Tales of our Beginnings
Cadott • Cornell • Lake Holcombe areas
Unsafe at Any Speed, Part 2
St. Joseph School’s playground equipment was typical of the day. There were teetertotters, wooden in nature and complete with free slivers. And the old, “you’re on the up end of the teeter-totter, so I think I will walk away now,” trick, was never not funny.
The merry-go-round was great fun and a pretty tame ride for younger children, except, sometimes, older children looked for a little more excitement. The goal then was to build up enough speed, by pushing and pumping for a wild ride.
However, sometimes the result of the speed was a continuing departure of children from the ride to the ground.
It was almost like a game and the last child on board was the “winner.” Another result of the speed and spinning, was the merry-go-round rider sometimes became sick to the stomach. Then, the only choice was to throw up toward the center of the equipment or out toward the playground. Neither choice was a good one.
Slides were shiny metal and could build up a good deal of heat on a hot day. The sides of the slide were built up slightly, but there was little to prevent falls and when one looked down from the top of the slide, the ground was a long way away. Children exited the slide by landing with both feet on the ground, at the bottom of the run.
After all this foot sliding, a depression developed in front of slide and after a rain, the hole turned into a big mud puddle. If a child held off putting their feet down until after the puddle was passed, he might judge the distance incorrectly and land in the water.
No doubt equipment designed for children today is safer than it was years ago, but there was plenty of exercise to be had.
Children ran to, and from, recess and for at least an hour a day they ran, jumped, climbed and spun, all under the watchful eye of the teacher Sisters.
Those dedicated ladies did not miss much.
(Courtesy of the Cadott Area Historical Society)