It was a near daily pilgrimage in the 60’s.
Walk down Findlay Avenue to Vicksburg, turn left and walk the two short blocks to Ted’s. Turn right on Sheridan.
Past the Animal Clinic with its cat skeleton in the window. Across the railroad tracks. I vaguely recall a florist or nursery on the right, between Belmont and the animal clinic.
Then on to Kenton Manor Court, where we walked on the sidewalk shaded by the roof overhang.
We peered into rooms being cleaned by the maids. We filched little bars of soap from the housekeeping carts, and helped ourselves to ice from the ice machine.
Soon the big white above-ground pool appeared in the middle of the green grass lawn.
We walked in the double front door. Ladies locker rooms to the left, men’s to the right. But before that we always had to go to one of the two underwater windows that shone bright blue.
These porthole windows were built into the wall to the sides of the front desk. Each had three steps to mount, and then you could look into the deep end of the pool. We watched as people dove or jumped from the platform or the high diving board.
One TOT resident who shall remain nameless, (*cough* Don Knoll *cough*) used to float past the windows with his eyes open and his tongue hanging open to give all the kids peering through the window a shock.
Then on to the locker rooms to change.
Before you could go go up the pool, you had to pass inspection. Two old ladies waited to check your knees and elbows for any open wounds. Only then could you walk up those steps into the sunlit deck of Delaware Pool.
As a child Delaware Pool seemed huge. We stayed all afternoon. If we got cold, then we’d lie on the hot cement deck for a while to warm up before jumping back in.
I learned to swim at Delaware Pool.
Every summer until the final class, advanced swimming, which I didn’t pass because I couldn’t bring myself to jump off the top level of the platform!
Sometimes, after we showered and dressed, we would make a little side trip to the Catholic religious store that stood in a side strip perpendicular to the AM&A’s plaza. We fingered the medals and the relics and examined the plaster statues of saints until the proprietor shooed us out.
I don’t know when my old and much-loved Delaware Pool was torn down.
But I sure remember being home on a visit, driving down Sheridan Drive, and realizing it was no longer there. I remember the shock I felt. How could they tear it down?
A piece of my childhood had gone missing. It felt as if I had lost an old friend.