When I was a kid in Needham, we used to take swimming lessons at Rosemary Pool. There’s a lot to be said for this pool; it’s big, it has a sandy ‘beach’ all along the shallow end and it’s nestled at the base of a small hillside, on the edge of a lake. You can bring your dinner and sit up at picnic tables or on lovely grassy terraces and look out over the pool and lake as the afternoon slips away. There’s even a concession where we used to occasionally get candy, like those ufo-shaped lollipops that were the same consistency as smarties – do you remember those?
Well it turns out that my sister and my cousin bring their kids to Rosemary pool now, and it’s just like the old days. In fact it’s EXACTLY like the old days. The pool is the same color blue, the lifeguards still sit in their chairs and twirl their whistles the way they used to, the metal dock makes the same sound when people walk on it, sand inevitably makes its way into the shallow end and grits under your toes the way it always did. At the end of each hour, a lifeguard drones into a megaphone, “It is now time for a 15 minute rest period. All swimmers under the age of 18 please clear the pool.” They haven’t even changed one word of the announcement in over thirty years.
Our first morning in Needham, we got to accompany the cousins to their swim lesson, and as it turns out, there’s just this one other thing that hasn’t changed since we were kids – that pool is still f-f-f-freezing c-c-c-cold. Now it all comes back to me… the blue lips and chattering teeth and ice blocks bobbing past as you shiver and pray for the lesson to please, please end already.
Doesn’t that look fun?! Yay! You can see how they lift their hands so no part of them touches the water until it absolutely has to. We stood there watching them shiver and couldn’t help reliving the misery. My cousin made a crack that she’d waited her whole life to be on this side of the equation, but we sure felt for them as they shook away. They got some serious consolation when they got out though.
Plus, they’ll surely have character – not to mention the hope for the day that they’ll be the parents on the beach!