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Nina Morash's Story

Nina Morash, (nee Zarowski), moved from Gore Street to Brock Street, kitty corner to Tarbutt Park, in 1945 when she was 12 years old. This was a gut-wrenching experience. She left behind all of her friends with whom she lost all contact, as her immigrant parents had neither a phone nor a car. Nina said, "It was like moving to anouther country." On top of this she was about to enter high school ahead of schedule having been skipped forward two full grades by her teachers at Crawford School. For Nina, her saving grace was the playground programme at Tarbutt Park.

To this day she speaks with passion and joy about her experiences and what they meant to her. She remembers clearly that each morning she would leave her house, cross the street and with a group of kids wait with great anticipation for the "Supie" to arrive. Tension would mount as everyone waited for her to unlock the "Shack" and distribute the balls, bats and nets for the day. Equipment was sparse but well-used. Each day the kids played games for hours -- simple games like hide and seek which required no special equipment. When they weren't hitting a ball (or being hit by one in Dodge the Ball) they huddled around the one picnic table for crafts. Materials were simple -- egg cartons, old bottles, and tempera paint mixed in large jars and provided by the supervisor. The only other play equipment she can remember is a few swings made from ropes with wooden seats. The parks were open each weekday from morning until night.

Nina recalls that the supervisors were vivacious young women, happy to be with the children, to listen to their woes and to encourage them in their achievements. She says that these supervisors were very important in her life during these years of transition -- real role models. She remembers the "Supies" wearing a red uniform of sorts and having a whistle on a lanyard around their necks.

She remembers that one of the best things the supervisors did was organize tournaments. Nina loved and excelled at Volleyball and everyone would vie for a much sought after position on the playground tream. Parks would compete one against the other in zones where they were within walking distance from one another. Nina kept three crests from 1945, 1946, 1947 which she is donating to the City in this commemoration year. She won all the crests for playing volleyball.

Nina "lived at Tarbutt Park." It was teeming with kids and here she met and made friends with other children, some of whom she has kept for life. Nina says the two most important activities in all her childhood were going to Tarbutt Park Playground and the Mary J. L. Black Library. They were the foundations of her future life.

Recorded by Donna Gilhooly for Nina Morash, February 22, 2014.

Playground Crests, 1945, 1946, 1947