The old playground was located near the center of town in Old Beavertown.
A Reflection of the Old Playground
By Richard Mabey Jr.
In Old Beavertown, there was once a playground located near the center of town. It consisted of a swing set, a slide, a swirling merry-go-round, a toddler’s swirling ride and a rope and planking climbing setup. During my childhood, I remember spending many, many hours at this playground park. My favorite thing in the playground was the swing set.
From about the time of third grade and on through sixth grade, my friend Stuart and I would often walk downtown and end up spending some time at this old playground. Mostly, we would ride the swings, seeing how high we could go.
I remember this moment in time so distinctly. It’s as if it had just occurred just yesterday. I don’t know why it is that I remember it so vividly. Who knows why it is that we remember the things we do, especially in such detail.
It was early August of 1967. I was 13 years old. I had just graduated from Chapel Hill School in June. In September, I would be starting high school. I remember that I awoke one day in August of 1967 and decided to ride my bike down to Moe’s Sweet Shop to buy a couple of comic books. I had a quarter, so I could buy two 12-cent comic books.
It was a great bike ride, from my home to Moe’s, being about a mile in length. The comic book display, at Moe’s, was located in the back of the luncheonette. I remember that it was a big decision to decide which two comic books to buy. I am fairly certain that I bought a Superman and a Batman comic book that morning.
I don’t know what it was, but something about the old playground seemed to call me. It was a kind of whisper. So, I put the two comic books safely in my front basket of my bicycle and rode over to the old playground.
At the playground, I remember that there were a couple of park benches that were set at the edge of the park playground. I remember riding my bicycle to one of those park benches. I read my two comic books beneath the shade of the maple trees surrounding the old park bench.
On the edge of the old playground were two old park benches. In the distance you can see Chapel Hill School, the oldest grammar school of Old Beavertown.
After I read my two comic books, it was as if the old swing set was calling me to take one more ride on the swing. For in less than a month, I would be starting high school. In many ways, this would be last chance to be a care-free kid. I had heard that high school was tough and that you had to study a lot more in high school.
And, so I put my two comic books safely in the cradle of the basket in the front of my bicycle. Then, walked over to the swings. I sat down and began swinging on the swing. There was a certain joy, a certain feeling of freedom, a certain feeling of being carefree. But somehow and someway, it just wasn’t the same. For in less than a month’s time I would be going to the big, regional high school that was located in the seemingly far town of Boonton. In many ways, it seemed exciting. In other ways, I felt very sad.
I remember getting off of the swing. I rode my bicycle down the road to my old grammar school, Chapel Hill School. As corny as it may sound, I remember I actually said goodbye to my old school. Not just thinking the words to myself. But I remember actually saying out loud, “goodbye Chapel Hill.” I know how corny that may sound.
I remember riding my bike around the driveway of the school. I remember riding my bike, in circles, around the big parking lot. I simply then rode my bike home. No fanfare, no trumpets blaring, no drum roll, no choir singing. I just simply rode my bike home.
Chapel Hill School was the school that I had attended from first grade through eighth grade. I had good memories from going there. I had painful memories from going there. But, truly, I was sad to say goodbye. When all the dust had settled, I was so very sad to say goodbye.
When I got home, I rode down Mabey Lane and into my driveway. I felt sad to see that my tears had smeared the cover of my new Batman comic book.