Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Pool, Years Later

As I approached my teen years, the allure of the pool wore off. Maybe because only little kids and tweens went. Maybe we just got busy. When we could drive, a new world opened. The Shenango Dam appealed as no life guards, no rules. We packed lunches and stayed all evening. In May when it was hot, before any pools or beaches officially opened, we'd head to a beach after school. The trees hanging over the water gave it an exotic feel.
So for a long time, I abandoned the community pool. I tried some after high school graduation to swim there, but again, the shine faded. I felt alone sitting on my towel the only one over fifteen, even the life guards were young, not the cool ones like Bud and Georgianna when I was a kid looking up to them, literally sometimes.
I tried to recapture the pool experience with my girls one year. Katie was six, Mary Ellen, a baby. Mom now lived closer to the pool in an apartment on Main Street. I drove the kids there. The pool, of course, seemed much smaller. The diving boards were gone. Kids just jumped off the sides in the deep end. The three of us remained in the shallow end, as I carried Mary Ellen the whole time. I felt safe as a mom in the smaller pool as Katie swam around.
Mary Ellen, slathered in sunblock, wearing a light cotton hat, tanned beautifully. She looked like a toasted marshmallow. She had that chubby baby fat, thunder thighs. The ten to eleven year old girls crowded around us. They loved the baby. All wanted to hold her, but I refused.
I didn't get much swimming myself, but I kicked my legs out, did squats. I ran in the water holding the sixteen pound baby. I kept up with Katie.
The kids still loved the pool, but I felt they were cheated. It now closed at five, and I mean closed, locked up tight. The swimmers had to be out of the water well before five and out the door. They did have some night swims. But it didn't seem like the lazy days when I was a kid. We had fun, though. I loved getting to know my friends' children, or nieces.
We were blessed with some really hot summers that encouraged swimming. Tomorrow, I'll post about the Buhl Farm pool.
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