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Building The Playground This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The day dawned cold and damp, with the sun hidden behind rain clouds. A light drizzle misted the air - the piles of wood quietly waiting for the tools and the people. People arrived, bringing families and friends. The open end of a truck was headquarters where names were collected, tools given out, and jobs assigned. The younger kids were sorted by age in the cafe, and given games, playdough, crayons, and paper. Volunteers, myself included, found themselves dealing with crying and lost children, fights, and all the other pleasant jobs involved in babysitting.

Out on the construction site, order eventually arrived as people were paired off regardless of expertise. That is how professional carpenters ended up working alongside people who had never picked up a hammer before. Despite the power shortages and the seeming lack of direction, everyone gave their best and the building progressed. At lunch time, an incredible potluck drew the workers to fill the cafe tables. The meal was well-deserved after hours of damp work.

When the dessert plates were empty, the adults went back outside where the site was a mess due to the unceasing rain. Nonetheless, the children settled down to play and the adults worked until it was time to leave. The playground began to have a recognizable shape.

Sunday brought sunshine and a chilling wind that sliced through our heavy clothing. It was an awful day to sand, with the dust being whipped into the air and faces. The kids came outside to the canvas tarp. Saturday they had soaped screws and Sunday they sanded benches. Many kids had no mittens, but they didn't complain, and the benches were finished. When the kids went inside, they found that a huge roll of paper had been set up for everyone to sign.

The playground was quickly nearing completion, when an emergency suddenly arose - there wasn't enough gravel. Then someone offered the needed loads for free! Stories like that kept people going until the building was done. The paper, covered in signatures, was carefully wrapped around the structure. On a count of three, a tidal wave of kids broke onto the playground to swing, to crawl through tunnels, and jump off platforms. With the help of volunteers, the Rindge Playground was complete.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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