Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer, Pool Time, and a Chain of Memories

This week's Comeback prompt has to do with summertime memories. As I wrote (below) about the single memory that came to mind, my mind was led to a chain of like memories. It's funny how that works. There is nothing deep and introspective about this post — just a string of memories unleashed by the first one.

Nelson was my buddy from about grade 3 through grade 9 although we went to different schools in the last two years. After about grade 5, he no longer lived around the corner but several blocks away, but we were both on our bikes a lot back then so going back and forth was easy peasey, despite the increased distance.

For several summers, we would jump on those bikes and cycle another distance in a direction away from both our houses to a public pool — at Barrie Park. In my memory at least, we did this almost every weekday afternoon for a few summers, but possibly not in the last one or two that I lived in Montreal as we grew into teenagers and our interests evolved, or perhaps mutated is a better word.

The pool was always crowded on those hot, summer days, but that didn't bother us as splashing, cavorting and jumping in were more important than swimming.

Back in the late fifties and very early sixties, I am thinking that admission was probably anywhere from 10 to 25 cents per session, so it was a pretty reasonable rate for an hour or two of fun under the hot summer sun.

With that, I spin off into another memory, but it also links with swimming and another best friend. This aquatic memory has nothing much to do with summer, and it occurred not in childhood but in my teenage years, and it was in Toronto and not Montreal.

Once again, I'd go swimming regularly, once or twice per week with my then best friend, Stuart. I am pretty certain about Tuesday evenings and seem to recollect that we also went on most or at least some Thursday evenings as well. After swimming, we would almost invariably head to a burger joint, Sony's, on our way home where we didn't have burgers but did order fries — with vinegar. We both doused our fries with vinegar (it's a Canadian thing), and the first few inhalations, tended to induce a bit of coughing having just been breathing chlorine infested air.

Those are two good memories with different best friends in different places at different times. I am no longer in contact with Stuart but am still somewhat in touch with Nelson. We went for decades without seeing each other and even lost touch. One day before the internet really took off, yet another friend brought a CD database of phone numbers etc to a PD Day meeting. I looked up Nelson. found his address, wrote, and he wrote back.

 A few years after that, in 2000, Sue and I motored across Canada and we met up with Nelson and Shirley in Jasper National Park where we had another pool-related  activity when they took us to Miette Hot Spings. What a delight to enjoy the hot springs rimmed by the Canadian Rockies in the lingering evening dusk of the north. I absolutely loved being in the Rockies that, for me, topped even the Grand Canyon.

Sixteen years later, Nelson and I remain in contact: not frequently, but we send birthday and Christmas cards and exchange the occasional note at other times. Perhaps we will meet up once more before our times on earth are up. That remains to be seen.


Kay G. said...

Hello! I love to meet up with old friends and you can pick up right where you left off.
I love your description of the hot springs, that sounds very nice indeed.
Your blog name means a lot to me, our A/C went out on our hottest day so far, it was over 100 degrees!!

Jayne said...

What wonderful memories! It brought back memories of going to a nearby swimming club for me, and how many long summer ays were spent enjoying the pool there, and mustering up the bravery to jump off the high dive into the bottom of the 12 foot deep end!

KGMom said...

Ah, yes. You highlighted another one of those great summer memories. Bike riding. Of course, swimming understandably rises to the top of memory, or floats -- heh heh.
But bike riding--another rite of childhood giving rise to memory.
I am in touch with only one of my childhood friends--another missionary daughter. All my other friends, who I knew in S. Rhodesia, I would have NO clue how to learn where they are.
Memories of summer and childhood--sweet walks down memory lane.

Ginger said...

Aaaah! Now you sparked memories for me about our many hours spent at the swimming club! That will be a delightful thing for me to write about, one of these days! So nice to read about childhood friends who are still in touch.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I'm out of contact with almost all of my childhood friends. A few on facebook, but not many.
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Mage said...

I have friends like Nelson and Stuart. And we do desultorily stay in contact. :) Not in the pool tho.

Marie Smith said...

Great memories of great friendships. How important friends are in our lives from childhood through to the end. To be in touch with one over such an extended time of your life is exceptional. You are fortunate.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh how I loved summer when I was young. I too rode my bike to the pool on most days. Memories....

Ruth said...

Interesting post! The best friendships can pick up where they left off, even decades later.