Memories Of The Rocket



I was really saddened to hear that the Rocket is being removed from Rumsey Park.

Some of my earliest memories are of attempting to climb to the top of the formidable rocket ship, urged on by my parents, far below. That was back in 1989, when my family first moved to town. I recall my younger sister, Tina, getting "stuck" on the third tier of the Rocket, thus forcing my father to struggle up the tiny ladders to rescue her.

Recent generations seem to spend most of their time at Green Valley Park, but when I was in elementary school at JRE in the early to mid-90s, construction on Green Valley had barely begun. For those of us who grew up back then, lazy summer afternoons were spent at Rumsey Park and, most notably, spent conquering distant galaxies from the top tier of the rocket ship.

With the squealing, screeching swing of the metal controls, we were off, traveling to Mars and Jupiter, sailing past the sun. If hostile battleships approached, it was time to jump ship down the tallest, fastest slide around.

I have to say that part of me is surprised the Rocket has survived all these years. But each time I head back to Payson and drive around Rumsey, there it remains, sun-bleached and rusting from years of space travel and adventure.

I'm happy knowing that the Rocket has inspired 30 years of kids to use their imaginations and helped us have grand adventures along the way. I hope today's oftentimes overprotective, sue-happy society realizes that being a kid means getting roughed up and sometimes coming home with torn-up knees and dirty clothes. Please don't replace the Rocket with a safety-proof, ultra-padded, non-exciting play structure! The Rocket deserves an equally enjoyable and exciting replacement!

Until the last blast-off occurs, happy travels in the Rocket!

Lisa Jackson, Scottsdale

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