Playing with Blocks

    by Bill Swinburne

          I grew up on 47th street between Skillman and 43 Avenue for the first nine of my 20 years living in Sunnyside.  Up the block from my apartment house on 47th street was the Sunnyside Progressive (nursery) School, a short distance before Queens Boulevard.  Sunnyside Progressive School occupied a three or four story narrow building with a fenced in playground on the roof.  I have many fine memories of being there.  One of my favorite activities was playing with blocks.  One time, when I was probably in a snit, I erected a tower around myself in the middle of the room reaching over my head.  I'm sure I wanted to be approached and asked what was the matter,  like someone hiding too long playing hide n' seek hoping to be found.

Billy (left) and buddies

          Another memory was going on a class outing to see Pete Seeger and the Weavers in a recording studio.  We all sat on the floor around the room were the recording was taking place.  I don't remembering seeing a closed off recording booth; just this room we were all sitting in with the Weavers standing in front of microphones.  They told us to be very quiet, and I think because we were all mesmerized, we didn't make a sound.  Pete Seeger and the Weavers have always been a strong connection for me, and associated with Sunnyside. 

Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman - The Weavers in the early 1950's

Bill Swinburne is a psychologist working in Keene, New Hampshire; he is married to Sandy and has two wonderful daughters, both doing well.