Jun 30

Pool Days

I’ve been back in Pennsylvania for the past two weeks enjoying the house I grew up in, sifting through old pictures, visiting those places that for most of the year are only in my memory. I love coming back home. The hills roll with the land, everything is greener than green, and the grass is soft and thick, perfect for bare feet.

Me and my kids have ventured a few times to the pool I used to walk to almost every single summer day. My friend Lauren and I would meet up right when the pool opened, spread out our towels by the picnic table near the snack bar, dive off the sides, and leave the water only for adult swim or when we knew dinner was getting put on the table.

The pool looks much different this summer. They renovated it, putting in two slides, a mini lazy river, cabanas, and a new bathroom (though that looks a lot the same: bits of toilet paper stuck to the wet concrete…ewww).

But despite the different look, the sounds, the smells, and the sights are the same. Chlorine, grass, cement, ice cream, candy bars, chips, laughter, shouting, lifeguard whistles, giddy girls, show-off boys, toddlers, babies, moms, dads, grandparents, bathing suits, tan lines, white skin, black skin, red skin, lot’s of skin.

And its an amazing thing that you do not need to be at the pool off of Westerly Parkway  to see this, or to smell it, or to hear it, even though your pool looks different than this one, and may be a thousand miles away from the one I’m standing in.

You know. You can see it, you can smell it, you can hear it.

I love how there is always a bit of sameness in experiences between all of us humans. Love, heartbreak, death, mystery, shame, sadness, redemption, and joy.

And that is part of the job for us writers. To find the small splash of sameness, however insignificant, in our beautiful human differences. And it’s in infusing stories with this bit of sameness that we are able to identify with a character that is so different than us, or a place so foreign to what we know. We see a little piece of ourselves among the words and the pages and at the end of the story, we can find hope for our own story.

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