Just Poolin’ Around

Ok, let’s first see if I’m capable of actually posting a picture here. I’ll likely bungle it this time, but work with me here!

Picture of our neighborhood pool stretching behind me Oh alright, I just gave up and posted it on Twitter! Haha, will figure out the fine mechanics of photo posting soonish.

Not that I’ve actually swam in that pool yet, though I keep hoping to before the summer ends. I’ve probably only been in the water a total of 4 times since 2003, in fact, due mainly to the issues that arise surrounding having my hearing aids on while so occupied.

So, when you think of a pool, what would you say is the first thought that comes to mind? Rich folks sun bathing
at some high-priced hotel, drink in one hand and book in the other?

Well for me, they have always represented a sense of community, a place where everyone can gather and, well, share things. Granted, I may not always want what you have, but in theory anyway, Chlorene helps with that part of it.

When I was younger, there were more of what were called public pools, those not affiliated with an apartment complex, hotel, or gym, but rather run by the city. I guess they still exist in some measure, but there are many fewer of them now, especially as cities become increasingly more cash-strapped.

Outside of the affore mentioned summer camps, public pools were the first places I got to pump my arms. And often kick my legs incessantly, allowing me to stay completely on top of the water but making everyone else quite angry, because I splashed said water everywhere! I finally mastered the art of kicking below the surface, and learning that dipping my face just below the water increases my, is it aerodynamics in the water? or at least ability to slide through it more smoothly.

The pool my family and I visited was at a place called Revolution Park. I guess you would say that was in inner-city Charlotte, not too far from the South Side apartments where my grandma on mom’s side stayed for many years. They had a big pool and a baby pool, and I was often content to remain in the latter.

“You need to come over here with the big kids!” my sisters began chiding me as I aged.

I think after my stints in summer school at the Governor Moorehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, I became less reluctant to venture into deeper waters.

By 1992, we had relocated to the Britany Apartments, which were more townhomes than anything, with a nice and spacious 2-storey floor plan. This neighborhood also had its own pool. Getting there in mid summer was fun, especially for kids who didn’t always use the brains they had been given.

RELATED: LJ Idol: Scorched Earth? In which my sister, cousin, and I bounce down to that pool on bare feet and over blistering pavement.

In the mid 90’s, we again relocated to a small town called Southern Pines, North Carolina. They had a big pool and park called the Clay Hole. How country does that sound? It was an actual, clean pool though. Often, there would be so many kids crammed in there at once though that we would be swimming, well more like standing/lying, shoulder to shoulder! There wasn’t anywhere to move unless you wanted to go over to the 9-feet zone.

I have a weird, maybe unbelievable story about that, actually. My sister and I were racing to see who would beat whom to the wall in the shallow end. For reasons I can’t quite figure, I somehow got turned around and ended up in the depths, realizing this when my feet didn’t make contact with the floor.

“Um, can someone help me here?” I said with a bit of panic in my voice. I’m sure I then stood there, in (on?) the water while I waited for the lifeguard to show up and ferry me to safety.

The Clayhole was also a jaunt from our house, but fortunately by this point we’d learned to wear shoes. If mom wouldn’t take us, we’d walk what must have been a couple of miles over there. They had parties and festivals there as well, such as the 1996 Southern Pines Day that got rained out. A fierce storm suddenly blew in, knocking down the tent under which we had been sheltering. Everyone, including my sisters, took off for the lone standing tent, and fortunately someone else snagged me as she went by. I nearly slashed my leg open on a wayward crate as we went helter skelter and were pelted by the unrelenting drops.

I do believe that was one of the last real experiences I had on the water as an adolescent. Those were fun times though, and I think that maybe the fazing out of public pools represents the general lessening of community that we are undergoing as this, while great in some aspects, isolating technology continues to take hold. NPR recently did a story on the importance of teaching children, and particularly those growing up in less resourceful situations, how to swim and save themselves should they find it necessary to do so. I can vouch for this, as my own family has suffered tragedy that relates to a water accident.

And of course, as I hope to have shown throughout this piece, many good memories can be made on the water as well. Not to mention the physical benefits of swimming, which is one of the few activities that works the whole body out at once. I’m going to try and figure out some solution that will allow me to more thoroughly enjoy the water even while still being able to hear, hopefully not in the too-distant future.

Do you have a pool near your residence? If so, how often do you frequent it.

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