There was this one magical summer when I was about seven that–if I remember correctly–my sister and I turned into fish. Or so it seemed.
Living in L.A. where we did, meant that many of our friends in other neighborhoods had pools. We, however, did not. So, naturally we spent most of the summer begging our mother to ask other people’s mothers if we could come swim in their pools. Every once in a while, it worked but not often enough.
So one day–in my little kid memory–my dad came home with a swimming pool–not a sissy, baby, splashy thing but a pretty close to real, live, up-to-your-neck, no kidding swimming pool. Oh, we got our jobs done before anyone was out of bed, I’ll tell you, so that we could get the ok from mom to jump in and swim our little guts out. Now this may not seem like such a big deal to you, but I could never actually swim before this summer. I was the usually the girl on the shallow side steps–or close by. But somehow this pool, this magical pool gave me super duper swimming powers, because suddenly, I could paddle and kick and do somersaults and dive from the second step and even cannonball–without holding my nose. And to my own amazement, I didn’t drown…not even once. It was like channeling Flipper.
Yes-sir-ee, that was one special summer all right.
Too bad that when–for some reason–the pool was no longer with us, I completely, entirely, irrevocably lost my magical swimming powers. Poof! Just like that. I was reduced to sitting on the steps at the neighbors pool or hopping up and down in the kiddie side. It was like a horrible remake of Flowers For Algernon where the scientists give some simple guy an operation and he becomes a genius and then he mysteriously turns “dumb” again and…drops dead. Very sad.
I’ll tell you how sad–
When I was a senior in high school, I took a beginning swim class–with the freshmen and a couple of kids from the middle school. Our final was to swim around in the deep end for 5 minutes without touching the side. Yeah, I pretty much drowned and they had to fish me out with a net. Got a D+ if you must know.
But I have this picture–this one picture to prove that the magical dolphin summer was real and I didn’t just dream it…and best of all…
I haven’t dropped dead.