One day while driving around Aurora, CO my dad turned to my mother and said, “Let’s check out pools.” I think this discussion was the one time they were in 100 % agreement on something. “Are you serious? OK! ” she said, “It’d be so much fun for the kids.”
What do you envision with the word “Pool”? I pictured something that would take months to excavate as construction teams were called in to dig earth. A giant concrete truck backing itself into my backyard….A “deep end” with a diving board or a giant turquoise slide. My friends standing, watching in amazement during the entire construction process… “Trina’s house? Summer 1981 man!” they’d be thinking.
I pictured glossy blue and green ceramic tiles. Maybe even a dancing dolphin themed mosaic on the bottom. Oh, and a light to facilitate night swimming. Groovy.
So imagine my surprise when we pulled up to a showroom that only featured pools that were held up by walls….They were called, as I later learned, “Above Ground Pools”.
I struggled to breathe as we were hit with a wall of chlorine upon entering the store. As I gazed around the showroom I was genuinely confused. I turned to my dad and asked, “Where are the ones like the Allen’s?”
The Allens were a couple who lived behind my grandparents’ home. Looking back, I can see why my grandparent’s liked them so much. They knew how to party. Even had a cool 1970’s bar with carpet up the walls. They had an awesome pool…an in-ground one complete with diving board. Their pool, in my young mind, was the pool by which to compare all others.
My dad looked visibly annoyed as he stared straight ahead and replied flatly, “This is where we’re looking.” Ok then.
Long story short? Dad went all out and bought a 10’ x 36” pool. Basically, all the family could cool off, but they’d just have to stand in place. We took our puddle pond home and had it assembled by the following day.
So how do you swim in a pool that small? You don’t really. But we did get creative.
My sisters and I did “Swim Shows”. They were dumb as fuck. We’d set up lawn chairs for the audience. Fancy synchronized swimming maneuvers were performed off the wobbly ladder that was placed over the blue aluminum wall. We really did have shit for brains because the pool was ABOVE ground, so any fancy designs we made in the water? All our audience saw was puppet show of legs, arms and feet randomly appearing above the wall.
We enjoyed playing a game called ‘Whirlpool’. That’s when you get a minimum of 2 participants to run in circles around the wall of the pool. The water will eventually swirl in a strong current, not unlike a whirlpool. “Hang on!” we’d yell as though we were swimming for our lives, “The water is moving SO fast!” We had a better chance of drowning in a Baptismal font. Bonus? All the dirt and filth would coagulate in the center of the pool making it a cinch to skim. I know what you’re thinking…we thought it was rather genius too.
Our fun was somewhat crimped when mom or dad decided to float on a mattress. Remember, we had 10 feet to work with here. A floating device would take up ¾ of cubic swim area. Not to worry. That’s when we’d swim under our victim. We’d sing the Jaws theme and make the shark fin above the water. We also threaten to overturn the mat…maybe create a random ‘accidental’ splash just as they dozed off. They’d finally get reach their maximum annoyance threshold and leave. Just what we wanted in the first place….Well done.
“Marco Polo” was a no brainer. We couldn’t play that game because we were always proximate to one other. It would have been the equivalent of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you and yelling, “Marco!” and you’d reply, “Polo!”…Logistically impossible. As dumb as we were, even we had that one figured out. Ok. Maybe after a few tries, but still…I never understood the point of that game anyway.
I think that about covers everything. Come to think of it, maybe that pool wasn’t so bad after all.
No, it was.