Memories From The Past
American Legion Swimming Pool
Letís go swimming. Grab your swimsuit and a towel. Roll the swimsuit up in the towel. Meet at the bus stop at Lynn Garden Drug Store on the Gate City Highway at 10:30. There would usually be anywhere from a couple of kids to six or eight watching for the bus to top Kyle Hill coming back from turning around at the state line in Morrison City. Sometimes there would be kids from Morrison City heading for the pool also.
Five Cents for a three mile ride on the bus to the terminal at Main
and Commerce streets in downtown Kingsport.
Get a transfer from the driver as we exit the bus.
Get on the bus to Highland-Hill Crest, usually in the next loading
space. Another two and
one-half to three mile ride and we were there.
Get off the bus at the stop on Center Street just above the pool.
Run down the hill. Get
in line, the gates open soon. Kids
from everywhere; various Kingsport neighborhoods; Lynn Garden, Morrison
City, West View, Fort Robinson, Long Island, Sullivan, Highland, Hill
Crest, Springdale and others.
Pay your quarter and get a numbered clothes basket.
Each basket had a corresponding numbered safety-pin attached.
File into the locker room/showers and change. Be sure to put your shoes on the bottom.
This would keep your clothing from getting wet if you had to set
the basket on the floor. Fold
your pants and underwear. Put
your shirt on top. Cover it
all with your towel. Take the
basket to the storage room window. Be
sure to pin the numbered safety-pin inside your swimsuit pocket (where did
the girls put their pin?); youíll need this to claim your clothing at
the end of the swim-day.
Now comes the shocker. As
you passed through the gate to the swimming area, the mandatory pre-swim
shower is on. No hot water, just as it comes straight from the tap.
Many a goose bump was raised.
linen effect postcard
Nothing like that first whiff of pool water chlorine. Build up your nerve to jump into the cool morning water. Who can make the biggest splash?
The next four or five hours were spent swimming, playing water
games, jumping off the three-foot diving board, learning to dive head
first. Build up a little
nerve and jump off the 10-foot diving board. Seemed a long way down, should you look or do you keep your
eyes closed. Cannonballs and
belly flops were two dives we all seemed to master.
Real dives mostly eluded us. We
had no earthly idea what we were doing.
The first few years were spent with boys and girls participating in
all the activities together. Then
a change seemed to occur without warning.
The girls would group together, setting in the grass area on
towels, giggling and sneaking glances toward the boys.
The boys were left to their own confused wondering, strutting,
posturing and trying to be impressive to the girls that were just recently
playmates. To our consternation, the girls seemed to be more interested
in the guys a year or two older and the girls a year or two older had no
interest is us.
Another year or two and we were the older guys.
We began to have a real appreciation of our past playmates who were
now young ladies. There was
nothing like a young Kingsport teen of the 1950ís in her one-piece swim
suit. Then one day, a real
eye catcher. One of Lynn
Gardenís brown-eyed beauties showed up in a two-piece flowered swim
suit. Not a bikini, which we
had never seen, but it was before the introduction of Playboy magazine.
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