When the days ran longest, what did you do?
This maybe my favorite prompt because it comes from decades long joys of mine.
In 1970, my mom scoured Santa Clara Valley, California, for just the right neighborhood for our family. So thorough were her efforts that now five decades later, I still remember the name of the real estate agent. Whitey Berg. No street, block, or sub-division was left unturned. Finally, in August, mom found her answer. A beautiful, insolated, neighborhood. Flanked by a cherry orchard on the west end, and a safe block of houses on the east end. In the middle was a circular road for hours of bike riding, and activities. That alone was not enough. Within easy walking distance was a fabulous park, our elementary school, and the prize, a community swimming pool.
Killarney Farms Swim Center, was a member only club. It served the neighborhoods within walking distance of its corner setting. The center annually taught swimming lessons, hosted life guard training, swim teams, and endless hours of play time.
Our next full summer, mom signed us up for swim lessons. All over the pool, little clutches of classes huddled in the cool, sometimes freezing, morning water learning new strokes and techniques for safe water experiences. Initially, water safety was my mom's intent. Nothing more. However, we took to it like fish. Before long, wearing our swimsuits, flip-flops, and rolled up towels over our shoulders, we traversed the three blocks to swim lessons. Yet, instead of returning home, mom began packing lunch supplies, and stretching out our pool time. As everyone's confidence grew, mom would leave us at the pool, and return home to work on things there. We played until either she returned mid-afternoon, or eventually we began remaining until 5:30 pm, when dad would drop by after work for his nightly lap swim. After which we would all walk home.
Over the years, the pattern continued to grow. Myself, and my siblings, each got our first jobs at that pool. We lifeguarded, checked in members, taught lessons, competed on the swim team, and eventually my brother coached. The one choice, my mom made, brought hours of fun, health, talent, and joy. My mom who can barely swim, raised three medal winning swimmers, by pure accident. She also created a tradition that would cover generations.
As we grew to adulthood, and began having families of our own, it became a rite of passage, to send our kids to Killarney Farms for swim lessons. They didn't always stay all day, because grandpa and grandma, have a lovely backyard pool of their own. But the singular choice of neighborhood, reaped decades of delight.
Puff the Magic Dragon
Like the dragon in the famous childhood song, Killarney Farms did not survive Covid. Today a closed sign, permanently hangs on its locked fence door. A relic of a time gone by. As you can see as you read this, we still hold it as a cherished summer memory. My prompt to you today is,