Sunday, April 3, 2011

52 Weeks - Spring: Playgrounds, Blue Grass, and Earrings

The Bronx was like suburbia in the 1950s, believe it or not. We lived in an apartment building 1 block from Bronx Park adjacent to the Bronx River in the Northeast Bronx. This park district is now known as "Shoelace Park." By the 1980s, it had become known informally as "Needle Park" and wasn't safe day or night, I understand. (I had moved away long before.)

But back in my day, it was pretty and green and a world apart from the bustle of the city that was a subway ride away.

My mom, Daisy Burk, would pull out the baby buggy every spring, tuck my baby sister Harriet in with a hand-crocheted afghan, and take my twin Isabel and me for a stroll in the park. She wore the fragrance Blue Grass, by Arden, her favorite. (My sister  especially loved that fragrance and the childhood memories it evoked.)

First stop on our Bronx Park spring stroll was "The Circle" aka "The Horse Shoe," a group of benches arranged inside a horse-shoe-shaped stone fence within the park. The moms would sit on benches under the trees while we kids played. Sometimes we'd ride our bikes round and round the circle. Sometimes we'd explore the "woods" outside the bench area.

Another favorite stop was the playground, at E. 227th Street in Bronx Park. In the summer, this playground had free arts 'n' crafts activities for kids and bug-juice (colored sugar water, it tasted like) for a snack. Here's a pair of earrings that one of we twins made for our mom. Unfortunately, these were for pierced ears and hers weren't pierced, but she kept them forever and now I have them in my jewelry box, a treasured memento of Mom and those crafty days.

My twin Izzi just reminded me of one more favorite activity in the playground above--playing King/Queen (a kind of street handball) against one of the retaining walls. Each box was a lower rank, starting from the left. I remember our personal twist on this game. King, Queen, Jack, 10, and then . . . Toilet Bowl, the lowest rank :)


  1. What delightful memories! I have always lived pretty much in the middle of nowhere...I cannot imagine a childhood in a city!

    I have twin daughters, who are all grown up now - - they have a special bond, as I am sure you have with your twin sister!

  2. Thanks for your comments, Dorene! Glad to hear about your twins. Mom was a twin, too, so she knew first-hand how close twins can be. Take care,