I was a capable student in school. I participated in class, did my homework – I actually LOVED doing homework, underlining the titles of my compositions in at least two different colours, and sometimes just for the heck of it, rewriting entire notebooks. Learning came easy to me. I was a good student, as in “an obedient” one. I suppose, in the dictionary under the term “brown nose” you will find my picture. I loved reading, and writing, math, the works.
No, that’s not quite accurate. If “the works” includes Phys. Ed., then I lied. Through my entire career at school, for one reason or another, I have never enjoyed P.E. My worst experience was in 1967 when we took swimming lessons.
Since the school did not have a pool, we took a bus to the YMCA downtown and were taught by the instructors there.
I did not know how to swim and my only experience of pools were the shallow cement wading pool at Victoria Park and the two-ring inflatable job we had at home. I had no fear of water, but I had a healthy respect for depths over my head.
There was one little problem, however, about my swimming lessons. I did not have a bathing suit. As you may recall, this is 1967, the year that money was tight at home. There was barely enough in the budget to pay for bus fare. There was nothing for swimwear, especially something that I would likely never wear again since I’d outgrow it before the summer.
Mom, in her single-minded fashion, gave me her bathing suit to wear. She was a moderately endowed women, with ample assets below. I was a scrawny, flat-chested 11 year-old. I modelled the suit in the kitchen and she stitched up some of the excess here or there. It seemed to fit just fine, for wearing in a kitchen, that is.
In the water, however…
First day of lessons, the two male instructors start the class off with a couple of exercises at the wall of the pool. We are to practice floating on our backs, but anchored with our feet hooked over the wall of the pool. So far, so good. This is actually kind of fun. It’s really nifty, this buoyancy thing.
“OK”, shouts the instructor. “Now, one at a time, I want you to place both feet on the wall of the pool and kick yourself backward and just let yourself float. Wait until I come to watch you to make sure you do it correctly.”
I’m a good student. I do what I’m told. When the instructor steps up to my station, I place both feet on the wall and propel myself backward with all my might. A gigantic and satisfying splash of water crashes around me. I float.
As does the top of my bathing suit. Around my waist. The instructor looks at me with… what, dismay? embarrassment? I was mortified. And in water over my head. I started to panic and flap and flail in the water. The teacher reaches out the long rescue pole and hauls me up out of the pool.
Later, after the long, cold bus ride home, my hair dripping and my dignity in tatters I tossed the bathing suit into the kitchen sink.
“I’m not wearing this thing any more!”I declared.
That was the end of my swimming lessons.
Inspired by Melissa and her Post “For some Reason we were Talking About Boobs”
“Never wear a bikini (because they don’t make the tops in the “over the shoulder boulder holder” size)?
Check. I can’t even count the number of times
I lost my suit top before I abandoned the bikini altogether.”
Categories: Mom and Dad