My mother is wonderfully low maintenance when it comes to going out. This weekend when I asked where I could take her to lunch, after some thought, she came up with “vamos a el Subway y al parque de la Yenco.” Translated, let’s go grab a sandwich and have it at Wilderness Park in Downey (it used to be near Gemco, off of the 605 Freeway).
Wilderness Park is where we used to go on weekends when she needed, for her own sanity, to take my sister and me away from our 800-square-foot apartment.
I hadn’t been to the park in a while, so I found myself wandering around the playground intrigued by how safe it has become.
Before, there used to be an eight-foot slide made out of lámina that heated up and caused second-degree burns if you tried to slide down it while wearing shorts (even worse was when one of the strips of lámina came loose and threatened to slice up the backside of our legs). Now, children play on a four-foot slide molded out of plastic.
Where I used to be able to climb on a giant steel spider web that went about 10-feet into the air, now stood a balance beam about three-feet off the ground. Gone was the ability to drop off the middle of the spider web into a giant sand hill built by your sister below.
While I waxed nostalgic for the jungle gyms of my youth, I also noticed that a set of five-year-old twins were wonderfully happy with what was there for them. They giggled as they ran around and into the play fire engine and as they hung off the new-school monkey bars.
I tried all of the new obstacles, but it just wasn’t the same. So, I left the safeground and found a nearby tree. I figured that until they outlaw tree climbing, kids of all ages can share one aspect of a trip to the park.
© Laura Genao 2007