Appalachia Through My Eyes – Swing Sets

My life in appalachia - Swingsets
One blue-one yellow-both slides that have resided in my back yard for more than 10 years. Now they lay in a heap-with the seesaw and swings thrown on top. We never needed 2 swing sets to begin with, but due to the generosity of others (grandparents) Chitter and Chatter ended up with 2 swing sets to entertain themselves and their friends. And entertain they did until about 2 years go. Since then the swings have been idle, the slides have been empty, and the seesaw has been still.

Did you have a swing set? I did-and I loved mine. When I was 4 or 5 years old we moved into the house Pap built. Moving a family with 3 kids, Paul was just a baby, was an ordeal. I’m sure moving my swing set was the last thing on Pap’s mind, but I wanted it moved.

By the time Pap finally found time to move it a new family had moved into our little house by Sherlocks. Every time Pap went to get my swing set their little girl was on it. Pap didn’t have the heart to make her get off so he kept putting it off. Finally came a day when she wasn’t swinging on it when Pap arrived and at long last I was reunited with my swing set. Parts of it are still in the woods between my house and Pap’s. When I see them I remember the little girl I never knew who swung on my swing set and I remember the little girl I used to be hanging upside down to scare Granny.

Makes me wonder if someday Chitter and Chatter will remember the day we took down their swing sets-if they’ll remember all the dance routines they created with the aide of 2 slides, 4 swings, a seesaw, and a few ladders.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I didn’t have a swing set. But I spent a lot of time sitting in the old apple tree in the back yard.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I remember I had two swing sets. My family moved to the country when I was a baby. I remember swinging with my next door neighbor (cousin) while waiting for my older sisters to get in from school. Later, when slips from a coal mine above our house made us move to the hill across from us, we had a swing set there, too. It could have been the same one, I don’t know. I remember many days playing on that swing set.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    April 11, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Being as I was brought up in a larger city with a city park and school playground nearby, there was no need to have my own swing set. In those days kids could roam freely with no fear.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 11, 2011 at 12:25 am

    In pumping system workshops that I teach, I use a kid on a swing to help illustrate one of the great equations of engineering and physics – the Bernoulli principle. The up-and-down motion isn’t a perfect analogy, but pretty doggone good.
    There is a poem entitled “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.” There’s a lot of truth to the concept – although we didn’t have kindergarten when I was growing up 😉

  • Reply
    April 11, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Until just a few years ago, I still had the frame to the swing set I grew up with. Our daughters had fun swinging on it until a tree fell on it during a storm and broke it in half:(
    After that, my husband rigged up some swings on top of the hill from the house and they are still there. And….they are strong enough for adults to swing on, like those in the big parks. I feel silly confessing that I still like to swing–but I do!

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Until I was 7 we lived in a trailor court & just about all the kids had swing sets. It was fun going from house to house playing on different slides & swings. Then we moved to the farm & boy did I hate it. No friends, no swings & no slides. We improvised by sliding down the slanted cellar doors & swinging on the T Poles in the back yard that were for hanging clothes on. It was hard as an 8 year old to go from having friends around all the time & lots to do (playwise)to seclusion & chores but of course now I wouln’t have it any other way:)

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    We kids never had a store bought set. Ours was made of (what I’m sure must have been) locust posts firmly planted in the ground. A rope swing with a board seat. Loved that thing. I can still see the knothole on the side where Daddy used to stick firecrackers to light them. Aaaah, the memories. Makes me want to cry.

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    April 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I remember the day I got my swing set. My Mom and I had been to Grandpa for the weekend. He drove us home. When we pulled in the driveway, there was this beautiful swing set in the yard. Grandpa died the next summer. I loved it we had it for years. Later, it had a porch swing on it. Then when my kids were young it became is kids swing again. I have one if my yard. Still swing on it. Barbara

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I used to go on the swing a lot as a child but we didn’t have one at home, so I used the swing set at my school or the one at the park nearby.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I don’t remember ever having a swing set per say like metal, slide, etc…We did have a chain attached to an old willow that hung down with a board seat, that bobbed up and down when you would swing, typical of old willow limbs…Seems it didn’t last that long..later my brothers rigged up an old tire swing on a rope..
    We used to go to the woods where there were huge grape vines and swing on those across a little trickle of a crick…
    My Dad did build me a small playhouse on one end of a wood storage shed..but it seemed like a huge house to me..My best childhood friend and I cooked many mud pie cakes on the little wood stove with painted eyes and latch-hook oven door..served with plantin leaf and clover bloom salad…Long since gone…
    My boys had a metal swing set..slide, two swings, glider seat, etc…we also had a rope swing in the woods for them to swing on..They soon tired of it due to the fact they would rather play cork ball in the front yard. Advancing on to little league baseball. One good years use til the newness wore off..ha

