Chlorine, Baby Oil, and Orange Crush



I’m passionate about antiques. I’m quite sure I was supposed to be born in the early 40s. Nothing stirs me like walking through an antique store, especially one filled with vintage treasures that now remind me of my childhood. Guess that makes me “vintage.” It’s cool, right?

I’m in love with these old metal gym baskets I’ve been finding for a while now. One look and I’m taken back to the public swimming pool across the street from my childhood home. I can instantly smell the chlorine.

They’d hand us a basket with a key attached to it. You had to safety pin the key to your suit, (no one did that – we pinned them to our towels). Then we walked through the locker room, conspiring how to look like we showered without really showering. Showers were required to swim. This basically meant throwing some of that cold shower water on your head so the lifeguard watching you come out wouldn’t send you back in. This is why I don’t attend public pools as an adult….gross.

Next, to find the perfect spot to rest our towels and jump on in to practice opening our eyes under water. Are kids allowed to do that these days? The soda machine would need to be nearby so we could get our fill of orange Crush. I lived in a tiny little town, a bit behind the times. So that fabulous soda machine spit out glass bottles…yum.

With age, we would instead find the perfect spot to show off our baby oiled, glistening bodies as the cute boys walked by. I remember actually watching someone put melted butter on their body! My generation keeps dermatologists in business.

My most vivid memory, however, is the young boy who decided to show his unwavering love for me, by pushing me in the pool. I have a permanent scar on my leg from sliding down the scratchy bricks as I fell in. He should have pushed me harder so I’d miss the edge.

All of those memories from picking up an old, metal basket. To some, old treasures are not treasures at all, but old junk. To me, I see items that need to be rescued. How sad to see something completely disappear that can trigger a precious walk down memory lane.