in the big concrete river 'bed'.

    We moved when I was about 9 to the Santa Monica mts (Topanga Cyn area). We had a big hill across from our house... we used to go up there and play archaeologists. We would chip at the sandstone strata and we'd often find little fossils. That hill is now leveled in steps with houses crawling up them. So sad.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Super Amputee Cat, thanx for the GREAT picture of the Westgate area of Toledo, circe 1956. My street, Isha Laye Way, is in the bottom left corner. My house is third from the main road, Central Avenue, on the east side of Isha Laye Way.

    Super photo submission for an old timer like me.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  19. #19
    Cyburbian chukky's avatar
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    In an inner-suburban neighbourhood, we lived in what's called an 'Ashgrovian', a specific type of the typical Queenslander house. Like ninety percent of Queenslanders, it was elevated on wooden stilts. Done both for air-circulation and to create a flat building area, something reasonably uncommon in the inner brisbane area. Anyway, our house sat hard on the ground at the front, but was a good three/four metres in the air at the back. So that gave every kind of play space imaginable, from the big open cool bit, to the front bit under the porch you had to crawl though the tiniest of gaps to get to.

    Also had a massive Moreton Bay Fig in the street out the front. We spent most of our time putting hammock and swings and nets to laze on in it; and then watching the council rip them out again. At least it and the avenue it was part of are still there; when we were leaving that house it was due to be removed.

    And I had a creek. Creeks are all important. Mine came with a attached bushland reserve we used to get into, which I recently realised was part of the army camp.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    The banks of the Smoky Hill River.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  21. #21
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Where i grew up, we had a massive open space area at the end of my street. It had a few items of play equipment and all the local kids used to hang out there.

    I met my best mate down at the park when i was 3 and we basically grew up in that park. We had a magic tree- some massive tree on the side at the hill that fairies lived in (until it got cut down 8 years ago).

    This park backed onto the rail line going up to the blue mountains and there were a few tunnels that dad used to take us to (we werent allowed to go on our own).

    Also in the park, behind my best mates place is a huge hill, we used to grass side on real estate signs that we used to pinch from around the place.

    Also in the massive park, there was a creek, which flowed from the mountains, and if u followed it, you could walk all the way up the the rail tracks. We kinda got banned from that area though, cause some kid found a dead body there

    Anyway along with the street cricket, tennis and commandos in peoples backyards this is what we did as kids, brings back a lot of happy memories!

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Besides the various front and back yards in the neighborhood, we went to the park about two blocks away which fronted Tampa Bay. Great place with a fishing pier, boat lauch and lots of playground equipment. There was also a vacant lot where we spent alot of "hanging out" time until early high school when they built four houses. We actually had dug a hole many years before construction to jump our bikes across. When the started clearing the property, one of the dump truck found the hole with the rear tamdem wheels and broke its axle. Big excitement that day watching the huge tow truck pull that sucker out.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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  23. #23
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Oh man, great thread, BUN!

    When I was little (4-7yrs) I would mainly play in our yeard (it was the largest on the block. We had a huge sandbox, a half basketball court, and shed behind which we would build our fort.

    Once I got older (7-14), I would ride my bike all over the town (I lived in a small city in northern Michigan that has/had lots of underused/abandoned industrial land). Myself, alone, or with friends, we would ride our bikes around town and explore the nooks and crannies of the town. The best was when we found a small abandoned auto salvage yard. Breaking the glass on old junked cars was fun! Also, we eventually found the back way into the old debris dump from the limestone quarry that was in town. This was directly across the 'street' from the active quarry and the debris pile was quite high, which gave you good aerial views of the city. Though when they blasted in the quarry, that will make you heart skip a beat.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  24. #24
    Since we lived quite a way out of town my sister and I were pretty much on our own. I was quite content with whatever I could find to amuse myself - reading, riding my bike, and anything else I could use to get out of weeding the garden.

    In summer we played in the woods behind our house. My dad had fashioned tree swings for my sister and me that launched off a steep hill. We spent hours swinging and making up whole fantasy worlds. We had a small tree fort cobbled together from old pieces of plywood and cloth. Another side of our woods had paths and trails that led off into open fields that constituted the property lines of other homeowners. There were wild blackberry patches where we'd pick when they were in season. I'd ride my bike to the library on the state college campus (town residents had access to it) and spend the mornings wandering through the stacks.

    In the winter we would make snowforts and caves from the high snowbanks formed by snowblowing the drive clear every other day. When I was eight or nine we had a very wet winter and an ice patched formed right off the back porch. Dad edged it in with a few two by fours and flooded the low spot with hot water at night. I would spend every night skating outside under the stars, only coming in when I couldn't' feel my toes anymore - at 15 below zero it didn't take long.

  25. #25
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I was always riding my bike to the parks in Concord.....

    Rollins Park:


    Memorial Field:


    White Park (which is a couple blocks from the house, where Planner Groupie and I go with Wes a lot):
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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