Tenney Park celebration, Vicki Abshere, 2019

A short story about Tenney Park and the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood, told by Vicki Abshere.

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    Interviewer: So this is Joe Ortman on May 19th, 2019 and I am here with--

    Narrator: Vicki Abshere, and my last name is A-B-S-H-E-R-E

    Interviewer: Okay, so Vicki, could you tell us a memory or a favorite story you have about the park or just the neighborhood in general?

    Narrator: Okay, we’ve -- we’ve lived in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood for about thirty-five--thirty-six--something like that, maybe even--

    Interviewer: Wow.

    Narrator: --thirty-eight years? Um, because I’m just thinking my son is thirty-six. So we’ve lived here for a long time. And I have three memories and they revolve around each of my three children.

    Interviewer: Okay.

    Narrator: And my oldest child is, um, like I say I think he’s thirty-seven now. [LAUGHS] I can’t remember. But he--we used to come down to the beach when he was a toddler and spent many, many hours playing in the sand and the rocks and things--water--at Tenney beach. And one year when we were down there and I had at least one other baby and maybe two at that point--because I think he was four, so I would have had, two--anyway, he came up and brought me a rock that he had found, and when I looked at it closely it turned out it was an arrowhead.

    Interviewer: Oh, wow.

    Narrator: [LAUGHS] So one of the very first things that he found on the beach was an arrowhead. And we kept that for many, many years. I should have brought it here and maybe shown it.

    Interviewer: That’s fantastic.

    Narrator: Yeah, and I don’t know, I think at one point we showed it to somebody who knew about arrowheads and he said it was maybe 1000 years old or something like that, so that was a cool thing.

    Interviewer: That’s really cool.

    Narrator: Yeah. The second story I wanted to tell was about--my daughter, who is two years younger. She’s now thirty-five, and, I wanted to talk about Carla Hacker, who was a teacher at Lapham Elementary for many, many years, and she did many fun things with the kids--outdoor adventures with the kids--but one thing she always did was bring the kids to Tenney Lagoon in the wintertime. They bundled everybody up, and [LAUGHS] just trooped the whole first, second--and you know--kindergarten, first, second grade down to Tenney Park, um, and taught them how to ice skate.

    Interviewer: Oh, wow!

    Narrator: True story. [LAUGHS] And, which is crazy, I don’t know if they would do it now. But, so she would give everybody little chairs and my daughter learned how to ice skate in second grade, pushing a little chair on the lagoon here at, uh, frozen Tenney park. And so--it’s very--I love the--I love the ice skating.

    And the third thing is my youngest, Devin, who was a kayak instructor for many years, off Law Park [narrator edit: this was actually JAMES MADISON Park] back when it would--had a boathouse, and uh, you know instruction that way. And one time-- and he would take kids up and down the waterway down to Tenney Park--and one time there was a thunderstorm and he happened to be guiding and instructing a bunch of kids who happened to be deaf. And so [LAUGHS] it was, it was very scary, because he tells the story of how, you know, they’re happily just playing around in the water and the kayaks and stuff, and have no idea that there’s just been thunder. And so he has to gather everybody up and bring them onshore, and, um, it was just an exciting--one of the many adventures he had teaching kayaking. And, so those are my three fond memories of Ten--Oh, and he drove, he drove his pickup truck down [LAUGHS] you know on the grass to gather up the kayaks and get the kids out of there as soon as possible--that was the other thing--

    But that’s all I wanted to say. I just love the park and I love that Caroline Hoffman has put this together.

    Interviewer: Fantastic