Friday, March 29, 2013

Slide of Death

While scanning in a few more pictures found recently among my recently deceased great uncle's belongings, I stumbled across two pictures that brought back a memory from my youth that I probably hadn't thought about in thirty years. They reminded me of the Slide of Death!

The Slide of Death is seen in great detail in the photo above. It was built out of an old emergency fire exit slide off a school building as was popular back in the day. These days all you see are fire escape stairways that wind down. Anyway, the slide was built on an already fairly steep hillside and as you can see, the upper end was a good twenty feet from the ground. All in all, when you slid down the highly ass polished surface of the tube, you got a really good head of steam going by the time you hit the exit.

That is why I had to include the picture at the bottom of this post. Although you came out of the pipe not far off the ground, you were heading upwards and away and if you really tossed yourself down the beginning of the slide, you could fly a full dozen feet out the end of the pipe before hitting the ground. You can see this by the large bare dirt area that extends well beyond the end of the tube.

My first few times down the slide as a young boy while visiting my grandparents in Forest City, Iowa, I took it pretty easy. But after I got the hang of controlling my body as I flew through the air at the bottom, I gradually put more effort into it. It wasn't long before my brother and I were having contests to see who could jump the farthest from the end of the slide. It is a wonder we didn't break a bone.

Which brings me to my next point. I'm guessing that slide is long gone and we would probably never see another one like it especially on school grounds where that one was located. I mean someone could *gasp* get hurt and sue the school for building such an unsafe contraption. Fortunately for me, I lived during a time when kids ran wild in the back seats of moving cars and jumping from slides wasn't just acceptable, it was encouraged by grandparents anxious to let two young boys burn off some steam before heading back to their house.

P.S. The people in the pictures are my uncle, aunt and my only two cousins from this side of the family.


sage said...

At first, before reading, I was wondering if someone found way to recycle 55 gallon barrels by cutting out the bottom and welding them together... Of course, that could really be hazardous as you slide down rusty barrels that stored who-knows-what.

Ed said...

Sage - That would be a bit rough! As I remember it, the metal on the inside of the slide was polished to a mirror finish on the bottom side from the thousands of butts that had used it!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a huge Alp Horn.

JaneofVirginia said...

I would have loved that when I was a child !

Bone said...

This looks like something my sister would have been hesitant to go down and I would have been like, "Oh, you'll be fine..." *push*

We used to ride around in the backs of pickup trucks. I'm not sure that was legal, even then, but everybody did it.