Sunday, August 19, 2007

Retro Cool - Slip and Slide

My friend Marianne, me, Patty Sue on the Slip N Slide, about 1960

It has been hot in Wisconsin, and elsewhere, so our AC has gotten a workout. The past few days have been cooler though; we’ve had so much rain that I’ve been spending time inside reading, drawing, and working on family history projects. While reviewing old photos to scan and upload I came across these 1961 photos of me, my sister and an elementary school friend. There weren’t a whole lot of ways to keep from melting before we had air conditioning. We had fans, of course. Sometimes our neighbors took us kids to Turtle Lake for an afternoon of swimming. I especially enjoyed hiding under the pier, but that's another story. Orange Popsicles from the Millard Store were a good treat on a hot day, as were Fudgesicles. We had a kiddie pool we’d blow up and fill with water from the hose if we couldn’t beg hard enough to go to the lake. And then there was Slip-N-Slide, from Wham- O, the folks who brought the world Hula Hoops a couple years before.

I read somewhere that there were lawsuits in the 1990’s, brought by older teens and adults who were injured doing what we did as kids with no ill effects. The Slip-n-Slide was just a long piece of plastic that had a coupling where a person could attach a garden hose. Cold water spraying through perforations made the plastic slippery. We’d just take a running start, throw ourselves on the ground, slide to the end of the plastic runner, get soaked, and laugh like maniacs. The grass was rarely smooth; little stones and bumps added interest to the ride. We made that part of the front yard a morass of mud, and that was fun too.

Today I have my share of aches and pains, and cannot imagine a time when I was able to launch myself at the ground with joyful abandon, but pictures don't lie. Apparently we were indestructible. It all seems so low tech now. No aquatic centers, no wave pools or fancy water slides. But we had fun. I don’t even want to think about dancing the Twist.


juj said...

I came to look at your latest edm (which is lovely by the way) but got distracted by this post. Brought back a lot of fond memories for me of my own adventures with my sisters and neighbors and the Slip and Slide. Thanks for sharing. Your picures are great.

Sharon said...

Interesting post. I was thinking the other day about how different my children’s childhood was from my own. I had difficulty letting them walk three blocks to the local little store for fear of their being abducted (I know...a crazy obsession. It’s the fault of those darn milk cartons.) I grew up in a military family and we lived in many miserable places throughout the Midwest and south (Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, etc.), where summers were hellishly hot and humid. I’d get up in the morning, don skimpy clothing and run around the neighborhood all day, virtually unsupervised, and stopping only for Kool-aid and bologna sandwiches. Sprinklers were big, as was the slide you write about. My children’s activities when they were young were much more organized and protected, and now I think a lot of kids spend their days in front of the TV or computer. Very different world…