Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Scarecrow Swingset

I'm an aficionado of the old-timey metal playground items, the kind that are rapidly disappearing from our nation's landscape in favor of newfangled plastic monstrosities.

This is a great 1950s specimen from the old "Game Time" company from Ohio. It's clearly intended to be a Wizard Of Oz type of scarecrow, yet it's painted in such a way that it more closely resembles a skull or a clown - note that whoever repainted it last chose to ignore the eyebrows and the dots in the eyes. Its hollow-headed smile also gives it a jack-o-lantern quality.

This lovely artifact of mythic resonance can be found at Clear Creek Park in Shelbyville. There used to be one similar to this, but with an enormous triangular clown head, in Million Park in Richmond.

1 comment:

MiguelPlutar said...

At Fishtrap Damn, near Pikeville, there were some picnic areas that my family would use to hold reunions. I remember there being a playground close to the particular place we would all flock to once a year, and this playground never failed to fascinate me for hours. I recall there being three swing sets like this and they represented the characters from the Wizard of Oz, minus Dorothy. I suppose the people who designed those sets felt that having a girls head on a pole would be too controversial. Anyways, it was cool seeing this posting because it brought back fond memories of being placed safely into a rubber contraption that swung me back and forth in innocent bliss. Too bad I can't fit into them anymore. Maybe my offspring may get to experience such things if they are not already conditioned to favor the plastic sets that lack the flavor of weathered metal and limitless possibilities.

I'm guessing the trend towards the plastic sets is fueled by ludacrious safety concerns of anxiety-fuelled parents and the dominance of numbers among planning committees. If you apply the rule of irony, the sterile approach to child's play, in the name of safety, may put these children at risk of not experiencing unique and symbolic monuments of their experience on Earth. Eventually they'll see that these plastic sets are among thousands and their realizations about life could be more bleak as they become more comfortable with homogenity.

So, scarecrow swingsets, swing on.
Until your utility is long gone
and maybe in the minds of few
will remain peices of you.