I remember the neighborhood pool from my childhood — water with far too much chlorine, a snack bar with treats we didn’t have at home like snow cones and Fun Dips, and a locker room where you had to wear flip flops because the floor looked like it had seen better days.
So far, the neighborhood pool of my youth is not all that different than the one my kids go to now. Sure there’s a water slide, but not a fancy one, and there’s a few more items at the snack bar like hot pretzels and something called “Nerds,” but it’s basically the same down to earth, simple summer fun.
It’s a place where my kids play foursquare, the real one with a ball on the pool deck, not the kind on Facebook, a place where they endlessly come up with new moves to do off the diving board, and a place to find a shady spot on a lounge chair to read their favorite books.
But most of all, it’s a place to connect with friends, summer friends, who we don’t always see during the school year, and do handstands in the water or collectively beg their parents for snack bar money until the sun sets.
There is something very comforting about this summer ritual, a tradition from a bygone era that still cannot be replaced by Netflix and computer games.
I remember those summers like they were yesterday, and hopefully so will my kids …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.