Childhood memories of water

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Sticking with my theme of water this week in honor of World Oceans Day, and it being close to the weekend, I wanted to share a fond memory involving water.
When I was around 8 or 9, my dad brought home a box of what I thought was blue paneling. We had a van that he was customizing (this was the 70’s, after all) and I thought it was to panel the van. But then my dad said the magic words – it is a pool. My uncle and dad worked together to put a 24 foot round pool in our backyard, complete with a shallow end of 4 feet and a “deep” end of just over 6 feet. It was the most glorious thing I had ever seen. I don’t just like to be in a pool, I LOVE IT. My mom said if I could have slept in the pool I would have.
So of course the first thing you have to do is shock the pool with nasty chemicals (again, the 70s). My dad literally had to hold me back from jumping in during the shock process. The pool smelled like a container of bleach, but I didn’t care. So when it was finally deemed safe, the second obstacle, so most thought, was the temperature. This was Wisconsin after all, and the pool had been half filled all winter. Then we added water with the hose. That pool was COLD by most accounts, but I didn’t care. I jumped in and it was like doing the polar bear plunge. My young body acclimated and I stayed in until my mom dragged me out because my lips were turning blue.
I was in the pool from sunup to sundown every day of the summer. Friends would come over and we would spend the whole day swimming, doing cannonballs and handstands and playing with the semi-truck tire inner tubes my uncle gave us. Nothing would get me out of that pool, not hunger, not darkness. Those were the days.
My brothers were not so in love with the pool, mostly because they had to clean it. I was too small to push the vacuum around, but I did test the water with the blue and red droppers to see if the chemicals were sufficient. And I skimmed it the best I could. We had that pool for several years. But then tragedy struck—the pool broke, or so I was told. One spring when it was time to get the pool started, my dad made the announcement that the pool had cracked and it was decided to just remove it as the majority of the family was not using it. HEARTBREAK! I’m not sure what year that was, but I must have developed other summertime distractions, and gradually moved on.
Swimming in a pool then transitioned to going to the lake. As a young teen with cousins around the same age, we would pack up the car with towels and snacks and head to the lake. This was not some lake in the middle of the woods with who knows what swimming in its waters. This was a nice lake that had ropes showing the swimming areas and a sandy bottom. It also had a nice sandy beach and picnic tables. My cousins and I would blast some great 80s tunes like Prince and 38 Special on the transistor radio and get a great tan, and best of all, be in the water. No cares in the world. To be a kid again…
Now I am a grown up (by age only), so how does water factor in? I married a man who is just as much of a pool junkie as me, maybe more so (that’s him in the yellow cap in the picture).  Our dream is to put an in-ground pool in our backyard. Everyone says how much of a pain it is to maintain, the cost, blah, blah, blah. All I know is that I could re-live some of my childhood years with summer days filled with swimming instead of yard work, grass cutting, and other CHORES.
What kind of summer water memories do you have? Visits to a beach, lake or pool? Maybe you were lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard like me. Take a moment to reflect on those times. We need to preserve our lakes and oceans so the next generations can have the same happy memories of water in the summer. I hope you have a great, hopefully wet, weekend!

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