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Sunday, April 15, 2012



I’ve always loved being a swimming pool but my first time at age five was the scariest thing I remember. My babysitter was a senior in high school and had a boyfriend. She asked my mom if they could take me to a huge pool that was in the city where I lived then:  It was called Rock Lake and it was huge. My mom let them take me. When we got to the entrance, we had to go through a tunnel first: I thought you had to undress in it and refused to go in until my babysitter told me that it wasn’t true.  After going through the tunnel, I saw the pool. And although I hadn’t seen the ocean, it sure looked like it to me.

My babysitter took me to some women’s locker rooms and we changed into our bathing suits. Something told me that it was going to be scary and I was right! Her boyfriend met us outside and we walked on cement along the pool and then we got in by the baby pool—it was shallow and roped off.

 Huge rocks formed the back side of the pool and to a little kid, it was terrifying. And I couldn’t swim. They left me in the baby pool section for a while and then they came back. My sitter’s boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go down the slicky slide. “Sure!” I said thinking it was somewhere away from the pool like in the dirt area.

I was on his shoulders when he started swimming across the huge pool and then he promptly dropped me off at the foot of the humongous slicky slide and left me there. Looked around and didn’t see him or my babysitter and people were pushing behind me to go up the steps to the slide. Terror set in me for I saw that below the steps and the slide was the pool! No one would let me back down and I had no choice but to keep climbing and then slide down into the deepest water ever. Water went up my nose and into my mouth and I just knew I was going to die right there. But I started grabbing onto people’s backs and screaming and thank heavens someone got me back to the shallow part of the pool.

It was a horrible experience! I sat on the cement by the shallow part and hoped my babysitter would show up because not only was I still gagging up chlorine water but I was scared, alone and afraid.

Seemed like an eternity before she showed up with her boyfriend but she did. All I remember was being taken home and listening to my parents hear my story and then theirs.  And the next day, I had a new babysitter. Wonder why? It was a terrible experience for a five year old but it didn’t stop my love of pools because I later found myself in them all of the time every summer. I did have to take swimming lessons when I was seven but did I learn to swim? No and that is another story in itself.

And yes, as a teenager I spent lots of hot summer days at Rock Lake pool but as for the huge slicky slide, I never went down it ever again—no way and no how. And I could swim too by then. That day I did go down it traumatized me forever of that thing. It was a horrible day I never forgot.

Sherry Hill

*Photo of Rock Lake Pool from Wikipedia

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