Growing up in Pasadena was a lot of fun especially in the summer months when children walked down to concrete bottom and when they were pretty good swimmers and a little older spent a lot of hours swimming and gabbing at rocky bottom. The pools were as the names suggest, one was smooth like concrete and the other was full of rocks and much deeper. It was here I taught myself to swim, just as I had taught myself to ride a bike and bake and so on. I observed the swimmers day after day, and tried to imitate their strokes and in the end I managed to swim right across concrete bottom to the other side. Was I proud that first day of being a swimmer!
Children mostly frequented these two pools with older brothers, sisters or neighbours. Being the oldest of nine children, I had to take some of my siblings with me and then I had to be responsible for them while in the pool. This was a bummer, when all I wanted to do was socialize with girls my age and swim! But a girl’s got to do what a girl’s gotta do, if she wants to enjoy the water and perfect her strokes. To tell the truth, I never cared much about the different strokes but I just wanted to be able to move in the water.
The hardest part about going to either of these pools was getting there. They were closer than having to walk to Pasadena Beach but the hill right before the pool was treacherous and I dreaded it every time I walked there. Everyone who walked down that hill slid and skittered to keep from falling. I fell a few times and grabbed onto trees on the way down but it didn’t stop me from going every day and sometime twice. Skinning out our knees was a small price to pay for a day in the sunshine and water with the anticipation of so much contentment.
Friendships were nurtured in the water, and stories were shared. It was a fun time to come with your bathing suit already on and a towel to sit on and dry yourself off at the end of the time in the water. There were always friends like Clarence Carroll, Linda Bonia, Holly Walsh, Sheila Evans, Kevin Bishop, Donna Whiffin, Larry Whiffin, and many others to walk to and fro, and sometimes cousins of these friends would come along with us as well. It was a social event for children, our many trips to the pools. Parents and other grownups preferred South Brook beach or Pasadena Beach. We liked the smaller pools, that were warmer and nicer for getting to any old day of the week. Children were not supervised by parents but I don’t remember any of my friends or family getting hurt on our hundreds of trips there.
It is these childhood memories that help enrich our lives, and help us realize that we really did have a wonderful childhood growing up in our little community of Pasadena, Newfoundland.
The pitter patter of little feet running
sliding all the way to the bottom of the hill
grasping onto branches to keep from falling
giggling and shouting as we raced to the pool
kick off our sandals and shorts quickly
to jump into the warm water of Summer
building dams across the pool to make
the water go higher so we could enjoy swimming and
love even more the private oasis in this outdoor setting
allowing us to act the fool while chatting
with our bosom friends before sunlight turned to dusk