My home family always felt blessed because we lived only a block away from a piece of paradise, Lola Valley Park. Its name was as beautiful as the creation God made it to be. It had a huge crater formation filled with many trees, fields of grass, and a charming stream that ran through it.
In the spring flowering trees and bushes created a canvas just like a Monet painting. And, kid’s kites danced in the air as the wind carried them over the new grass.
Summertime slipped in with sunshine bright that filtered through the massive willow, elm, and maple trees. It was the time for baseball with the crack of bats and the thud of balls hitting mitts, which resounded throughout the fields.
Autumn brought lovely trees that gave a kaleidoscope of riotous gold, red, yellow, and green foliage. Awestruck folks would comment on the wondrous work of God. This scene brought joy and wonder to all soul searchers around.
Winter in Lola Valley was a Winter Wonderland dream come true. Now snow covered trees were draped like a virgin’s wedding gown. Winter sports abounded, hockey, sledding, and skating, with giggles and guffaws peppering the night.
When I was just a small child, my mother and I would walk to Lola Valley almost every day. We’d walk the trail that separated asbestos bungalow homes in our post WWII neighborhood. We’d hold hands and sing kid’s gospel songs along the way. I loved it when she would sing “Que Sera, Sera;” it just made my heart glow. Being a youngster, I always wondered what the future would bring.
Mom caused a lot of attention as we walked to the park. With striking sapphire eyes and lustrous auburn hair, heads would turn at her appearance. And, her personality was so vibrant that she greeted all the neighbors with a hearty “Hello!” Like they say, “Mom never met a stranger.” I was so proud of her and loved her so much;” I copied her in every way.
As a small child, “precocious” described me because I said and did mature things. With my long blonde, wavy hair and sky blue eyes, I caused a lot of attention, too. Our all-American looks caused a minor stir as we happily marched to the park.
When we arrived at the park, Mom would carefully watch me roll down the hill. Soft green grass would cushion my playful stunt as I hit the bottom. Then, I’d run to the swings, my favorite. In those days we didn’t have fancy playground equipment; we had swings, slides, teeter totters, and monkey bars. Those were sufficient for our recreation. All this “antique” equipment brought just as much joy to us as the fancy, expensive equipment does to the 21st Century.
I really couldn’t swing yet so Mom would push me. Higher and higher I’d go and laugh with glee. Of course, I loved the baby slide, and I was proud to slide all by myself. Yet, Mom guarded me whenever I used this piece. I needed a partner to teeter totter so Mom would help me. She’d push the empty seat while I went high and low.
We’d eat lunch from a sack. Mom brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a cookie, and an apple. The fresh air made our lunch taste delicious.
We’d stay and play at the park for about an hour, and walk home slow-paced and droopy eyed. Mom and I both took a nap when we arrived home.
Sadly, one thing I remember about the park was the vacant, shallow cement swimming pool. It was closed due to the polio virus that thrived in those days. At one time it was a center for happy, splashing kids.
Today I am a senior citizen, and those precious days have long passed. Lola Valley Park brings back vivid memories of childhood, innocence, and Mom. Although I can still go to this beautiful park, I can’t be with my mom. She lives in heaven with Jesus. But, someday I’ll meet her again in the beautiful parks of heaven.
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