More from the James House

I think we still lived in the James house in Van when Mama decided to put me and my brother Allen in swimming lessons.  Sharon was too young, and Brenda hadn’t arrived yet.  There was a large round public pool at the park, which was adjacent to the city golf course.  I can still see it and it looked awfully big to my six-year-old eyes.  We were divided into groups of six or eight and assigned to different teachers.  My teacher was a man named Mal Fowler, whom I later knew as the high school’s head football coach, and whose son Todd grew up to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
Coach Fowler taught us how to hold our breaths underwater, and I suppose we learned to swim some, but really my swimming skills didn’t develop until much later.  I was a timid little girl, and I was afraid of him.  I was especially afraid when we were required to jump off the diving board on the last day of lessons, and swim to the side.  I’m still not sure how I didn’t drown!  I was really glad when that two weeks was over.
It’s amazing how memories seal themselves in our brains with the senses of sight, smell, and hearing.  Our lessons took place in the mornings with the scent of water and chlorine, the sounds of chattering children, adult voices, and splashing water, and the sight of mothers with young children waiting on one end of the pool while their children bobbed in the water in various groups with their teachers. 
I’ve never been quite sure that swimming lessons actually teach children to swim, but one thing the lessons do accomplish is building confidence in the student so they can go on to perfect the skill themselves.  At least that is what I did, and my own children did, years later.  I never did thank Coach Fowler for teaching me that life skill, and now it is too late. 

What about you?  How did you learn to swim?  Or did you?


By aencoker

Author, teacher, mom, grandmother, but most of all, Christian.

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