While driving on the side street home from work, suddenly a few memories of the summer before my sophomore year came rushing to the forefront of my mind. Most people would probably treat this as a casual fleeting memory of something normal and relatively uneventful. For someone like me, it was these everyday things teenagers do that were an adventure for me.
The summer before our sophomore year, some of my best friends and I were; kind of, sort of, not really invited to the pool in the neighborhood across the highway. This was possibly the first thing I did that wasn’t quite above par, but still maintained some innocence about it. As per tradition, my two besties who lived in the neighborhood and usually one of our other besties and I on the last day of school always involved ourselves in some sort of activity together to kick the summer off.
This summer, our best friend invited us to the pool at the country club to which her grandparents belonged. She claimed it was alright and if anything, we were guests of hers. You could say she was a regular, she even belonged on the country club’s swim team. The rest of us felt this was a treat, a free dip in the pool; who could resist?
The summers back then weren’t nearly as hot as they are now but at the time seemed excruciating, especially since we were traveling like most teenagers did, by foot and bike. The four of us girls made the climb up the steep hill to get to the main highway running between the two neighborhoods. All that was running through our minds was the motivation of being able to not only dip our toes in the cold water but to do a complete cannonball; at least that was my motivation. The highway at this time didn’t have a stop light at the intersection, it was still mostly just a thoroughfare through a small farm town. We safely made it across with our bikes and still had a few more blocks to endure. On the way there I’m sure we saw a few mirages; mirages we quickly dismissed because we realized the natural habitat here in Southwest Missouri is not ideal for Camels and Palm trees.
We finally made the turn into the gate at the fancy neighborhood. It was as if we had arrived at the gates of Disneyland, we were on our last stretch and just beyond the gates lied the pristine clear water we had been looking forward to all spring.
On the way to the gate, our friend coyly told us…
1. Get in after the life-guard is on his chair and has blown his whistle.
2. Get out before the life-guard blows his whistle to do a “pool count”.
It was as if we had been invited to Fight Club, but instead of fists and fights it entailed swimming and games of “chicken”.
This is not the first time this friend has passed on some “fuzzy” information to any of us. We knew better than to question this new information, we just knew we wanted in that pool no matter what and her Grandpa played golf with Brad Pitt’s Dad. We knew not to ask questions. We were seven people short of being Ocean’s Eleven which meant we had to be even sneakier to get past the gates.
She entered first while the rest of us followed trying to play it cool. We relied on the acting skills we acquired during the school year from our experience in the school plays. We acted natural. We had our bags, our towels, our sun tan lotion, we acted the part of country clubbers. Well, we acted as close to country clubbers who did running cannonball leaps and conveniently disappeared as soon as we saw the life-guard get up to blow his whistle for the count. We even made a point to mingle with the girls who lived in the neighborhood who also rode our bus and didn’t know any better we didn’t live in their neighborhood, after all they got off the bus before us.
We did the quick in and out of the pool a few times as our friend had instructed us to do. We even made successful attempts to talk to our friend’s grandparents who were on the golf course. We made sure not to talk to them during their backswing, which could have turned into a form of a posh Fight Club.
After all was said and done, we decided to call it a day; all the swimming, in and out, acting and talking had worn us out. The bike ride home didn’t seem quite as bad, everything was downhill from there, literally. As we made our way down the home stretch the day had started to cool as we dreamed of what the next year would hold.
Driving down the side street today reminded me, friends help us to become adventurous, try new things and realize anything is possible. Friends help us to do the things we could never do on our own and friends also help us to learn how to stir a little trouble when we’re normally a goody two shoes. I also realized in the process of becoming adults, having families and participating in this thing we call life, we have forgotten to meet face to face and have a lunch date to remind us of these things.
What streets bring back memories for you? What summer time memories do you hold fondly?