When I was in elementary school, I liked recess. I didn’t like playing football with the other young boys, but I liked “The New Equipment,” a brand new playground set at the corner of the school’s playground. I attended a small school in a small town in North Dakota, and the school didn’t have the newest playground equipment. They had a couple of old, rusty merri-go-round; a line of twisty, chain-link swings; monkey-bars; and a white, chipped-paint spiral slide. So when The New Equipment was built, we were ecstatic.

Everyone called it The New Equipment. There was a wooden bridge, a tick-tack-toe game, new monkey bars, and a number of slides. My favorite was the tunnel slide at the top. We used to plug up the slide like hair in a drain, until the teachers would come over and yell at us. The girls would get mad when they’d go down the slide and bump into our bunched-up bodies. We would laugh and encourage people to plug up the entire slide.

We loved The New Equipment.

I walked by the elementary school today and The New Equipment is no longer there. The school has knocked it down and replaced it with a basketball court. There’s also an even newer equipment set – all shiny in its new plastic colors. I’m not sure when they did this (I’ll ask my mom later today) but I stopped and just stared because there were so many memories with The New Equipment.

Has anyone ever felt this kind of nostalgia for something no longer there?

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