Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Toys at Hodgman's House

Lani Soelberg had a really fun house.  I was only about 5 years old but, this I knew, I wanted to have a fun house too. I believed the only way to achieve this goal was to talk Sam and Joyce (my parents)  into purchasing a trampoline for our back yard.  The Washburn's had one too and even though Paula was my sister Camille's age, I also loved playing at their house.
Well, my parents were not to be talked into such a scary and dangerous toy. It was okay for other people to have one, but we weren't "other people" and so we didn't have to have one too.
Several more of my friends received "tramps" as I grew older, but the Kelly's were never to attain such a treasure.
I vowed that I would someday be a fun mom and buy my own children an exciting, enjoyable, never-get-sick-of toy that would grace our yard.

In the 2 or 3 decades between my desire and my parental right to follow my dream, trampolines changed immensely. They were now usually 14 feet round instead of rectangular and the jumper/jumpee tended to be led to the middle of the tramp as they jumped. The spring wasn't quite as tight so the bounce didn't bounce quite as high as the "old ones". They were actually now designed for the backyard play area instead of a gymnastics or diving gym. In essence, they were actually now quite more safe.

So in 1987 (as far as I can tell) I finally achieved my lifelong dream. I bought my children a trampoline.
We researched them out and located one in Salt Lake City. We didn't want to pay shipping costs, so we packed it into our standard size van on one of our western cross country excursions and schlugged it all the way back to Portland, Oregon.

Look how happy my cute little boys were!
This old picture shows Jonathan (7 yrs) and David (5 yrs).  Leeding's house in background across the street, and the side yard was now repurposed for fun instead of a garden.

The entire neighborhood loved the Hodgman's tramp. Here is Kathryn (1 yr), Jan Leeding, and Kelsey Leeding.
Scott (Leeding's dad) used to "jump" each individual kid to try and get them as high as they could fly. The kids would play "break the egg", and "duck, duck, goose".
The best advantage to the tramp (and Leeding's new pool) was long hard night sleep for everyone. I believe that's when Jan got to start sleeping through the night?

We moved across town to NW Portland in 1990 and our trusty tramp came along with us.

We now had room for both a larger play area and a garden. I'm standing on the sandbox lid in this pix of watering on the sabbath.
The kids all learned more and more tricks on the trampoline.

Jonathan usually spotted himself by never taking his eyes off the tramp. Good trick!

David had a little reckless abandon in his approach. WoooHooo!!!!!

Kathryn is 6 years old and never tired of doing this. You go girl!!!!!

Then of course fearless Stephanie. (very high, but you'll notice no flip) This was a preview of things to come, as she became our little gymnast, double fronts and backs, and eventually a bit of a diver.

Still in the Portland house. Michael getting in on the fun.
The kids would sleep on the tramp in sleeping bags during the summer. They would use it for a fort underneath (no jumping today please). It was a gathering spot for young and old. Snow angels were made on it. Fireworks were lit on it, causing it's first little cauterized holes thanks to Jonathan and his buddies.

Here it sits all erect near all the play things on NW Joseph Ct.
(Sometime I'll show more of this yard, but for now I'm nearly done with this scanning stuff.)

Again we moved, and again we disassembled the trampoline and brought it along to our new house in Northern California.

Michael playing under the trees and near the tramp. We didn't duplicate the sand pile in this new place and sometimes I regret that Michael missed out on the digging, tunneling, flooding, erecting, etc. that the other kids got to be a part of. Sorry Buddy.

The tramp was more than once, a source of trouble. Michael (and Gregory or Scotty) used to duct tape his feet onto a non-trucked skateboard and slide along his kiddie picnic table.... while jumping on the tramp.  NOT A GOOD IDEA.
Stephanie and friends once put dishsoap and water on the surface and slid as far as they could go without falling off, or into the springs, or breaking their necks. Again...NOT A GOOD IDEA.
One day the kids were bringing the tramp over to the pool on the brick surrounding area so they could jump into the pool all wet and crazy. You bet I stopped them.  NOT A GOOD IDEA.
Jumping off the roof of the house onto the tramp is also NOT A GOOD IDEA.
I did allow them to jump from the tree or swing from a rope on the tree to the tramp below. I'm not sure how good idea that was, but somehow I let them do it.
After about 13 years, Kathryn and her friend Katy Mac were jumping one day and the tramp ripped. A non-repairable 2 foot gash. So.... we replaced the tramp with one that they were now selling at Costco.
It cost us 2/3 as much as the first one, and was not as sturdy around the edges where it attaches to the springs, but it has lasted us another 9 years.

The other day Michael, who is now 6'2" and a slight 165 lbs., was goofing around on this old toy of ours and it ripped away from the springs in one place.
After thinking about it for a few days, I said with tears in my eyes, "We don't need a trampoline anymore." It seems silly to keep it for the grandkids to use a few times a year. Some of their parents may be like mine and not feel comfortable with them using a trampoline anyway.
So, I am preparing to say goodbye to an inanimate object and am so sad that this stage in my life is gone.
Perhaps wanting this toy for so many years and then being able to enjoy it vicariously through my own children, I never considered that it would be over one day.
Kinda ridiculous, huh?

.........and I just got home from my last Back-To-School Night. That's pretty sad too.


  1. Boy, can I relate. Not to the tramp, but to the whole passage thing. Definitely bittersweet. (Though I have to admit that I actually kick up my heels mentally every time I pass our high school and realize I am no longer connected with it.)

    That took me some time, though.

    GREAT post. And thanks for the patient scanning.


  2. "the saga of vicki from 5 to 50" is really what you should have titled this post. katy mac & i didn't just rip it, we fell THROUGH it. haha. SO sad to not have a tramp... i guess eventually i'll have to get one of my own.