As I was sitting here at my computer my mind seemed to want to head down that ole path called "memory lane." And for some reason I found myself back in Fort Scott and I was 16 years old.
It is really hard for me to remember what it was like being 16 years old. But anyway, it was summertime and back in those carefree days when all I had to worry about was taking care of myself and getting to work on time at Bennett's Ice Cream Parlor. If I remember it was across the street from the Tribune office. I usually worked a "split shift," went to work in the morning and was off in the afternoon and back for the evening shift.
So, what did I do in the afternoon? I spent all of my free time at the swimmin' pool; in fact I spent all of my waking hours at the pool. I loved to swim, especially underwater and I would see how far I could go before I had to come up for air.
I could make it across the width and pretty far on the length. I loved to dive, so practiced my diving. I loved to do the swan dive and the jackknife. I would spend hours practicing every kind of dive I could think of. Well one day as I was practicing a flip, I tucked my knees up too tight and hit my nose with my knees and broke my nose.
I decided then and there I would never do another flip. I rode home on my bicycle and my Mama took one look at me and said, "Marilyn what happened to ya? Yer eyes are black and it looks like ya broke yer nose." After I told her what had happened, she said, "Haven't I told ya to quit doin' them flips; if I've told ya once, I've told ya a hunnard times."
They won't do a thing for a broken nose, 'cept pack it with cotton. She was right, they packed it with cotton. My Mama was always right.
The Red Cross offered a class in senior lifesaving, so I took it and passed.
The fella that was the instructor was probably 30 or 35 years old and was built very stocky and was about twice as big as me. To pass the test, all the students had to "save" the instructor. He would jump into the deep end and go under and down and we had to dive in and save him. When it was my turn, I dove in and the way we were taught was to approach a drowning person from the front, (otherwise if they were facing you, they would grab a hold of you) turn them around with one hand 'til they were facing the opposite direction and with our other arm put it across their chest and hug them up tight to our side and swim up to the service over to the side and then give them artificial respiration. After that, the Red Cross had a swimming camp down somewhere in Missouri. I can't remember for sure where. Anyway, Kenny Douglas and I were invited to take junior and senior lifesaving instructors' course. It was free and all that we had to do was instruct junior and senior lifesaving classes the following summer. The class was for a whole week. What a fun time we had. It was a very intense course that included teaching swimming, beginners diving, junior and senior life saving and boat safety.
There must have been 150 in the class, and besides the classes we had lots of fun time to do as we pleased. And yes, the following summer I did teach swimming and junior and senior lifesaving. Those were the "good ole days."