When I was a little kid I used to stutter and this put my mom into a panic. She was worried that my stuttering would develop into a problem for me when I was older as my Dad had difficulty with simply saying his name. He didn’t usually have a problem but sometimes if caught off guard he would struggle with the first sound of his name and this was anxiety building for him. My Mom’s solution for me was to arrange for a homemade swimming pool to be dug in our yard when bulldozers and diggers where paving our country road. I think the workmen got homemade pie and coffee for digging the hole. The pool was meant to be a therapeutic cure for me so I wouldn’t stutter like my Dad. Anyway, I was thrilled to pieces to be surprised with this wonderful thing….a pool!
My Dad and my brother reinforced the dug pool with scrap wooden doors and cement. They painted it a light robin egg blue. It was about 20 feet long and 10 feet across. There was a shallow end that was about 3 feet deep and a deeper end about 4 feet deep. When filled the deep end was right up to my chin anyway. It had two steps down at the deep end. It drained into my Mom’s flower garden. The garden hose could fill the pool in an afternoon and the midday sun would warm the water enough so I could get into the pool fairly soon after it was filled. There was a wooden plug fashioned by my Dad on the outside of the pool that he would dislodge with a hammer when the pool needed fresh water.
It didn’t have any chemicals put in it at all. It was up to me to splash around in it, scoop out any bugs with my hands and use a little pail to catch any frogs or poor toads that fell into the water overnight. It was kind of fun swimming with the frogs as I recall so I would let them participate for a short time before tossing them out. Any unfortunate mice that were found in it I wasn’t made aware of as my Dad removed them before starting his chores.
I was in the pool all the time and felt I was a very lucky little girl. My parents didn’t seem concerned about danger but I recall they would sit close by after cutting the grass or other outside chores. Sometimes my sister would stick her feet in the water and my Mom would sometimes take a quick dip to cool off after a hot day’s work of picking berries, gardening or canning tomatoes. I didn’t try any crazy stunts in the pool except I tried to float. I could dog paddle a little too. Mostly I just sunk as deep as I could down into the water and was in my glory looking at the effect of the clear water as it shimmered against the robin egg blue colour of the pool.
It was a most glorious place to be on a hot summer day . The pool remained there until I was in highschool but I was too big by then to use it. It was broken down and cleared away so that my Mom could regain the space for another huge flower garden patch. To this day a magnolia tree, peony bushes, lilies and a hydrangea bush grow on the spot.
I seemed to outgrow the stuttering phase so perhaps the splashing and swimming exercise was good for me. I can still remember the roughness of the cement in places such as when I scraped my leg against the steps. In my minds’ eye I can see the design of the wooden doors under the surface of the cement used to frame the pool. The cold bone numbing water coming out of the hose, slowly turning to sun warmed temperature is engrained in my childhood memory.
Robin egg blue cool water sparkling with sunlight, my beautiful little pool, my sanctuary.