Sunday, March 4, 2012

Miller Park(ed)

In college I had to write a paper for one of my classes about the regulations concerning playgrounds that took place somewhere between 1993 and 2003--I got an A on the paper but I can't remember exactly when the government regulations were enforced and how. All I know is, playgrounds are not like they used to be when I was growing up. I was reminded of this today when I visited Miller Park and the old playground had been removed all together--without a trace, unless you count an almost completely covered with grass, old sidewalk.

I have no idea when they finally took it away. It could have been 2 years ago or 10 years ago or longer but I do remember it (I think?): I believe there was a log cabin and those little rocking horse animals (like they had at Mcdonalds), maybe a merry-go-round. I feel like this little guy at the new playground is a nod to the past:

Back then they didn't care that we could fall to the ground and crack our heads on pavement. We were tough. We played on pavement and had no car seats. Screw a car seat. You could see the road from the floor of my grandpa's VW Bug.

One of my earliest memories is my "Pa" taking me to the Fireman fountain at Miller Park (which has not worked in a very long time). In those days, kids would play in the fountain and Pa would give me money to throw in the fountain. My very earliest memory was being 3-years-old and wanting to stay at the park with Pa so badly that I pooped in my pants. I held it in a lot those days. I swear to god I think the ADHD constipates children because they don't want to go through all the necessary steps of toileting. It's personally exhausting to me to this day--pants off, go, wipe, pants up, wash hands. I mean really. Enough already.

I even remember when the pool was not there--or at least I think I do. Can anyone tell me when it was reestablished because I can't for the life of me recall it being there in 1985?

Anyway, here is a random list of memories I have that concern Miller Park. Until you spend some quiet time digging, you'll never realize how much of your precious moments are tied up in one place:

1. When I was in High School my best friend (she's still my best friend) and I walked through the park and some random creepy, crack-head-type person shoved his wrist in her face and said,"See this watch? It's a nice watch. Do you want to buy a watch?" I ran and she continued conversing with him.

2. The same best friend found a random pornographic Polaroid of a man's genitals and brought it to school to show me what a penis looked like. Her prior attempts with drawings were atrocious and still are to this day (not that she draws a lot of penises--not to say she's unattractive). In an unrelated story my mother also pulled up to the Taco Bell in Madison Heights and discovered a similar photo attached to the underside of the drive-thru window. She did not share the same joy as Danielle in allowing me to view it.

3. My favorite season is autumn and Kaleidoscope, to me, is one of the harbingers of fall. "Day in the Park"--being so close to my home--always makes a part of me feel like a kid again. 

4. I remember feeding the squirrels in the park with Mom. Once, a squirrel came right up to me and put his upper lip on my finger before taking the nut and running away. He did not offer to sell me a watch.

5. Miller Park is beautiful in the winter. Erik and I, during a bad snow one year, braved through the cold to take photos. 

It's unfortunate it is not as it used to be. Miller Park isn't in an area like Rivermont and I noticed that the exercise points around the track are gone, the cannon is gone, and of course the fountain is off. I know it must be due to vandalism and theft and it's sad. I am thankful, however, that with so many things that change and pass away--buildings that have burned down or programs that have been long gone--it is one staple in the city that I can still go to and remember the good old days--and the new day don't look all that different. 


  1. I think I read somewhere recently, that "Day in the Park" will be no more?

  2. I heard that too, but I think there was confusion and Kaleidoscopic will be no more in an official sense. I heard that a lot of the events will still happen, including DITP.