No it’s not there now and in today’s world, it would have needed a lot of changes. But back when I was eight and living in St. Albans, WV oh how I loved this place! What was it? It was a swimming pool with about a mile of land before you got to it—the land was part of the park. There was a concession stand right in the middle of it and you’d park at the entrance. Families went there and could cook or picnic but most of all to swim! And the pool at the end of this property was not a huge one. Weirdest thing about it was that near the bath houses [where you changed clothes] there were steps in the pool right at the beginning of the shallow end.
Looking back, I think I spent a lot of time sitting on those steps that were in the water. But I loved that pool!! Remember my mom going once or twice and that was it for her: She was not much of an outdoor person but my dad and I sure were. And so I would go with him on just about every Saturday in the summers. If you read any of my other stories about pools, I didn’t learn to swim till I was seventeen and so when I went to Holiday Park I would find friends I knew and we’d jump under the water and come back up, get sunburned and just had the best times ever.
Yes my dad was always near me but he spent his time in the deep water. Sometimes we’d take a picnic lunch or he’d buy me lunch at the concession stand—it took a long time to reach it because it was midway from the pool to the entrance.
Every Saturday when we were there or sometimes on a Sunday too after church, I remember that there was a beer joint to the left of the pool entrance. It sat back upon a hill and had steps that went up to it. Truckers ate there because you could see their big trucks parked outside. Lots of times, my dad would take me in there to get a hotdog and a Coke. And I will never forget a beagle that the owners had: It would stand up on its back legs and dance to music from the music machine that you had to put money in to hear a song. First time I had ever seen a dancing dog and not until You Tube or tv did I ever seen another one.
Holiday Park held such incredible memories for me: I went there every summer for five years. Everyone who lived in St. Albans went there for it was before private pools in the area. When my dad asked me if I wanted to go, I’d get my bathing suit, a towel and be ready in an instant. Getting there was not that far but you could tell you were near it because you smelled fumes from a plant that smelled like green onions: The entire aread smelled like it. Not a pleasant smell at all but it meant one thing: Closer!! And then I’d see tall poplar trees, like four or five in a row and knew that we were almost there. Those two things—the smell and those trees told me that Holiday Park was close.
I loved that place. Nothing fancy but a huge grassy area and a small pool at the end [small by today’s standards] but oh the fun I had there and geesh I even got to see a dancing dog about every other Saturday. What more could a kid ask for?