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I’m like Sandra (down in Florida,
    I think): never had a swing set
    except those big ones at school
    when I was little. But we had fun
    on grapevines hanging from huge
    trees on the mountain just behind
    our house. You sparked a bunch of
    great memories and I love reading
    the stories of friend’s comments.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Well, I never had a swing set growing up except for the grape vines that hung from the trees that we would grab hold of and swing way out, sometimes falling other times making it back to swap out and let everyone take turns. Was tons of fun on warm sunny days. Days as we get older fondly remembered.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 11:43 am

    when i was a child there were no swing sets, they had swings at school, but none at home. we did have a porch swing as did almost all houses back then, and the one on my grandmothers porch here in FL was my favorite, my great grand daddy built it and it was oversized since he and my grand dad were really tall and big men. i would put a pillow on it lay down with a book and push with one foot. i do miss it

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I had a swing set, it was red with 2 swings, a seesaw, but no slide. I spent hours on the swing lost in my own world. It was my place to daydream, sing, imagine what it would be and just be happy. It was the social center of the neighborhood. When my sisters came along many years later they were assigned the seesaw if I was home. A bit selfish, but it was mine and I was sharing!

  • Reply
    Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds
    April 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I remember the day mom and dad put up our swing set with the yellow swings. I don’t recall when they took it down. This reminds me that I want to get one for my daughter!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 10, 2011 at 10:09 am

    my swing was a tall tree from which my grandfather stripped the bark and then split part way up and wedged it open with a seat — the best thing about that swing was in the 90s I went back to see the house and there was the chain still in the tree– you would have thought I’d found a pirate’s treasure!

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    April 10, 2011 at 9:26 am

    OH yes.. we had a swing set and I remember many hours just swinging. You don’t have to think while you swing, you just swing! I used to swing while my mama hung out the clothes.
    Later when my own children had a swing set it had one of those little things that 4 kids can swing in, two on each side, facing one another..( I can’t remember what you call that thing!? ) anyway, we got a puppy and I remember that puppy would swing with my daughter all the time. I came home from work one day to find the puppy had fallen out but his leg was hung. He had broken his leg! The dog had been swinging in that swing every day after the kids went to school! Poor thing.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

    They are growing up, aren’t they. I’m not sure I can stand it.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 9:16 am

    We always had a swing set in the back yard growing up and my children even got to enjoy the same set when they were growing up when they went over to their grandparents. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

    This is a good story. That part about Pap attempting to go and bring the swing set home but, each time the little girl was playing on it and he just didn’t have the heart to take it from her speaks volumes about his character. HE IS MY KIND OF FOLKS.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 8:45 am

    The nearest thing we had to a swing set in my younger days was a chain attached to a tree limb with a notched out board to sit on and a tire with a rope attached to it hung on another limb down the road. Didn’t know about the metal swing sets til my daughter got one. Still have the frame but the swings and slide bit the dirt along time ago.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 10, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Our swing was a rope hung from a white oak limb which was about 20 ft off the ground. Daddy passed the rope through a board with two holes drilled in it, if I recall correctly, but at some point it just became a plain rope seat. Young behinds didn’t mind.
    Because of the length, you could really get going on that swing. In the fall when that old oak started shedding its leaves, we’d pile them up several feet deep and launch during the upward flight of the swing – from maybe 10 feet up and flap our “wings” before landing in the leaf pile. Pure homemade fun.
    The rope, the oak, and its annual bounty of leaves and acorns – some of which would bounce off the metal roof of the front porch, sounding like a there was a war going on during a windy October night – are long since gone.
    But the memories are locked away in a compartment with other treasures beyond measure.
    Just hoping that I don’t forget where I put the key, so I can bring them out to play with every now and then…

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    April 10, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I forgot I had a swing set. All I remember about it was the frame. We would crawl all over it like monkeys. When we moved to my grandma’s house we had a swing that was just a board and some rope. That’s the swing I remember and love. You could go as high as the sky. My kids had a great swing set, they wore it out. I finally used the frame to run beans up. Just planted my garden around that old rusted frame.

  • Reply
    Phyllis Salmons
    April 10, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Daddy bought a swing set (I always had the notion it was for me, but my brothers might argue the point). It was one of those made of super heavy medal, two swings, a seesaw and a slide.
    The boys were super rough with the set often causing it to topple over. Finally Daddy cememted it into the ground. I don’t remember why (it may have started rusting) but someone painted it along the way.
    We then could swing high and at the top of the assent, we would jump out of the swing and land on the ground. We hung in every possible direction from the cross bars and top bar. We removed the swings and flipped on the top bar(somewhat like a gymnastic balance beam crossbar, but not exactly because of course we never made a full circle over the top). We used wax paper on the slide and zoomed to the bottom.
    Five kids, many cousins, and dozens of friends enjoyed that swing over the years. We had to move from the house by the time I was 13 years old — which means I got about 10 good years of use from it.
    I would have hated to be the person who had to dig it up and move it.
    Good times! Good memories! Thanks Tipper!

  • Reply
    April 10, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Ahh, Tipper! Our ‘swing set’ was an old tire hung from a rope. All five of us kids would patiently wait for a turn on it.
    My kids had a metal swing set, always full of laughing children.
    Hubby salvaged an old frame from somewhere for the grandkids,and built the swings. Now it stands in the yard, with plants hanging from the hooks, bright flowers of memories past.

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