‘Mamma, mamma’ my toddler insisted pointing at the swing. Not sure I’d be able to manoeuvre my arse into it, I sidled onto the seat and started swinging. I remember this feeling of flying through the air, swinging my legs automatically to make it go higher.
As a child I could swing for what felt like hours, as an adult I was overcome with nausea and jumped off.
‘More’, he insisted, clapping his pudgy hands.
‘No more mate, no more.’
Anonymous - NSW
I can’t remember the actual name of it, but the small park at the end of my street is where all the neighbourhood kids would meet and play and get up to the mischief of kids. It was a small park that sat between two terrace houses with just a couple of swings, a roundabout and what we called the ‘monkey bars’ - a silver-painted, steel-framed cube that many kids broke bones falling from.
While the park was tiny and the equipment pretty basic it had the added thrill of ‘Fang’ the White Alsatian who lived behind the park and roamed the streets of Forest Lodge looking for children to scare and intimidate.
In the 70’s, dogs were allowed to roam the streets and crap where they pleased and the free-range, neighbourhood dog could be a pretty wild beast. In our neighbourhood, Fang, the white Alsatian was just that.
If you saw Fang heading into the park you had only really had a couple of options – 1. stay still, don’t make eye contact and hope for the best, or 2. run for the monkey bars, climb like hell to the top and scream until you were rescued by an adult.
I climbed the monkey bars to escape Fang on a few occasions. Once he even stayed and growled at us with his big shiny teeth for what felt like half an hour. He eventually got bored and left to find another helpless neighbourhood kid to intimidate and terrorise.