September 13, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Sliding Pon"

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. WPA poster courtesy Library of Congress. Click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading.

I was thinking about the quick slide from Labor Day until Christmas and ended up with this poem that has nothing to do with either holiday, but instead, playground equipment from the past!

I'd like to know if any of my readers called a playground slide a "sliding pon" or "sliding pond"? I believe it's a name used in the New York City area years ago. In my mind I saw it as stemming from "slide upon," but I thought I would look to see if I could find its origins. The Word Maven dismissed my guess: "Two problems with this are that upon is a more formal word than children would normally use, and also of course that slide-upon is not known to have ever been used." Then, I found an entry at Wordwizard, "At the turn-of-the-century (Twentieth!)a company named 'SLIDE-UPON' manufactured the original slide that appeared in many of New York's great playgrounds." It looks like I was at least partially right!

Hey, does anyone remember throwing dust or fine sand on the slide to make the downward ride even faster?

Head over to Teach Mentor Texts for today's Round-Up.

20 comments:

  1. Hi, Diane. Your poem captures the way that playgrounds have been anaesthetized over time. I love the sounds in "climbing the rubber-padded ladder" -- that phrase reminded me of Gertrude Stein's sound poems.

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    1. Thanks, Laura, I like that phrase, too, especially since it's exactly what you get on a modern slide--a rubber-padded ladder! I record what is!

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  2. Love the imagery of a slide being hot, slick and dangerous...so true! And the Slide Pon phrase must be a NYC thing. I've never heard that, but it's an interesting etymology of the phrase.

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  3. My parents both grew up in Queens, and then, when we moved out to "the Island," we took the term with us! I can't remember if that's what it was called at my public school.

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  4. Interesting etymology you present here. I never heard of the slide pon but I think you hit on it's source (I'm originally from NJ). love this little bit of remembering the slides we slid upon! I also remember the very high slide at the lake. Soooo scary!

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    1. Normal playground slides are about the limit, height-wise, for me. Anything much taller and my stomach drops out from under me.

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  5. Love the anticipation you build with "scooting bottom/ half-inch by half-inch until/there is no turning back" and then that fabulous release, "Let go! Let go! Leg go!" Yes, that is definitely how it was/is/will always be... though as you say, less hot and dangerous. We're bringing up a bunch of wimps, I tell you! ;) Don't remember Slide Pon from where I grew up in the suburbs of NYC. Australian kids call slides "slippery dips."

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    1. I love "slippery dips"! How very musical!

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  6. Interesting stuff -- never heard of "slide pon." I do remember the heat on metal slides,though. We usually called it the sliding board. I also love how the anticipation builds climbing up that ladder. Neat poem!

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    1. I had never heard slides referred to as "sliding boards" until I started looking for "sliding pons."

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  7. A four-year-old once exclaimed, while rubbing her bottom after sliding down a hot metal slide, "Ooooh, that slide is SPICY!" Wonderful, evocative poem!

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    1. Spicy! Awesome! There's a poem waiting to happen!

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  8. Oh, I remember those slides...such fun! Thanks for the wonderful poem which brought back great memories.

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    1. And what did they call playground slides in your neck of the woods?

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  9. Our slides were simply "slides." But they were definitely the "spicy" hot metal kind. Thanks for bringing back the memory of "turn of the century" slides. Kids on our playground have to deal with STATIC from the plastic slides!!

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  10. Ooooo, static! I never woulda thunk it!

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  11. Never heard the term "sliding pon" but I was a great slide enthusiast. I loved the "shiny steel" reference, Diane. Nowadays slides are all plastic and practically padded. It's a wonder we all survived our childhoods. =)

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  12. I guess "sliding pon" was used in a very limited geographic area!

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  13. I grew up in Brooklyn (and now have a granddaughter with that name!) and we used the term sliding pon. It is definitely a New York term because after I left NY no one knew what I was talking about. Many warm (!) memories of our times at the local parks playing on the sliding pon.

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