Monday, April 13, 2009
Endless Summer - Second Job
When I turned 16 I was eligible to apply for one of the coveted life guard positions at the Woodemere Pool, the local "watering hole" of the Baby Boomer set. I got the job!! I was thrilled beyond description. It was the best job ever! Not only did I get to tan all day, I also got to blow the whistle at anyone I wanted and yell at them. When it was the top of the hour, the two guards on duty stood and blew their whistles at the same time and everyone cleared the pool. As the last kid shimmied out of the pool and everyone was safely sitting on the side waiting for the ten minute break to end, we (the two lifeguards) would jump or do a magnificent swan dive, into the now empty crystal clear pool.
The more I think about the three years I spent life guarding at Woodemere and the Country Club, I think it warrants more than one post/entry.
After all, this is the place that I suffered through my first crush, Kit, who taught me how to dive. I was terrible. No talent, but because I was 12 and in love, I did what ever dangerous dive he demanded. A back flip and a half gainer where as exotic a dive as I was able to execute. And for the most part I landed on my back, on my face, or some contorted position smacking the water with excruciating force, all in the name of love.
The worst was the back dive off the high dive. But, I loved trying the back dive because he would hold me at the waist as I bent over backwards and then he would ....let go. Down I would plunge, holding my breath as my legs ever so uncooperative would, in slow motion, break the line and sail over my head causing me to do a monumental belly flop. I'm certain it looked as comical as it sounds. And I am double certain it hurt as much as it sounds. And I did it over and over again until I finally did it right.
All for love.
Kit, at 17, also was the manager of the pool and the Coach of the swimming team. I was his star back stroker, because he learned that I was not cut out for diving. I believe to this day that the reason I excelled in swimming for the next five years was I secretly thought winning the Olympic Gold Medal would also win Kit's heart.
By the time I was a lifeguard, he was long gone. Gone to college somewhere, probably married. I had lost interest and moved on. But, he was my first major crush. A living and breathing, blond haired babe with a hot tanned body and the mysterious missing finger to the second knuckle. That imperfection was enough to drive my 12 year old heart to burst with the flush of love and desire.
Forty (40) years later, at my fathers funeral, a gray haired, slightly short, slightly stout, wearing spec's a man in a tan jacket took my hand looked deep into my eyes and said, "I'm Kit H.".
I almost fainted. My heart began to beat wildly and my face flushed to the shade of my red, as red as my back after the high dive disaster incident.
At my age. My my.