Amblin’ Alameda: RAP

Amblin’ Alameda: RAP

Morton Chalfy

“Pick me up at RAP at 5:15. No, 5:20.” Thus spake Sasha, my life partner’s only granddaughter. I had already learned that RAP did not refer to modern music or to the end of the school day or any of its other meanings. RAP (Recreation and Parks) is an after school activity with adult supervision. A thoroughly civilized way of handling those children whose parents work or are otherwise unable to be on parent duty at three when classes finish. The kids from Otis School and others are walked by guardians up High Street to the park and back into its recesses to the Activities Building.

The building has its own fenced outdoor play area set in the midst of the basketball courts, swimming pool, swings and assorted climb-able constructions. The kids are only released to parents or designees of the parents and generally behave as though they’re in a safe environment and one that’s conducive to having a good time. Sort of a two hour camp after school.

But this was RAP’s last week as school came to an end for this year and probably Sasha’s last RAP week as she enters middle school next semester. It’s a big time for the kids, the end of the school year, the true beginning of summer and the transition to the next grade and/or next school. It’s also a big time for the parents who do not live according to the school calendar, what with jobs etc. The search for summertime activities has hit full stride and we’re looking forward to operating Camp Grandparents for several weeks scattered through the next three months.

As an honorary counselor, I’m planning walks to the beach, Frisbee in the park and trips to the new Exploratorium. Hot afternoons will be spent reading in our respective nooks and sipping on cold lemonade.

Re-living summer through the eyes and emotions of a young person is a privilege, a pleasure and a source of hope. Sharing activities with kids both lightens the heart and gladdens the mind, even as it exhausts the old body. But, as they say in show biz, “Sleep in the winter.”