The Slide Years: Visiting the Folks

By Eilene Lyon

The Slide Years is a series in which I select an image my dad took from 1957-1982 with Kodachrome slide film, then I write a stream-of-consciousness essay – a sort of mini-memoir.


We didn’t have many opportunities to visit grandparents when my brothers and I were growing up. I don’t know what Laurence and Clare Smith were like as parents, but they did pretty good at being grandparents.

They always had ways of providing little kids with a good time. As you can see, a kiddie pool was de rigueur. Grandpa took home movies of us running and splashing into it. We loved it when he later ran the film in reverse. Splash of water falls into the pool and a dry kid pops out – running backwards.

Eilene and Steve in pool at Smith home in Little Rock, Arkansas

Grandpa also rigged up this rope swing you see Little Brother making use of. I think some years it actually had a tire, not a bag of sand. For other water fun, there was an outdoor shower-type of sprinkler to run through.

Little Brother on the rope swing.

Grandma liked to cook us waffles for breakfast, which we loved. She had a carousel of small flask-like syrup bottles with a variety of flavors to choose from. Yum!

The Smith’s Little Rock house when they bought it in the 1950s.
The Smith’s house in the 1960s with landscaping.

41 thoughts on “The Slide Years: Visiting the Folks

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  1. There was a pancake house in Mexico City with a rotating selection of syrups at the tables, like you describe; my favourite was “the red one” (not even sure if it was supposed to be cherry or strawberry). Nice memories!

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  2. People now buy those kiddie pools for their dogs! The sprinkler was always a big hit, never had a sandbag swing or a tire swing for that matter! Can see lots of joy in these pictures.

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  3. Looks like you have some great memories there. You brought to mind the summer trips to my grandparent’s house in South Dakota. Their house doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s still my “happy place.” (It burned down sometime in the 80s — no one was in it at the time)

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  4. I have so many happy memories of playing at my grandparents’ house, and I’m glad you do too, even though it sounds like you didn’t get to spend as much time with them as I did with mine. My grandparents had about an acre of land, and it felt absolutely massive to me as a kid. My grandpa had a swing set for me, but I also loved hanging out in the clover patch trying to find a four leaf clover, and hunting for arrowheads in the dirt, since my mother claimed she found one once when she was little and threw it back because she didn’t know what it was. I never did find any, but I did amass a pretty decent collection of marbles that must have belonged to my mother or one of my aunts at one point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those are wonderful memories, Jessica! I remember spending hours looking for four-leaf clovers. And I was always finding interesting things on the ground (maybe being closer to it increased the odds). Digging produced even more fun stuff. Kids today don’t know what they’re missing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I had an inexpensive metal detector that worked pretty well. I was sure I’d find buried treasure! I found a few coins–and a lot of junk–and enjoyed every minute.

        The Slide Years is a great series, Eilene. I hope you have more slides and memories to share.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for sharing your memories, too. I always wanted to play with a metal detector, but never have.

        The slides are a bit limited in scope (Dad seems to have mostly gotten the camera out at Christmas and birthdays), so I may come up with a slightly different format. Check back next week.

        Liked by 1 person

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