Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Playground Lumberyard

     In a previous post I mentioned how we would play in the old lumber shed and the old high school gym converted into a warehouse.  Those weren't the only places.  Lutterbein Lumber was a treasure trove of places to play and imagine adventure.

     Where do I start?  My dad ran construction crews and they layed bricks and blocks on those buildings.  To make the mortar they needed masons sand, lots of it sometimes.  There was always a pile of sand contained by three wood walls.  Whenever it would run a little low, dad would order another dump truck of sand.  Sometimes there was a little sand and sometimes it seemed like there was a mountain of sand.  It was a great place to play except it was also a cat litter box, but we over looked that small problem.

     In the back of the lumberyard there were wild strawberries growing all over the place.  In season it was fun picking and eating thosestrawberries.  There were really small and as I remember pretty sweet.

     Climbing on piles of lumber was our version of going mountain climbing.  We would use our imagination and reall have fun.  There was one day that the boy across the street had a pile of lumber tip towards him and trap him so he couldn't get out.  I still remember him screaming "I'm dying, I'm dying."  In reality he was just scared half to death.  He wasn't hurt at all.  We just unstacked a few dozen 2X4's and let him out.  No harm.  No foul.

     Speaking of fouls, we also had a grass basketball court nailed to the side of the lumber shed that had the walk across plank.  All the neighborhood boys would come over to play basketball.  We didn't have referees so there may have been a few fouls here and there.  Again, no one ever got hurt, we just had fun.  

     Dad and Uncle Dick were quite the promoters.  A few times they hired a company with an elephant and a monkey for a promotion.  A way to attract customers.  An elephant inside the retail store!  That was the neatest thing in the world.  How many people have been able to experience that?  What fun!

     One time one of my sisters (I won't say which one) was in the office playing.  She found a few sheets of "stickers" and thought it would be fun to past them to the office chair.  I imagine it was very pretty.  We were pretty much banned from the office from that point on.  Those stickers were postage stamps.

     In the back of the lumberyard where the strawberries were there were dirt driveways with deep ruts in them.  When it would rain those would fill up with water.  A few times when it was hot we would play in them.  Running and doing belly flops in them sliding from one end to another.  We were just like barnyard hogs wallering in the mud to stay cool.  To this day, I don't know why I didn't get in a lot of trouble over that.  Again, we were never hurt.  I can't imagine even thinking about letting my kids do half of what I did as a kid.

     I mentioned earlier that Dad and my uncle were promoters.  On another occasion they put a pen up in the north lumber shed and had a large pig put in it.  They had a hog wild sale!  People could enter to win the pig.  The good thing about it they had Pepsi put a Pepsi/Mountain Dew machine out there with paper cups.  We drank all we could get away with.  I think my friends and I drank up any profit that might have been made.

     It was another day back in the 1950's and 1960's.  We did things that parents would probably be charged with child endangerment today if they let their kids do.  Of course we didn't ask our parents if we could do any of this.  We were allowed to roam as we pleased.  There was little or no danger to any of us being allowed to do as we please.  I am thankful for the freedom I had.  We learned as much playing as we did in grade school.  Both parts were important to growing up.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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