My Father Albert, made play equipment for my siblings to play on at the farm. He was very creative and the children had great imaginations which made it all the more fun.
My Dad made horses out of old oil barrels for the kids. He painted 3 barrels all in different colors, white, brown and black so that each of his children had their own horse. My siblings would each sit on the barrel, with a stick in their hand. This would act as their riding crop to move their horses along. Oh, the places their pretend horses would take them to were countless and oh so enjoyable. That is until the noise of the sticks hitting the side of the drums became to loud for Grandpa George Elhardt. He could take only so much. He’d go into the house and address his annoyance to his wife Lydia, our Grandma. She would then smooth his ruffled feathers the best she could. Grandma would then talk with her grandchildren; my siblings. Alanna, Janice and Henry would listen respectfully to their Grandmother, nodding in agreement that they would stop riding for the day. But soon after Grandma went into the house, they would once again be on their horses riding along.
Dad also made a teeter totter for my sibling’s pleasure. Only problem with that was only 2 of them could play on it at a time. But it did come in handy when their cousins came over.
Mom suggested a swing set for their children. Dad took it upon himself to use the resources provided by visiting the forest at the back of the property to obtain the material to accomplish this feat. Saw in hand he went to find just the right size trees to design it. After sawing the tree down, he would have to clear all the branches and smooth it out for safety reasons for the kids. Even so the swing set was rustic at best as there was still bark left on the poles. Setting out to achieve his goal, the children watched anxiously while their father dutifully built their swings. He made 2 A frames for either end of the set and attached another log along the top to support the swings. Between the 2 frames he placed 2 swings. Feeling that a third swing was needed he made an addition by attaching a piece of wood to the log extending it pass the A frame. Next, he hung rope, threading it through the drilled holes on a piece of wood and knotting them at the bottom. Now there was 3 swings for their 3 children. All would have their own swing. Being finished the children would spend hours on the swings, enjoying themselves immensely. As time passed, my parents noticed that the swing on the extended piece of wood on the end of the A frame was no longer safe for the children to use. They told Alanna, Henry and Janice that they could no longer use the third swing for safety reasons until their Father could fix it. They explained this meant that the three of them would have to take turns on the swings. On one particular day, Alanna, Henry and Janice all ran out the door as fast they could to see who could get the first turn on the swings. Alanna and Henry proved to be faster. Janice knew she had to wait her turn, so that is just what she did, she waited, and waited, and waited. Janice’s patience running thin, after asking many times, and wanting to have fun on the swing too, sat on the third broken swing. She pushed off and after only a few swings, the wood broke, coming straight down on Janice. Alanna and Henry knowing that they were about to be in big trouble and worried about their little sister ran to her side. They offered Janice their swings and said that they would even push her, but Janice sat crying, visibly hurt, as there was blood on her face and no longer wanted any part of the swings. Our Father heard Janice’s cry’s and came out to see what had happened. He picked up Janice, wiped away her tears while walking into the house comforting her all the way. Inside the house he attended to her wounds, which was a broken nose. Alanna and Henry watched, concerned for their sister. After Janice was settled and treated for her injury her sister and brother tried to explain that they had offered Janice their swings to try to make her feel better after her fall. No spankings were received that day, but a stern talking to was given by our Father. A third swing was never added to the swing set and the children learned how to share their time.