An Open Letter to the Giant Slip ’N Slide That Almost Came to Philly  

Slide the City | Photo via Facebook

Slide the City | Photo via Facebook

Dear Slide the City,

Let me start by saying, now that it seems clear you won’t be setting up your giant Slip ’N Slide in Philly this summer, I am forced once again to completely reimagine my marriage proposal. Thanks a lot.

Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, there were a few things I could count on every summer: Rita’s Water Ice paired with soft pretzels, Eagles Training Camp, summer barbecues with vaguely racist comments about the WOW skating rink on the Boulevard from second cousins who believed the sun revolved around Mayfair and that God was a Teamster.

And, of course, Slip ’N Slides, with their questionable safety precautions and lax supervision that made them somehow all the more enticing. Sure, they tended to look like a giant roll of trash bags you were pretty sure even Costco didn’t sell, but they were so much fun. A Slip ’N Slide is the only attraction on which I can remember tearing a medically significant hole in my tailbone and jumping up to run back up the hill and try it again.

So when you said you were bringing your giant Slip ’N Slide to Philly, I couldn’t help but run back up the hill toward summers of my youth. Summers when I’d ask “Sup?” on AOL Instant Messenger to my entire buddy list (my screen name was Buffman116). Summers when I’d wear baggy jean shorts, 2XL tees from Forman Mills, and generally looked like a scarecrow dressed by Eminem.

August 6th was going to be the best day of summer in Philadelphia this year. Better than Memorial Day Weekend, even. After all, I’m too old to cruise the Wildwood Boardwalk buying fun T-shirts with popular catchphrases, or even ride the Nor’easter (at least according to my Mom). Better than the Fourth of July, which is pretty darn cool, as it usually features The Roots and some other Nostalgia-inducing act like the Goo Goo Dolls or Pauly Shore.

But you left us out in the cold (The weather in Philly is weird in May.). I don’t think it’s going too far to say I’ve been robbed, along with (I’m pretty sure) a fairly significant number of aging dudes, of the chance to return to my childhood for a few hours. In my opinion, the only thing worse than canceling a giant Slip ’N Slide would’ve been the announcement that Wawa was selling to Sheetz.

That said, it’s not summer yet. There’s still time, and I still have faith that the tables may turn (a guy can dream, right?) and someday, when my grandkids asked how I met Grandma, I’ll be able to sit back, smile, look at them and all their robots, and reply with a smile, “At a Slip ’N Slide, kids. At SlipAdelphia.”

Disappointed Grown-Up (Still Dreaming of a Giant Slip ‘N Slide)


Steve Clark is a sixth grade teacher and twice named Best Storyteller in Philadelphia at First Person Arts.

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