so i was reading summer memories in a magazine a few minutes ago and i thought i'd share some of mine.
yesterday while rachel was at guard practice i drove the ten miles or so to union hill. i wanted to see the music city speedway, which is a drag racing track that has been in union hill as long as i can remember. it was, for many years, known as union hill drag strip, and was also the home of union hill swimming pool.
i thought of the many happy hours i spent at union hill in the pool. sometimes i would catch a ride out there several days in a row. usually i'd be sunburnt but i didn't care. it was too much fun to see who was out there. i didn't want to miss a minute of floating on the air raft, jumping from the high dive, and playing water games with all the cute guys, and there would usually be a bunch. oh! it was a thrill beyond words to see mark sloan in swimming trunks. at the time i thought someday i'd grow up to marry him. i didn't know he'd get married when i was in the tenth grade.
i played in the kiddie pool there when i was a toddler, slid down the slide into my mom's arms as a preschooler, and played in the water with my friends as a preteen and then a teenager. the jukebox played every record's a-side, then every record's b-side. i can't hear the righteous brothers' "rock and roll heaven," conway twitty's, "don't cry joni," peter frampton's "i'm in you," or that squirrely & shirley song without thinking of the pool.
in the summer of 1980 we kept hearing that "they" - whoever "they" were...the carlisle family ran the pool but i don't think they owned it - were going to fill the pool with concrete and make it a parking lot for the drag strip. i don't know if they filled it or not, but they closed the pool that year and it never reopened. there had been a horrible accident one day, i don't remember what year, but i remember it well, when a girl fell off the high dive's ladder onto her back. i don't know whatever happened to that girl, or if that was why they closed the pool, or if it was simply the cost of liability insurance and managing the pool that preceded its demise. after union hill's pool closed, summers just weren't as much fun. the other pools in the area were all right, but they weren't the same. all the good times were now good memories. sometimes they are gone, but occasionally i will smell cigarette smoke and at the same time a hint of chlorine and the memories come flooding back. of course, to really create the exact aroma, there should be the scent of ketchup and fries. to further create the ambience, the ring of a pinball machine - not a video game - should play in the background.
i drove by the drag strip and tried to look down into the "holler" where the pool had been, but i could not see anything. i felt a pain in my soul, longing for the days when i spent my carefree summers out at union hill.