Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Farm had two pools and four swimming teachers

Chub was busy planting corn, and I chose the one nearly level spot in the backyard and made one trip with tractor and scraper to mark off a place more than 10 feet wide and 15 feet long. My Dad watched and then said, "Oh, hell, Sue, let me do that."

I did. I helped Chub measure and stake out a pool, and by the Fourth of July weekend, the block walls were up. People I didnít know were putting their names on waiting lists for lessons later.

Nancy played in a plastic pool to entertain the younger siblings of the students. She had the little ones pretending they were learning to swim. Several mothers said, "Sue, that Nancy is actually teaching these little ones. We expect to pay her." Later we removed one side of that small pool to enlarge it.

Chub contacted some fellows who used forms to pour concrete basement walls to reinforce pool walls. They enlarged the pool to 15 feet wide and 45 feet long and installed a new, higher-capacity water filter. We then could teach adults and older children, and there were names on waiting lists until mid-August, when summer schools ended and long family vacations began.

When Nancy and her helper were teens, we built an above-ground-level pool for her students, who were 4 years old and older. They liked going under to look at the colorful painted animals on the pool bottom. Her pool had a built-in seat along one side for resting and for jumping off into the water.

One day, classes in both pools were halted, and swimmers got quiet when three wild deer ambled across the nearby pasture, unafraid.

A childís father, watching, called our attention to the deer as they sauntered to a nearby pond in the pasture to drink. One time there were also baby bluebirds hatching in the knothole of an old cedar fence post.

We whispered, "Climb out quietly and keep your hands on your hips, and no one talking, look in at that proud bluebird mother hovering over her babies."

We never knew when the baby birds were strong enough to survive in the wild, but the mother bird took care of that.

We knew, however, that many hundreds of children enjoyed the trip out to the farm on what a little girl named "Wild Kingdom Road."

Even now, more than 50 years later, many people I encounter say, "Oh, you know me; I brought my children out to your farm for swimming lessons."

I often offer this reply: "I didnít take my eyes off those swimmers long enough to remember you. I was busy teaching while you parents were watching from your seat on a railroad tie secured into the dirt of the pond bank."

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