Blog, throwback thursday

Throwback Thursday #34 – Learning to Swim

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. Lauren is hosting again this week and hopefully I will be back next Thursday. Head over to her blog to get the details, and then join in!

This week’s prompt is: Learning to Swim

My post follows.

My first attempt at learning to swim was a bit traumatic and it affects me to this day in the way I feel about bodies of water.

Growing up in the country we all spent a lot of time in and around the creeks and creek beds. The water was mostly gentle and easy to wade as there were few deep spots to worry about. Our biggest worries were likely snakes and the very slick moss covered rocks we knew not to step on else we would end up flat on our back in the middle of the creek.

There were deep pools of water at some places, though – the two largest being the baptizing hole and the mill pond. My grandfather would take me to the baptizing hole to splash around and get wet all while under his watchful eye. No one liked to swim much in the baptizing hole because it was shaded and the mountain streams stayed very cold. Not to mention the hogmollies that loved to linger in the currents.

When I got old enough to go to the mill pond with the bigger kids, it was a whole new experience. Getting there required a trip up the railroad track to the holler. Then there was a narrow winding  path barely accessible but very well traveled in the brush that lead to the creek. The path opened out to a rocky beach area and a deep pool of water we knew as the mill pond.

I am guessing the distance from the shore to the cliff that jutted out from the hillside was only 15 to 20 ft. Once you swam across the deep pool in the middle, the reward was sitting on the cliff under the water, basking in the warmth of the sun.

We were a small community where everyone knew each other, but that did not mean we didn’t have a few bad eggs. I was probably seven years old or so when I got brave enough to finally dog paddle my way to the cliff. As I got right around the deepest part of the creek, the community bully was seated on the cliff and he started splashing huge amounts of water in my face. I could not see, or breathe and I panicked. Thankfully I kept paddling until I could feel my hands brush against the cliff. The bully took off and I sat on that cliff shivering trying to decide how I would ever get up the nerve to try to swim back across. Obviously I made it, but don’t ask me how.

Years would pass with many opportunities to swim but I never felt comfortable in the water. My father loved to put us on his shoulders and ‘jump the waves’ in the ocean which also terrified me! I went to my friends’ houses with pools and splashed around, but relied on looking good in my bathing suit to keep me out of the water.

When hubby and I bought our first house, it had a really large pool. Hubby had been a lifeguard for years and he taught me to swim at the ripe old age of 42. I could dive and I even helped my niece learn to swim. We had years and years of fun in our pools in Florida. I was thankful I finally felt comfortable in the water.

I am still not comfortable with boundless pools of water like lakes and oceans. I like to know my boundaries and then I am usually okay.

33 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #34 – Learning to Swim”

  1. ‘Knowing our boundaries’ is a good MO for many activities in Life. I learned to swim as a youngsters at the YMCA which was for males only. People today still can’t believe that when swimming at the Y, it was done ‘au naturel’. I think it was a cleanliness thing…I hope🙀. Your swimming hole sounds idyllic. Nice story.

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    1. Wow! Au natural, huh? I am sure some of that happened in our swimming holes, too. I do remember there being a YMCA and a YWCA and I seem to recall people renting rooms to live there.

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      1. Yes, our local YMCA had rooms to rent, a small bowling alley (candlepin…a New England fav), wood shop, and kid’s membership was $7/yr. My friends and I walked to the Y for swim lessons.

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  2. Jackie, a 4th or 5th cousin, workd with me until I could swim in a pasture pond. Jackie never walked a day in his life, MS I think, but he could swim just using his arms.

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  3. I had the best swimming instruction at Camp Fire Camp. I learned fun things such as jumping into the pool clothed and removing the soggy clothing in the water. I also learned to dive because I really really really wanted a badge that summer.

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    1. It’s a pleasure to meet you, too! I left a comment on your post, Isadora. I lived in central Florida for many years and I never found a swimming hole I would feel safe in! 😂 🐊 Good for your daughter!

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      1. I’m on the West Coast of Florida just south of Sarasota.
        My daughter was in high school then. She was a good swimmer.
        Of course, being from NY she only swam in pools. The adventure
        to try something new and, of course, friends egging her on made
        her attempt it. This was a great promped. ~~~ : – )

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