When I was visiting St.Shotts as a child, I nearly drowned and I have a cousin of mine, Marilyn, to thank for saving me. I was around 11 or 12 and I had just learned how to swim. As was the custom in this community, all the children and some adults gathered at the beach when the weather and water were warm. I was new to the river and gut and couldn’t wait to get my body into the water. But the day I will speak of was not that sunny and there were no adults on the beach.
My cousin Anne Marie was younger than me and she wanted to go across the river to the other side, so I said I would take her there. She climbed on my back and put her hands close to my neck. I was swimming along, perhaps thinking This is the life! when everything went black. I have very little recollection of what happened next. What I think happened is that Ann squeezed my neck too tightly and cut off my air supply which caused me to black out.
Let me get back to my story. Before I knew anything I was hugging the rocks on the beach and feeling someone banging on my back. I came to slowly and turned over to look up at Marlee, as we used to call her affectionately. “What happened?” I asked her. “You went under the water with Anne on your back and I dived in to get you.” I was amazed that she had pulled the two of us of the water. I know I was no more than a hundred pounds back then but to take the two of us out of the river at the same time was no easy feat.
Since that time I’ve learned that Marilyn pulled many youngsters out of that river and saved their lives. She was not given any awards just words of thanks and appreciation that she was strong enough and smart enough to do it. Some parents may not even know that she saved their child as she was not one to brag about her heroic deeds. She is a hero in our community, but one of the unsung heroes. Her actions were courageous and outstanding and she deserves a big pat on the back for starting at such a young age to be a guardian angel to so many young people. Thank you, Marlee!
If anyone else has been saved from drowning by Marilyn, please get in touch so I can add your details to this story.