Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oh, And Don't Play On The Railroad Tracks

In 1949 my parents bought a house in Tinley Park, Illinois. The house was a cookie cutter, cape cod style, plopped down in the middle of a former corn field, along with about a hundred others. The best part about it were the woods that abutted the subdivision. It was the best playground any kid could want, full of trees, a creek, a sledding hill, railroad tracks, and an occasional hobo, which my mother would always warn us about. That was another good thing about those times, our mother didn't put many restrictions on us despite the hobo dangers.

While exploring with my older brother one day, deep in the woods we found a small cabin built by the hobos out of old railroad timbers. To a little kid, it seemed to be the coolest thing, and for one summer we made that our hangout. Every day we would drag our lunch and camping supplies out to that cabin, and defend it from other kids who also had an eye on it. One of the funkier aspects of the cabin was the 'pee corner'. You see when my brother or I had to take a pee, we would step over to the designated corner and let it fly. Naturally over a period of time that corner got to be a bit ripe, and after a while we seemed to play outside and on top of the cabin in the fresh air, much more than inside. There was one other rule to the pee corner, and that was that girls weren't allowed to use it. They had to go outside in the bushes, and if they didn't bring any tissue paper, they had to use a suitable leaf off of the shrubbery. This resulted in my sister quickly learning what poison ivy and poison oak looked like.

Yes we had a lot of fun in those woods. I understand it has been turned into a park now, and all of the risk has been taken out of my childhood playground. Not even a few hobos to scare the crap out of the little kiddies.


  1. I'm thinking the cleaned up park has more for kiddies to fear than the woods we explored. Especially since it is surrounded by various ball fields and a playground.... hunting grounds for pedophiles. Remember the "deflated balloons" that were laying all around the wooded area?? I still didn't understand after being told they were "rubbers"......

  2. Didn't you ever find any bones or skeletal remains?