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Grasshopper Fun on Hot Summer Days

by Richard Diem

          I remember the lots on Skillman Avenue before Torsney park was built.  Out the door early in the morning and meeting with friends, we would always find something to do and “the lots” were a big attraction for many kids in Sunnyside.  Most times with my friends, we’d be climbing trees, playing war games or hide n’ seek, but I do remember one short period of time when we’d catch grasshoppers in our cupped hands.


          Who first saw that grasshopper jump?   Then the idea to catch and race them and it didn’t matter who thought of it first, but it seemed like a fun thing for friends to do on a hot summer day.  When we all had our little racer, it was race time.


           Of course capturing them was a challenge, and then into a box with holes so they could breathe, and then finding a good racing track to turn them loose.  This was no more than a stretch of pavement near the lots.   After we had enough, they went back into their home environment.   We never killed them.


          They deserved a memory so I wrote them a poem titled “Grasshopper Fun.”



To long ago summers

My memories have traced

The small boys in the lots

Where the grasshoppers raced


In the wild growth we’d catch them

In cupped grimy hands

Then ready set go!

Was our gleeful command


And off they would fly

The race had begun

They’d all scatter about

So we knew not who won


Carefree our joy

In the hot summer sun

In the Sunnyside lots

Having grasshopper fun


Having spent his childhood days in Sunnyside, Richard Diem writes poems to share those memories.  " I have tied together some childhood memories of growing up in Sunnyside with little poems embracing my visions of those fun days." 

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