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What did we do without all those swimming pools?Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2010, at 11:20 AM
Remember when Bloomfield didn't have a pool? Shakamak didn't have a pool. Linton didn't have a pool. Nobody I knew had a backyard pool, and that included above-ground contraptions. A few people with wee ones did have tiny plastic blow-up pools they'd sit out in the yard for an afternoon. Whatever did kids do without any pools? Somehow we survived.
In those days, a few of my summers started with dreaded early morning trips to McCormick's Creek to learn how to swim. McCormick's Creek had a pool -- the coldest pool on earth. One of the other girls in the carpool to McCormick's said it was cold because the water came from a spring. It felt like someone had gone out the night before and thrown a few huge chunks of ice in the thing.
Despite the temperature of the water, there was a little group of girls whose parents decided it was necessary to take turns driving us to McCormick's. The lessons were way too early in the morning and I can't remember anyone running to jump in with glee. It was that cold. We'd shiver and shake and in no time at all, our lips were purple.
Afternoons at McCormick's were more pleasant, especially after the sun came out, more so as the summer wore on and the water finally heated up a bit.
For several years, Worthington sent a school bus to McCormick's on one or two afternoons a week and any kid who wanted to go swim could jump on. It didn't cost much -- seems like it was 50 cents to swim and it was probably a dime or a quarter to ride the bus. We didn't have to sign up to ride, we didn't have to bring a permission slip, we just had to show up, pay our share and jump on. We'd spend the afternoon at the McCormick's pool, walk over to the concession stand for a treat then all would jump back on the bus and be back in town late in the afternoon.
Besides the lack of big pools, there was no Holiday World. Though I did get to go with a girlfriend's family down to Vincennes one Sunday afternoon to a big round pool that looked like a cross between a lake and a pool -- seems like it was called Rainbow something. That was a big day, not so much because of the pool, but because her parents had a huge convertible and we had the top down all the way there and all the way home. No seatbelts -- those were the days when the number of girls who could ride in the back seat was not determined by the number of seatbelts installed (there were none) but by how tightly we could squeeze in. So we'd alternate -- one would sit toward the back of the seat, then one would perch on the edge of the seat, etc. -- the more the merrier.
The old pool at McCormick's was down the long grassy hill behind the Canyon Inn. It has disappeared now, all except for the memories, and been replaced by a newer pool in a different location in the park.
Then Linton got a pool and that was a big deal in Greene County. Then Bloomfield, then finally Shakamak.
I just read in the paper this week that the price of admission into the Bloomfield pool is $3.50. Hmmm, guess I'm becoming like my ancestors talking about how much things used to cost. Remember when a glass bottle of Coke or Sunkist was a dime? A candy bar was a nickel.
When I saw that price of admission, I couldn't help but think back to the days when I had a dollar bill and could pay for a ride to McCormick's, swim for the afternoon, buy a soda and a candy bar for the ride back home, and when I got there, I'd still have some change leftover.
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Anna Rochelle is editor of the Greene County Daily World and can be reached on Facebook or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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