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Legacy of a Little Cedar Seedling

We are big fans of CedarWorks in our family. Back in the Nineties, our Mom got us a custom CedarWorks playset. A gazebo, a turning bar, a rope-climbing ramp, two swings, a trapeze, and monkeybars! All in our own backyard... we loved our set so much! Entire summers spent on the swings, we'd willingly let ourselves get sunburned over and over, hour after hour.

Anyway, when our playset was delivered, we were surprised to also receive a tiny cedar seedling with it. We thought it was a wonderful idea to allow your customers to appreciate the trees in their full beauty. We planted it in a small pot and it resided nearby the playset for so many years (and transplants, as it grew bigger and bigger!) The little cedar tree became a part of our family traditions... at Christmas, we'd decorate it with ornaments and garlands. Our living Christmas tree was one of our favorite parts of getting ready for Christmas every year.

Unfortunately, we are in our third consecutive year of drought here in Texas. Summer days often reach 105 degrees. We were cut down to one watering day per week last year, and that limit has stayed put since then. We spent two summers carrying buckets of water, conserved from household uses, to try and save our plants and trees, but alas, this fall, the little cedar tree died.

We miss it terribly. We really did love our little cedar. I was just wondering if there was a way to get a new seedling to plant in its honor. I don't know if you still give them with the playsets, but if there's any way to get a seedling to continue on our little cedar's legacy, we would be so appreciative.

Could you let me know if it would be possible? I appreciate your time, and I'm sorry for the lengthy email, but i wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciated that little cedar tree that was a part of our yard and our lives for 15 years.

Thanks again!

Sent to us by: A.L. from Texas

We are delighted to report that this story has a happy ending: our CedarWorks family from Texas is scheduled to receive a new seedling this spring to carry on the legacy.

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An Ending and a Beginning

Well, our family has just closed a chapter, and I feel I have to tell you about it. When we bought our first home in 1986, my wife's parents purchased a CedarWorks Tower Slant for our two children, then 7 and 4. They loved it, as did my wife and I. It seemed that someone was always on it swinging, sitting, climbing, you name it.

As the years went on, the swingset got used less and less, but still it stood there like a sentinel, a reminder of a more carefree time when our children were young, before learner's permits, piano lessons and SATs. Still, like a magnet, it would call us, and I never minded mowing around it. I would always sit on a swing after doing yard work, surveying my handiwork from various heights. It was like an old friend, reliable but still changing in subtle ways.

When our daughters went off to college, we decided to retire our CedarWorks swingset, but never once did we consider simply throwing it away. After 13 years with us, it still had plenty of life left in it! So, we called a friend who takes in foster children and asked her if she would like to have it. She immediately said yes, and her brother and a friend came over with a pick-up truck and a toolbox. They were both amazed at what good shape the set was in, and how easily it came apart. We had saved the original assembly instructions, which would help them put it back together. With a handshake, we said goodbye to our swingset.

Afterwards, as I walked around the yard, which suddenly seemed so empty and spacious, I burst out crying. It wasn't because I was sad, for I knew the set would bring so much joy to other young children, but because I was flooded with so many wonder memories of our years in, on and around our CedarWorks Tower.

So, we have closed the CedarWorks chapter in our family life, but only for the time being. You really were a part of our family, and I know that when our children have children, we will be making sure their backyard is equipped with one of your sets. I cannot imagine my grandchildren being in a yard without one!

Thanks for the wonderful product, your great customer service, and the priceless memories.

Sent to us by: DY, Lexington, MA

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The Most Beautiful Sound

In our recent phone conversation, I mentioned how instrumental our CedarWorks playset has been in the Americanization of Nick and Julia, whom we adopted from Russia when they were both four years old.

My husband, Derek, and I are both Navy commanders, and within six weeks of our return to the U.S. with our brand new family, we relocated from Williamsburg, Virginia to New Orleans, Louisiana. Our children barely knew their own names in English, and although we communicated fairly well in their broken English and our broken Russian, the move was confusing for them.

In anticipation of a trying time once we arrived in a new town, we ordered a CedarWorks playset. Nick and Julia watched with great excitement as Daddy assembled the set, anxious to climb on board and try out the slide, the swings and the climbing structures. But they were enamored for only an afternoon and thereafter required Daddy or me to accompany them out to the set and push them on the swings. It turns out that their little muscles had never developed sufficiently to accomplish the push, pull, pump action of simple swinging, and they did not know how to coordinate the movement by themselves.

The set went untouched for days on end, causing us to wonder if it had been such a good idea after all. One day, I glanced outside and saw Julia tentatively pumping all by herself. Her older brother just watched while she showed off her new skill and wouldn't try it himself. Many more days later, I suddenly heard both of them yelling at the top their lungs in rhythm: "Pump…pump…pump!" There was Julia on her soft blue swing urging Nick to work the right muscles and "pull with the arms", and yelling the order to him over and over. They kept it up for an hour. Non-stop! My neighbor called with a catch in her throat to say it was the most beautiful sound she had ever heard. Julia and Nick finally stopped swinging and ran inside, breathless to tell of their accomplishment.

