“Flying High”

1948-50s 057

What kid doesn’t like a swing? Here I am at two on a wonderful contraption hung from a tree. By the time I was three I had an actual swing set with two metal swings. Later we acquired a set with two swings and a glider. The school had swings, parks had swings, friends had swings. When I was a kid the seats on swings were either wood or metal, but the seat was always flat. This allowed two wonderful and often parental discouraged activities. One was standing up on the swing seat. The other was getting high in the air and jumping off the seat.

Getting a swing going by oneself requires the skill of “pumping” one’s legs. It takes kids quite a while to master that. Until then every child continually yells “Push me. Push me.” As the oldest child, I often obliged by pushing my younger siblings until I was tired. The seats were hard edged and it was imperative for me to get out of the way before I was hit in the face by the swing. I remember many adults yelling at kids in the park to “Get away from the swings. You’re going to get hit.”

Sadly some safety conscious people decided to redesign swing seats. They replaced those platform seats with curved rubber.  The first time I encountered one I was angry. It was impossible to stand up on that rubber seat. Besides, they pinched the sides of my legs making it impossible to make the death defying leaps out of the swing.

My husband hung a tire swing from my grandchildren’s tree. The kids swing high and dangerously I suppose, standing and leaping to their hearts’ content. Thankfully no one has discovered how to take the fun out of a tire!

22 thoughts on ““Flying High”

  1. Our school never had the flat ones – always the curved rubber ones. But that didn’t stop us from jumping out of them. Some of the bigger daredevils in the class would jump from the swingset next to the embankment and not just fall the distance from the top of the swing but another 5-6 feet down the hill.

    Now here in Toronto the playgrounds are childproofed to excess. Yes we had lots of injuries, but we also had a great time – and nearly all of the injuries healed completely.


    1. I took it for granted as a kid that one or another classmate would have a broken arm or leg at some point. In fact I always wanted one since having a cast signed was “cool.” I always got stuck in the curved seats.


  2. You’re right about those silly, curved, uncomfortable seats! The flat ones were much better. We were always worried about them flying too high and completely around but no one ever saw it happen. And rope swings from a tree were the best. 🙂


  3. We used to swing the flat seats side to side and crash them into each other, or we would twist the chains as far as we could and spin back and forth until we were dizzy. Did you ever stand on two swing seats at the same time?


  4. The only swings I could use were those in the local park. The swing area was often dominated by older kids who were not really using them, just sitting on them to talk to girls. The Park Keeper used to turn up, and make them let us have our turn. So many kids got hit by them, they kept the first-aid station busy during school holidays.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  5. That’s a really cute picture of you. I’ve never seen anything like that swing setup you’re on. Looks like you probably wouldn’t get pinched on it, anyway.


  6. I STILL love swings, although the new seats tend to crush my adult hips! But you’ve reminded me of a story from my childhood. I actually was hit in the mouth with a metal swing – me and my friend were pushing it back and forth between us instead of swinging on it! I was about four or five years old and wound up having to have my front teeth removed by a dentist. This meant that I spent extra time without my two front teeth as my second set wasn’t ready to grow in yet! My gums got to be super tough!


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