Day 132: The Lifeguards at Daniel Meyer Pool

16 Aug

August 16th is a day that I will always remember. It was on that date that a boy that I cared a lot about drowned in a lake in upstate New York. I was seventeen and my world changed forever.

It was so strange to me that Michael could die in water – for I loved the water and was so comfortable there. I was even a part of the synchronized swimming team at my school. It never occurred to me that a 19-year-old boy would not be able to swim.

Fortunately I was not there to witness this event. I heard about it through the grapevine. Michael had been playing around in the water and must have panicked. His friend Charlie tried to save him but was being pulled under with him, and fighting for his own life, had to release him. I am sure that Charlie carries that memory still.

After this devastating occurrence, I tried to make sure that everyone I knew was able to swim. This “mission” began with my young cousins and nephews and continued on until I had children of my own.

My daughter, who has always been fearless, took to the water immediately. After my son was born, I took him to the “mommy and me” swim class but he was not happy unless he was clinging to me. It was a few years later that he had his first lesson.

Coco was about 2 1/2 when he first went to the Daniel Meyer Pool. He was in a small class and the instructor tried and tried but Coco would not get into the water with her. That’s when a man named Rich came over. I’m pretty sure that he was the head lifeguard. He saw the trouble that the instructor was having with Coco and told her that he would work with this kid.

It was amazing to watch Rich and Coco. First Rich asked Coco if he would like to jump into the water and Coco shook his head no. Then there was a quiet, lengthy conversation between them. And then I saw Coco jump from the side of the pool into Rich’s arms. I was stunned! I don’t know what he’d said, but Rich had convinced my son to take that leap. And before long, Coco was swimming underwater with his eyes open. I was totally amazed at the skill that Rich displayed in helping my son lose his fear of the water.

Today I brought an apple pie to the lifeguards at Daniel Meyer. I wanted to thank them for their commitment and patience in teaching our children how to swim. I hope they know how incredibly important their work is.

2 Responses to “Day 132: The Lifeguards at Daniel Meyer Pool”

  1. Connie Sayler September 3, 2011 at 8:36 AM #

    Good Morning Karen, I was just sitting down with my coffee to read some of your postings and had to comment on this one. You and I have a funny thing in common, we both have done synchronized swimming. 🙂 I did it in high school, and loved it! Have a great weekend. I made it to Medford and back yesterday in great shape.

    By the way I love your blog!

    • pieadaygiveaway September 3, 2011 at 5:06 PM #

      Who would have guessed that we are both so talented? I choreographed a routine to the Four Seasons song, “Rag Doll.” I can remember most of it still…
      Glad you made it okay. We had such fun in Gold Beach and running into Mark (and then having you both visit) was just perfect.

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