I’ve lived in Royal Oak my whole life except for my college years when I moved to Colorado as well as after I first got married my husband and I moved to Southfield for 6 months.
I was born in Royal Oak in Wm. Beaumont hospital on June 29, 1962. I lived with my parents in the small apartments to the west of Beaumont right on 13 mile road. We lived there for one year then moved to 1210 E. Third street just south of 11 mile. I lived living there right across the street from Marks Park.
Everyday after each meal my brothers and sister couldn’t wait to cross the street to go to the park. The park has swings, a very tall slide, monkey bars, a thing called The spider to climb on and that thing that was round where you’d hold on to the bars and run around till you got the thing going as fast as your legs could carry you then your hop on.
We also had the best playmates. On my street (Third) was Donna, Laura and Amy Rusk. Around the corner from my house on Blair St lived Kelly Clark and across the street from her was Holly Doyle. There was also the Jordano’s, the Aherns and the Zajacks.
There also was a baseball field. We would gather in an area of sand away from the climbing structures abs baseball field to sit with a spoon that we snuck out of the house to dig holes in the hope we could either find treasure or reach China. Every summer Royal Oak parks and recreation would send out teenagers hired by the city to be assigned a park. These 4-5 teenagers were in charge of opening up a large steel box that would sit on a cement platform in the park all year long until summertime. The teenagers would unlock the box.
Kids would come from all over the neighborhood to join in on the fun. There would be tether ball set up. They would pass out those scoop things with a plastic ball that you would toss to your friend who would try to catch the ball with their scoop. There were many arts and crafts available for a nominal price. You could pay five cents to make a lanyard, pot holders, paint on paper, make gods eyes out of yarn and Popsicle sticks.
There would be pet contests where you could bring your pet to the park (on a leash) to show off any talents they had. I once brought my gerbil using bread bag ties for a collar and yarn for the leash. It took a long time to walk that gerbil across the street to the gathered people. They would also have bike parades where you could bring your bike and decorate it with crepe paper in the spokes and shove some crepe paper into the little hole of your handle of your handle bar. We would then be less around the park block riding our bikes.
Summer time in Royal Oak at & Mark’s Park was the best of the best times!! But this wasn’t all there was. Every Wednesday through out the whole year the Royal Oak Public Library had a book mobile that would drive up abs park at the north west side of the park on second street. There was a woman who drive the van. She was the librarian of the book mobile. Kids would again come from all through out the neighborhood to visit the book mobile.
Some of my finest memories were bringing my Staci off books that I had borrowed the week before to exchange for new books. I felt so proud when I got my first library card. It felt like I had my own charge card. I carried it proudly. I remember sitting on this little still inside the book mobile looking through a book trying to decide if I wanted to borrow it for the next week. My favorite books were Curious George and Madeline. These memories will live with me forever.
Colleen O’Brien Abraham