The grassy spaces of Pomonok are actually much greener today than back in the day. That’s because us kids weren’t inside playing video games. We were always outside playing on the grass and wearing it down to dirt!
Except we weren’t supposed to be on the grass. There were signs to keep off the grass and one of the jobs of the maintenance men, who were ubiquitous back then, was to make sure that we didn’t ruin their grass.
If you were you too slow to get away, the maintenance men would catch you, demand your name, and report you. Then your parents would have to pay a fine, after which you were forever stigmatized as a felon.
Later on, the job of catching grass-tresspassers was passed on to the housing police, who were provided with little motorbikes for the purpose of pursing violators. I don’t recall any of the housing cops actually getting off their motorbikes. All they had to do was zoom up to a group of us playing tackle football and we would scatter like roaches. Of course, ten minutes later, we were back on the grass playing again.
The most absurd method employed of trying to keep us off the lawns were those two foot high metal posts joined by chains. They were more of a psychological barrier than a practical one because you could easily step over them or crawl under them. In fact, one of our favorite activities was balancing ourselves on those chains as if we were tightrope walkers.
Later on, there were also these red-dyed wooden fences erected around the lawns. Those were much more effective because they were too high to climb over. Which is why they often ended up lying flat on the ground. Whatever they used to dye the fences left a tell-tale stain on your hands and clothing. Maybe they did that on purpose to mark violators.
As I mentioned, the last few times I visited Pomonok, which was several years ago to visit my mother, the lawns looked well kept and there were lots of trees. I didn’t see any kids outside at all.