829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Game, Playset, Match

I built this playset virtually by myself way back in 1997.
I borrowed the plans from a friend, then hand-selected the
lumber at Homey D's, had it all delivered to the top of
my driveway in a big pile, and then I cut, drilled, planed,
countersunk, beveled, mitered, and drilled some more.
When all of the pieces were up to specs, I lugged them all
to the backyard building site where, over the course of about
a week, I erected this oasis of recreation, where my girls and
their friends made imaginary phone calls, fought off pirates, 
took pizza orders, gazed at the constellations, swung on the
swings, slid down the firemens' pole and yellow sliding board, 
and ultimately avoided the rigors of the main building forty feet
away from them. It was a damn good escape from reality.   

These are but two of the many family portraits taken at Easter in
our backyard, where there were so many places to hide the eggs
filled with jellybeans or, if they were lucky enough, ones, fives,
tens, or twenties.  This photo also shows one of the last Easter
gatherings that my old man (just below me) was able to make. 

Rather than taking a crowbar and sledgehammer to start breaking
down the playset, I grabbed my chainsaw and went to work.
I made my cuts only after surveying the structure I'd created sixteen
years earlier, imagining which directions the sections would
fall.  I did pretty well, with only one 4X4 falling on top of me.

I thought that I might at one point stop and cry, considering the 
memories that continuously coursed through my mind.  It didn't
happen.  I found out later that our backyard neighbors were
watching me most of the afternoon, and they validated  all
of my nostalgic feelings.  Betty said they were keeping an eye on 
me in case anything might have gone wrong.  Nothing did,
but it was good that they were there.  It's gonna be weird
the next time I mow the lawn.    


  1. But where will the grandchildren play?

  2. In San Francisco, that would be considered a "starter home" and would cost about $200,000.

  3. brought a tear to my eye.

    1. That playset owes you and your sister nothing.

  4. I saw that play set when I visited and was impressed that you built it yourself. In 1997 I was just coming of my 15 year old coma... and realized that I need to have a playset in my backyard one day soon. That would happen some 10,actually 15 years later, but it happened and all is right with my world.

    Sorry Hannah for you loss, but if I know your Dad, he still has the plans. ;)

  5. This outsider is mystified as to the reason(s) for this demolition.

    1. My kids are too old. Our backyard neigh- bors' grandchildren even got a lot of use out of it, so much so that they replaced the old seats and chains. Over the years, the rungs all needed to be replaced. During Sandy, half of the cedar shingles blew off the roof and the slide uprooted. When I recently looked out back and noticed the swings had been removed, we knew it was time.

  6. so when grandkids come along, you'll make one bigger and better, right?!

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