Friday, June 8, 2012

More Swimming Tales- No Kissing This Time

As I thought about what I posted last evening, I kept thinking how we spent five hours at that pool every day. It really was a large part of summer life. No wonder I was a skinny kid. Walking to the pool and back almost every day, swimming most of the afternoon. What an exercise program!
I loved swimming since I first saw Sarah Grundy's pool or Pymatuning. I even loved Hogback Creek. I craved the water. The project for the community pool took a few years to raise the money. Sarah put herself into it, she so believed in swimming. Her pool was always open, as long as an adult could watch the kids. She declared she couldn't live with herself if someone drowned in her pool.
The West Middlesex- Lackawana Community Pool opened summer of 1968, as I was seven. My brother, then, escorted me to the pool every day. He kept an eye on me. One time as I was laying out, he walked by and warned me I was getting red, to get out of the sun.
His friends picked on me. Joey States always had to dunk me a few times. The three foot section held  most of the pool. Four and five foot finished the shallow end. At six foot, all these numbers painted in bold black, a rope separated the shallow from the deep. At the deepest it was ten feet. This was for the divers. A lower board perched on the right side and the high dive ruled on the left.
Even though Sarah had taught me to swim, I was still signed up for lessons at the pool. On the cool June mornings the water was cold. This was not enjoyable, but I guess I endured. I really appreciated Sarah. I remember the first time I dove off their board. It was seven feet deep at their pool's deepest. Sarah waited in the water with outstretched arms, her bathing cap covered head smiling at me. The best part of her lessons was at the end, we dove for coins at the bottom. I loved diving for any object, but we got to keep whatever change we collected.
When I was eight, I was allowed with the Powell girls to walk to the pool. The worst part was crossing busy Route 18. But we stood at the light(the only light in West Middlesex) then scurried to the other side with the light.
With breaks, we gazed at the vending machines, counted our money and picked a snack. Or at the desk, other snacks were for sale, I think even ice cream sandwiches and such. After we made our selection, we sat either on the bench in the building or outside staring at the ball field. Another thing we loved to do was take warm showers.
When I got home in the evening, supper was ready to be set on the table. Often I took a shower at home, to wash the chlorine out of my hair. Then the evening, we either played outside till the street lights came on or watched TV. 
The pool was one of the best things about summer. I met my friends there. We played all day. The parents who raised all the funds lived with satisfaction and pride.
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