Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze

With summer approaching, I have had time to reflect upon some of my favorite memories and anecdotes. I have very fond memories of my summers in the late 70's and early 80's. There is a song by Seals and Croft that goes "Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine on my mind." That sums up my summers as a kid. The late 70's were a time of grooviness, leisure, disco rhythms, Farrah hair cuts, and the general freedom of a feel good culture. After all, it was called "The Me Decade". For me, it was Elton John, the Bee Gees, disco, soft rock, and 70's folk music playing over head on the loud speakers at the local pool. It's funny how you associate music with a particular time in your life. I would fall asleep in the warm summer sun at the swim club for hours, dreaming 70's psychedelic mind trips, awakening to the screams of my mother to put on more Coppertone!

The Wenonah Swim Club was the place to go in my town from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Our day would start at 10 AM to get the prime spot, and end by 3 PM, being just 5 minutes away from heatstroke. You had to get there early to get a table and chairs by the pool. Otherwise, you would end up in no-mans land at the other end of the club, next to the pine trees and sand boxes. Mom and Dad took us everyday. She would talk with her girlfriends about the latest crock-pot recipes, macrame projects, or how the kids were all doing in school. Dad was a college level art professor, so happily he was off all summer and could join us each day. He would discuss the progress of the family vegetable garden with our neighbors or various landscaping projects he was always working on. My brother and I would compete for the best tan, basking all summer long. Sun block was laughed at, and almost never used. We would become so brown while lying out and swimming in the pool. Everyone's hair was bleached blond from the chlorine.

My brother Adam and I would take these official swim tests every year to get our "swim bands". The green one was for the little kids in the shallow end; the red one for the big kids in the deep end. You were only cool if you had the red one. That also meant you could jump from the high-dive platform. My jumps were often accompanied by a scream I had hoped was a Tarzan-like below. With my 8 year old lungs, I actually think I sounded like a cat being tortured as I fell 12 feet into the water. I suspect my brother actually pushed me.

The snack shop at the pool was a cornucopia of sugary snacks: red fish, red string licorice, candy dots, pixie sticks, Necco wafers, Marathon bars, wax lips, wax bottles, Candy Stix Cigarettes, jaw breakers, and more! I could go on and on. We would eat cotton candy, hot dogs of some unknown origin, and wet chew soft pretzels, washing it all down with an ice cold Frank's Black Cherry soda. Health food? What was that?

After gorging on these snacks, Adam and I would either get sick in the pool, play tether ball, or try to look like we knew how to play tennis on baking hot clay courts. We never wore our sneaks. We would stand on our pool towels trying the hit with ball without moving. I had more than one burned sole that summer. Ouch!

My sister Sheryl is 5 years older than me. She was going through her teenage years being tormented relentlessly by Adam and I. Sabotaging her private times with her girlfriends was at the top of our devious agenda. We would spend an entire day just spying on them, following Sheryl and her friends from one end of the swim club to the other. I thinking my brother and I had crushes on every girl she was ever friends with! Didn't she realize that we were just trying to impress them? This harassment would continue until my parents would scream at us to get away and let the girls have their fun. Bored, Adam and I would then just go spy on the Harrison brothers smoking grass behind the maintenance shed. We thought they were SO cool.

I remember one time my mom arrived at the swing club coming straight from a hair appointment. Wearing her purple one piece with gold lame' heels, she strutted into the club and every head turned. Mom had gotten a makeover! I think in retrospect, her hairdresser Terri, from nearby Oak Valley, was responsible for bringing big hair to the 80's! Mom's hair was BIG. Think Alexis from the TV show "Dynasty". They must has used at least two bottles of Aqua Net on her. The makeup, I distinctly remember, was purple-frosted eye shadow and matching purple lipstick. My dad loved how she looked, saying she looked glamorous. To me, as an 8 year old kid, your mom should NOT be glamorous. She's just MOM! Needless to say, Mom did not go into the pool that day. She just lounged.

I miss my summers at the Wenonah Swim Club. I tried joining the swim club at one of my last apartment buildings but it just wasn't the same thing, listening to hip-hop and rap blast over the speakers. The kids though, seemed to enjoy it just like I used to. And these days, with skin cancer and having to use SPF 65, its just not worth it to me. The late 70's were an easy feel-good time, at least for this kid. I miss them, what they represented to me, and how much fun I had with my family. But that is what summer is supposed to be about, good times and good memories.

4 comments:

  1. Wow...enjoyed reading that very much.... Reminded me of my years going to Pomona Swim Club...thanks for the memories...made my day:)

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  2. Enjoyed reading your piece Summer Breeze. I think my brothers and I also did the Tarzan yell when jumping into the pool. Life was fun and simpler then

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  3. Nothing is ever the same in life, but the menories you have are irreplacable and a part of your persona, to be treasured.
    You are a very fortnuate person to have those memories to cling to.
    The winodw of the past will always be bright for you.

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  4. I love this story........Sher

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