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This is a story about me and my sister, Barb! Now, you have to understand that when we were young kids we were total nerds. I was more of a real nerd than Barb was but we were awkward, a little chunky, not graceful, not athletic and we were in our own ways shy. I retreated to books and loved that private world. Barb had reading problems that took a while to be diagnosed so she was not so good at reading which meant she didn't have her own retreat. That meant she retreated onto me. Being a big sister was a pain at times but we were stuck with each other for better or for worse. This is a story about "the better" part of our young lives. It involved THE SWING SET!!!!! Now, I honestly don't remember if we got the swing set when we were still living in Houston, Texas or if we got it in Alexandria, Louisiana. I think we got it in Houston but it took on a whole new significance in Alexandria. You see when we lived in Houston there were a LOT of kids our age on our street. We had a whole crew of people to play with and have fun with. It was a great neighborhood to live in as a kid. There were two families that we were really close to and they had kids that were near our age so life was GRAND!!!!! Then daddy got transferred and we moved. Yep, we had to leave all of our friends behind to move somewhere that we didn't know a soul.

There were no kids in the first neighborhood we moved to in Alexandria. I mean ZERO!!!! There was a teenaged type guy next door or something who had a big old hound dog of some type but since we were eight and five mom did not want us hanging out with him. We did meet some kids when we started school but well, it was a difficult row to hoe. I honestly don't remember if the swing set was set up at that house or not. It was a rental until mom and dad could find a nice house in the 'burbs to buy and I really don't remember being outside that much at the first house. It was on a busy street and there wasn't a fence in the back yard so I don't think we did play outside much while living there and I kind of doubt that the swing set was up but it might have been.

Things changed though when mom and dad found a house in the 'burbs and we moved. Now we had a really busy six or so weeks. Our mom had a baby, we acquired a little brother who we were both all "ga ga" over and then we moved. We actually moved on my birthday. It was a little house, mom used to say that you could "fart in one end of the house and smell it in the other end" but I think she was exaggerating just a little bit. It wasn't big though I can tell you that. However, the backyard was BIG, we had a mimosa tree that we could climb, there were ponies that lived in the field behind us and horses in the field across the street, we could ride our bikes all over the place and we had our SWING SET!!!!!

Now, there weren't many kids our age in the new neighborhood. There were four girls on our street who were our age. One of the girls didn't really play outside or with anyone else. The other three girls(two were sisters who lived right next door)were kind of "rough." We had been reared to be extremely well behaved. These girls didn't have as much supervision and well they would have been called kind of "wild" if they had been teenagers but since we were all under 10 the term "wild" didn't really apply to that age group back in 1966.

These three girls went to school together in public school, we went to Catholic school. They had known each other for a while, we were literally the new kids on the block. We were outsiders and it didn't feel good. Barb and I played with each other and as time went by we were able to really ride our bikes around the neighborhood but the best was yet to come...SUMMERTIME!!!!!!! That's right SUMMERTIME arrived and we had a kick ass swing set that bet the heck out of any other swing sets around. Now, don't get to thinking that my parents were rich and bought this snazzy swing set because they weren't and they didn't. My daddy worked for Armour Meat Packing Company and they used to have some kind of incentive program or some such thing where daddy could get free stuff for certain things. Well, one of those things he got was this totally AWESOME swing set. I think it had to have been like a top of the line swing set for the time. Now of course it was mostly metal which would never do these days but back then it was "killer diller."

This was a big swing set it was white, orange/peach, yellow and turquoise, nice summer colors. It had two swings, a teeter totter or see-saw(depending on what you called it...two seats, one for each person and you would swing back and forth), a glider which had two seats that held two people each AND a slide. Back then a slide was spiffy enough but most swing sets either had the see-saw or possibly a glider(not very often though)but we didn't know anyone else who had both the glider AND the see-saw. We also didn't know anyone else who had a slide. We were HOT STUFF!!!! Not only that but our mom let us play in the sprinkler on a regular basis. Well, the three girls who had been kind of stuck up decided we might be worth playing with because we had a most superb swing set and we got to play in the sprinkler on those hot Louisiana summer days.

We tried not to lord it over those other girls that we had a kick ass swing set and they didn't have any swing sets at all but in private we were a little smug among ourselves. Ahem! Now there were still squabbles and sometimes the other girls would get their "noses out of joint" about something so they would quit playing with us but even though our feelings were hurt we knew that we had the BEST swing set in the whole world and they'd be back. They liked playing on our swing set too much. Besides our mom also got us a "flip side" swimming pool too. So we had all of the good stuff at our house. Another benefit was that sometimes our mom would make Kool-Aid for everyone. She was the coolest mom on the block I can tell you that.

We lived in that house for two years. Then we moved again. The next move wasn't too bad because we were moving back to Little Rock, Arkansas where our MEEMA BARBARA lived. Talk about life being good. We were coming back HOME!!!! We still had our awesome swing set but we were getting a little older and in our new neighborhood there weren't any kids to impress with our awesome swing set but it had served its purpose. For two summers we were the "goddesses" of the swing set and no one but no one could take that away from us. Bwa, ha, ha!!!



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