Our CedarWorks set is an important part of the neighborhood play schedule now. The "Pack of Five" can be found on it, near it, around it, and inside it. Laughing, playing house, arguing about who can go faster, higher, longer. And my husband has guaranteed that the set will accompany us on our next tour of duty, and the next and the next. The kids would have it no other way, and I don't think I will ever be able to thank you enough for the part you played in the development of some little bitty undernourished muscles and the Americanization of my two very chatterboxy AMERICAN children.

Sent to us by: GT

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The Play Set or Cedar... Works!

One summer, back in 1984 or 1985, on the way home from Lincolnville to our home in Connecticut, we saw a beautiful, rugged, cedar swingset/jungle gym in the front yard of the Makie Cedar Fence Company, now known as Cedarworks. Our children were 8 and 4 years old and we ordered one to be shipped to us. I assembled it easily in the backyard, up on a small hill which overlooked the house, yard, and a salt water marsh leading to a creek and the Connecticut River. We were restoring a very old house and wanted something for the kids to play on where they could watch us and we them as we worked.

The play set became an instant favorite for our friends' children and was even strong enough to hold a large goat, owned by our friend and neighbor, "Uncle Lou", who would tie the goat to the cedar set while he helped my wife weed the garden. When I would come home from work, it was quite a sight to see the kids swinging and climbing on the cedar structure, a goat tied to one end, while my wife and Uncle Lou worked in the garden.

After a few years, the set developed a perfect, gray patina all over from the wind, sun and rain and smooth, darker gray surfaces where many little hands, usually dirty ones, rubbed it smooth. Sometimes, my wife and I would take our glass of wine out to the swings and talk while the kids played all around us.

Years passed and the kids grew up, the goat died, and grass grew up around the legs of the structure that now looked like a small forest of old gray cedar trunks, well-planted in the soil. We did not use it and it sat there, like a fort, waiting. Waiting for more children I suppose.

One day we heard that a storm was coming and that we could expect gale force winds, and possibly a hurricane. I checked all the outside doors and windows, put away the usual outside lawn furniture and glanced at the cedar play set. No problem there. The winds and the rains came that afternoon and by sunset the winds had reached and passed "Gale Force" and were approaching 50 mph with gusts much higher. Limbs twisted off old spruce trees and crashed to the ground, leaves and missed fruit were ripped from the smaller trees in the yard, and heavy trash cans were toppled and rolled around the driveway. I looked out the kitchen window and saw that a limb from a good-sized maple tree had broken off and landed on the play set. There was no damage visible but I thought it would be a good time to check it out and feel the wind outside.

Naturally, I grabbed a beer, a slicker, and mumbling some lame reason, plunged out into the storm. The wind pounded me hard and I was soaked through in a minute, a warm, eerie soaking that could only happen during a late summer storm. However, I was determined to stay outside and feel the storm. I could not stand up without holding on to something so I headed for the strongest, safest place I could find; the cedar swing set! I got there and hung on as the winds reached their peak and the rain struck my face. Nothing moved that set at all. It was as if it had grown into the ground.

More years passed and we met a young couple in church with 2 children. They were about the same age we were when we bought the cedar play set. Our children were now in high school and theirs were just starting elementary. They never asked anyone for help but always gave freely of their time and love to everyone else. One day, after coffee at the church I asked the father if he could help me with a project. He answered "yes" before even hearing what I needed.

"Al, I have this old, cedar swing and play set in the yard and I wonder if you could use it? It would help me out to move it too. Besides, we may be selling the house and I would like it to have a good home."

"Absolutely! Thanks! I will be over this afternoon with my truck!"

Well, it took awhile to dig that old set out of the ground and I was really expecting the legs to be rotted off and the whole thing to fall apart as we tugged and pulled and dug it out. I was amazed. The legs were damp and dirty of course but solid as the day they went in. The whole structure was so tightly joined that we toppled it over, intact, and set the whole thing up on his pickup truck bed fully assembled. He drove off smiling and honking his thanks with the kids waving out the windows.

We moved away but the last time I was back in Connecticut, I met Al at the coffee shop and asked him about his family and, curiously, what had ever happened to the cedar play set. He said his kids loved that set and played on it for years and that it was still in the backyard. This was 20 years after we had first planted it in our own backyard and it was still in good shape! Knowing Al and Marge, they will probably give it away or donate it to the Sunday school class at church. In any case, a swing set like that not only lasts a lifetime, but it can mean a lot to a lot of people, young and old, along the way.

Sent to us by: FTC on 01/30/2011

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Also heard...

"I remember reading the brochures about how children just play MORE on a Cedarworks playset and I can attest to the fact that our children play constantly on our playset, more than any other in the neighborhood, including a certain rainbow colored one."
~ a happy customer