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Swimming holes

July 21, 2012

Growing up in the country, I was a long way from public swimming pools.  With the polio scares of the fifties, I probably would not have been allowed by my parents to use them anyway.  It’s hard for people now to imagine how terrifying polio was back then.  And it was transferred in swimming pools.  Pictures of young people in iron lungs were not pretty.

There were creeks and rivers around.   In the North Georgia mountains, creeks ran through heavily wooded areas, and small pools would form at the bases of waterfalls.  The pools were used as swimming holes.   Sometimes people would line rocks and stones where the water flowed out of the pool to make the swimming hole larger and deeper.  Ropes were attached to overhanging trees some bolder swimmers could swing out over the water and drop into the ice-cold water.   I have seen friends whose faces would start taking on a bluish tint after a few minutes in the water.  And there was always the fear of snakes and plenty of snake stories, all ending in the deaths of unsuspecting swimmers.   I don’t know if any of the stories were true or not, but they were scary.

There were also small lakes and ponds behind small dams.  They water was warmer, but there was the mud and mire at the bottom.  A soft ooze that your feet would sink into.   

Rivers were another choice.  The water was swift and more shallow.    One of the rivers near where I live had a swift current and a whirlpool which even a strong swimmer could not escape.    Several swimmers got to close and were pulled under and drowned there.

But still I remember the days when I would go swimming.  The pleasure of cooling off on a hot day would outweigh all the scary stories and the muddy bottoms.

We don’t do that anymore.  Now swimming pools are everywhere with treated water and smooth bottoms and shallow ends and diving boards and lifeguards.

Seems to me the swimming holes were more fun.

  1. Carmen permalink

    Hubby and I recently drive over a bridge and reminisced about the days when we used to jump off the top of it into the river below. I remember the heat of the sunny days and – mostly – the joy (now that I look back) of irresponsibility; the camaraderie of my teenage friends all daring each other to jump higher…god only knows what was in that river…
    Those were the days I sported a bikini. Didn’t last near long enough. 🙂

    • You are right it those years now seemed short. Girls in the fifties stiff were the one piece bathing suits. We did not have a bridge that we jumped off.

      • Carmen permalink

        I would have been jumping off that bridge in the 70’s, OG, not that long before I was married. (When I was 19). If one of our daughters had said she was getting married at 19, I’d have blown a gasket.

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