In the words of Alice Cooper, “School’s out for the summer.”
For Wyoming Area, it probably seemed like summer recess was never going to come. Over the last few years, the schools stopped building in snow days make-up days are tacked onto the end of the school calendar.
The other day, I decided to wash the car in late morning before the daily rains came in the afternoon. As I prepared to get my soap bucket and hose ready, I noticed the neighborhood kids roaming about.
Soon, a little girl and her brother a few doors down the block were riding their bike and scooter past my house. Aww, summer is finally here, I thought.
After washing the car, I began to dry it off when an old high school friend, Paul, stopped by on his walk to his late mother’s house that he still owns. It’s the same house he grew up in and the same house where I spent many of my childhood days.
He, too, noticed all the kids out of school when he said something to me that I had thought of not more than 30 minutes earlier.
“As I was walking over here and me seeing all the kids out of school, all of a sudden, it felt likethe 70s when we were kids,” he quipped.
There are a few exceptions between yesteryear and today. Way back when, we had some options not available today. We had the West Pittston Pool; today, it’s a covered-over patch of grass. Oh, the fun we had back then. The other thing different today is there are no more Little League games. It’s all All-Star action now so, in essence, most Little League parks are dark. Our season used to last until the end of August.
The pool was such a gathering place for all the kids; it was happy and wholesome and it passed the time all afternoon. Our parents knew where we were at all times.
You’d pack your towel and some change for the food stand and you were off. You’d walk or ride your bike and, in a matter of minutes, you were there.
The pool opened promptly at 1 p.m. and, undoubtedly, there would be a line with children and adults waiting for the double doors to open. Members would have to show their badge to the attendant. In the earlier days, you would have a patch sewn onto your bathing suit.
Betty Kasulanis or the late Andy Whyte would be sitting behind the window watching those entering, making sure they had ID badge to get in. If you were from out of town or if you forgot your badge, you had to pay a fee for the day.
Mr. Whyte was very strict when it came to the rules of the pool. If there were any shenanigans, you had your badge confiscated and you, more than likely, received a three-day suspension.
Sometimes if you got caught running (running was a big no-no at the pool), you got benched. That meant you had to sit on one of the many benches for a period of time. It was like going to jail without the bars.
Going to the pool as a 12-year-old or teenager was an interesting time. Let’s just say, as you entered your teen years, the hormones started to bud. You know, the stage for guys when girls were “icky” to, “Hey, she’s cute.”
I digress. So you entered the grounds and, of course, towel placement was key. It seemed adults had a favorite spot so you couldn’t place your towel on taken territory. Besides, you didn’t want to be too close to the adults.
Nevertheless, if you did fancy someone, you would place your towel somewhere close to them since hormones dictated towel placement.
A lot of boyfriend/girlfriend relationship probably began because of the pool. If you didn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend at the beginning of the summer, you had one by the end.
My buddy Paul was a lifeguard for a few years after high school at the West Pittston Pool, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention lifeguards.
Every kid had a favorite lifeguard and we all a lifeguard crush.
A few other events that seemingly have gone by the wayside are community carnivals or picnics. The Little League had a picnic and a pie and ice cream social, the hose company had a pie and ice cream social, Goodwill Hose Co. had a picnic, the Moose Lodge had a picnic and most churches had picnics.
There was so much more to do socially in the community.
One more thing about the community pool. Most times we got there at 1 p.m. and there were many times when we left at 9 p.m. at the close of the day. Essentially, you could spend all day, go home for dinner, and go back until 9. It was great.
So kids, enjoy your summer break and, hopefully, you can build memories like I have from days gone by.
Quote of the week
“I’ve learned from experience that the greatest part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.” – Martha Washington, American first lady
Thought of the week
“Preservation is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” – Walter Elliott, American Catholic priest
“Life isn’t a science, we make it up as we go.” – Al Hirschfeld, American caricaturist
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.