My childhood growing up on the east side of Indianapolis consisted of long summer days playing outside, driving past Big Al Green’s, and trips to Ellenberger Park to play in the carriage. There are times when I look back on those days and my heart aches for what children are missing out on today. We ran with the other kids until the street lights came on and we spent barely a minute indoors. We got multiple bee stings, ate gluten and didn’t worry about it, and didn’t worry so much about simply everything.
Anyone who grew up on the east side of Indianapolis knows the exact carriage I’m talking about when I mention I played there. It was a giant orange pumpkin you could crawl inside of on a playground called Ellenberger.
The carriage had giant yellow wheels. Inside the carriage was a bench you could sit on, or you could pretend to drive the carriage if you wanted to climb onto the bench on front.
Ellenberger Park was a hub of activity back then, in an area that was surrounded by nice homes and nicer people. In the winter, the kids took to the hill with their sleds or visited the indoor ice skating rink, pretending to be Dorothy Hamill. Some girls even had her signature haircut.
Surrounding the carriage was a patch of dirt, likely worn down by the hundreds of children who dashed to that carriage, pretending to be Cinderella or pretending to drive the carriage.
In front of the carriage were three little spring type things you rode on. These were at most parks in the 70s and were shaped like animals. The best way I can think to describe them is as a rocking horse on a giant spring. They had handles and you rocked back and forth until you felt as though you’d tilt right off the thing.
Childhood seemed so simple back then. The world was a different place. We need more carriages and playground equipment on giant springs. Or maybe we just need to once again discover that innocence that made the world simply a better place for children to live.