All summer long, you’ve been with me,
I can’t see enough of you;
All summer long, we’ve both been free,
Won’t be long ’til summer time is through.
— The Beach Boys, 1964
I am lying, poolside, in a plastic chaise lounge, listening to pop music and watching water droplets dry on my skin. The year is 2011, but my thoughts keep returning to the mid-1960s, when I spent the summers doing exactly the same thing in precisely the same spot.
The name of the complex has changed, the bathhouse and concession stand have been reconfigured, and a children’s slide has replaced one of the diving boards. But the L-shaped pool is still big, blue and cool, the concrete deck still burns the soles of bare feet, and a Popsicle still delivers a sweet, welcome numbness to the tongue.
There are places for each of us that possess special powers, no matter how far removed we become by miles or years. This swimming pool, planted above the banks of the Wabash River, has been one of those places for me for nearly half a century. I have longed for it from big cities on either coast and gravitated toward it on visits home in the dead of winter — just to stand near its memories.
Largely, I suspect this is because of the time in which I frequented the pool. It was brief and rarefied. The rumblings of a U.S. cultural and sexual revolution had begun, but the vibrations had not quite reached this patch of the Midwest. For most Americans, it still seemed a relatively innocent time — and I was a genuinely innocent adolescent, hovering between girl and woman.
The reality of my own revolutions lay hidden, years away in an impenetrable future.
Life was in near-equipoise during those summer days, structured but unfettered, rhythmic but filled with surprise. School was out — for months, not weeks — and my hardworking, middle-class parents had sacrificed to make my sister’s and my existence as trouble-free and enjoyable as possible. The pool, then private, cost my folks a bundle. My sister and I repaid them by virtually living there, happy, safe and accounted for, all day long behind a chain-link fence.
The fence was like a two-way magnet in those days. Mostly, it drew boys in their cars or on bikes to one side and girls like me to the other. Less often, the genders were reversed; girls cruised into the glimmering asphalt parking lot in cars, pulling males or females, dripping, from the pool. The body language always spoke volumes: fingers entwined in the metal links, faces close enough for quiet conversation, or one party standing several feet away, hands tucked behind the back, neutral, non-threatening or not interested.
Dates were made at the fence, gossip delivered, promises broken, hopes buoyed and dashed. Sometimes, hours of watching for the mere sight of an object of pure bliss ended in existential blackness. Other times, an entire day was rescued by the subtle but unmistakable raising of a hand from the driver’s window of a slowly moving car. He’s going to call!
All summer long, you’ve been with me,
Readers’ Forum: April 24, 2014
• Keep comments to the political
- Editorial: Noteworthy in the News (Honors for strong commitment)
- Readers’ Forum: April 23, 2014
RONN MOTT: Shave
I recently saw a television pitch man explain the virtues of the single blade in what appeared to be an old-fashioned safety razor. He was explaining we didn’t need three blades in a razor, or five, or six, and how many more are we going to get with the razor to get that perfect shave? He urged us to use only one.
Readers’ Forum: April 22, 2014
Volunteer to help a child
Very successful WDC Style Show
EDITORIAL: Exploring the road to better health
The Indiana 8th Congressional District exemplifies the importance of the Hoosier Health Care Tour conducted by two doctors who also serve as lawmakers — one on the state level, the other in Washington, D.C.
Readers’ Forum: April 21, 2014
Navigating our freedom, rightsa rocky ride
We need to think about farming
MARK BENNETT: Living the dream
Earth Day receives its share of under-your-breath criticism.
EDITORIAL: Pondering the jail problem
Our compliments to Vigo County Councilman Mark D. Bird for taking the time and investing the thought and energy into writing his detailed letter to the editor on the topic of the county’s jail, published in this newspaper on April 13.
FLASHPOINT: Newspapers and baseball: Two great institutions are evolving
There are few aspects of American life that are the same today as they were 100 years ago. Two of them are newspapers and baseball.
Readers’ Forum: April 20, 2014
Testing still best way to measure
Addressing issues of inequality
Perfect blend of attributes
An outstanding choice for judge
No excuses for Benghazi tragedy
RONN MOTT: Spring activities settle into northside park
Some say young love blossoms like the flowers in the spring. It must be spring, because we witnessed the first wedding ceremony performed in the Collett Park gazebo on a recent Saturday.
EDITORIAL: Get smart with 911
Worst-case scenarios when emergency service are needed are not things people like to think about. But focused attention on details in advance could make a life-changing, even life-saving, difference in the future.
FLASHPOINT: Heading in the wrong direction
A study released last week by the Tax Foundation reported Indiana taxpayers saw one of the sharpest increases in tax burden since 2001. Dig deeper and the numbers are more alarming.
RONN MOTT: They didn’t make it!
The “One and Dones” done went and didn’t! (I know this is grammatically incorrect, but I want those folks down in Kentucky to read it.)
EDITORIAL: Dealing with eroded trust
Our neighbors in Putnam County are understandably concerned, even outraged, over problems in their sheriff’s department. People have a right to expect their chief law-enforcement agency — one of the most important public institutions in any community — to operate professionally and effectively.
Readers’ Forum: April 17, 2014
• A blessing from our young folks
• Confidence in judge candidate
EDITORIAL: Preparing for voting changes
The primary election, during which Hoosiers will traipse to their polling places to select party candidates to fill the ballot for the general election, is now three weeks away.
Readers’ forum: April 16, 2014
• Mott’s rant on global warming
• Salvation through the Indian way
RONN MOTT: Royce Waltman
In recent days the papers have been full of good things about Royce Waltman. Not a lot of puffery, but more like Royce himself… straight, true and right at you.
LIZ CIANCONE: Not much peace since war to end all wars
My jaw dropped the other day when I read that this year, 2014, marks 100 years since the start of World War I. No, you wise guys, I wasn’t there personally.
Readers’ Forum: April 15, 2014
Sound choice for county judge
Giving your car the care it needs
Park restrooms should be open
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news (Honors for outstanding women)
Honors for outstanding women
Sprucing up around the wetlands
You can say that again
Reader Poll results
Readers’ Forum: April 14, 2014
Alternatives to ‘injustice’
EDITORIAL: Teaming up to fight the ugliness of graffiti
Graffiti hurts the Terre Haute community. It deflates property values and local pride. It literally paints an image of carelessness on the city.
MARK BENNETT: It’s (Not) So Easy
Arctic air bled into the Wabash Avenue post-hippie-era diner-pub every time the wooden door swung open.
ERIC SCHANSBERG: The 1040 tax form turns 100
The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution brought us the federal income tax in 1913. A year later, the 1040 tax form was born.
Readers’ Forum: April 13, 2014
• An attack of hypocrisy
• New jail not a good idea
• Thinking about the next election
• Being positive a tremendous asset
• Work status a matter of value
FLASHPOINT: Time to fix government
In 1965, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, brought legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid to the floor of the U.S. House. That was my first year in Congress, and I remember vividly the moment when Mills came to the Democratic caucus to explain his plans.
Death Notice: April 13, 2014
- More Opinion Headlines
- Readers’ Forum: April 24, 2014