I don’t remember much about when we belonged to the Surf Club in the early 1960’s. We lived in South Shores, so I spent my toddler years in the baby pool at the swim club. What I do have, though is one of my favorite pictures of my father and me. It was taken in the baby pool when I was no more than two. My father’s face was so young and vital in this photo as he protectively wrapped his arms around his little girl.
We later moved and gave up the pool membership, but when I grew up and moved back to Decatur, some of my best memories are from my time there as a young mother with my own two little boys.
All of my friends had small children at the time so we spent several years in the baby pool. We came each day loaded down with toys, coolers, bottles, sunscreen, and towels. We kept a close eye on each other’s kids as we watched them splash around in the lukewarm water. Most of the toys were fair game, but occasionally a mother would snatch their child’s toy out of a shocked kid’s small hands. We would all knowingly give each other the look. That mother did not know the baby pool rules. Our babies napped under the bench with towels draped as a shield. There was often the “escape artist” who would make a mad dash to the gate in order to attempt to see the excitement of the bigger pools, but we quickly pulled them back into the safety of the fenced-in confines.
When our babies grew, we eventually graduated to the medium pool. The first half hour was spent blowing up water wings. The toys changed to diving rings and floaty tubes. We staked out the chairs next to the pool, but often spent most of the afternoon in the waist high water with the kids while they showed us how long they could keep their heads under water.
A couple of years later, most of us were able to sit on the “other side” of the fence. It was quite an accomplishment! Our children were old enough to have free reign of the pool and diving boards. We relaxed on lounge chairs and shared all of the gossip as the kids dove, swam, and begged for money to buy frozen candy bars and sno-cones.
This community of pool moms helped raise my kids. We knew when we came to the pool, somebody would be there. Every young mother needs a great posse; mine wore swimsuits and smelled like chlorine.