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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cliveden Park

Cliveden Park is a great park in Philadelphia. Its at Johnson and Musgrave Streets in Mt. Airy. Its a large city block, and its part of the Philadelphia Park system, probably the largest park system in a city in the world. I grew up across the street from Cliveden Park. My dad taught me how to throw and catch a baseball there. I played softball there, and tackle football, and ran through the hills on the Cliveden Street side throughout my childhood. In 1976 I think, a tornado touched down in the middle of the park, and took out many of the old trees. It was a scary Sunday afternoon, and I took pictures of the aftermath. The park was not the same after that. Whenever I go home to visit, I drive past the park, just to look at it and remember. I took pictures there last year, and will post some of them later. There was a muddy gully in the park, right where we played softball. It was probably part of an underground creek. When I played softball in the park, there were a bunch of older guys playing, and sometimes girls too. Once I was standing beside the big tree at home plate, and an older girl was up at bat. She swung and hit the ball, and slung the bat really hard. It hit me square in the chest, and I almost passed out. I ran to the hill which was next to Johnson Street gasping for air. I was crawling up the hill as the other kids ran to me to see if I was okay. I can still remember trying to get air into my lungs, and I thought I was done for. It took a while to get my breath back, and the other kids told me I was standing to close to the plate. I stood behind the tree after that. I played softball for couple of years in the park after that, but those kids left the park, and a new bunch came in, and we switched to tackle football in the soft leaves of autumn. We played that for couple of years then stopped playing in the park. After that, I would ride my bike through the park, and take pictures, but not hang out there. Matter of fact, nobody hung out and played in the park anymore. But it was a beautiful park back in the sixties and early seventies.


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