Childhood Paradise

By Brandon McCormick

It’s the middle of summer, it’s hot, it’s sunny, only one thing to do…head to the pool.

Millersville Lions Club Pool located on North Prince street right off of Millersville University’s campus was the place to be growing up. What’s better than jumping into the smooth, calm water of a swimming pool when the thermometer is hitting the 90’s?

From an early age my family was enthralled with the pool. My oldest brother and sister always played at the pool in their younger years. Naturally, my middle brother and I were dragged along.

But we always enjoyed it. Everything was so carefree, from waking up and knowing exactly where you were going to spend the better part of your day to the tiny knit bag our mother brought crackers and snacks for us in.

All of it was great, nothing beat the pool.

Every year kids would wonder if they would make any new friends or possibly meet up with the ones that were left behind last August when the pool closed.

Every year kids continued to come back, returning to the pool like a duckling to its mother.

Brandon McCormick

There was always something to do and someone to play with. Whether in the pool, going off the diving board, or playing base runner during the adult swims when they would kick us kids out of the pool for 15 minutes.

Remember base runner, the simplest yet most fun game ever? With a few friends, each kid would run from base to base (which normally were just the wet swim towels of the players) while trying to avoid being pegged with a dripping wet sponge-ball by the person that was “it”.

Even the embarrassing memories of getting yelled at for running on the cement deck by the pool lifeguards stand out in our heads. We all knew we shouldn’t run and the lifeguards had to yell at us, but we continued to ignore the rules of the pool thinking we owned the place.

Then as we continued to grow, splash parties became the next big craze. Splash parties ran from 6 to about 9:30 at night. A DJ was brought in and the lights on the pool were turned on. Everyone who was anyone went to the splash party!

We would go, swim, hangout with some friends and possibly try to create some mischief until the lifeguards caught on to our childish shenanigans.

Then, as we continued to grow and mature, suddenly the pool lost all its wonder. The magic of the pool disappeared.

Less and less people would be there every year. You would show up expecting to see your buddies and leave disappointed at the realization they probably won’t be coming back this summer.

Kids got jobs, found other friends and got other interests until just a small number of souls still remained at the Millersville Pool.

But what truly happened? Did the kids just lose their childhood innocence, thinking only dweebs go to the pool? I doubt it, I think it was the passing of the time. As kids grew so did their interests and they moved on to bigger and better things leaving the poor, lonely pool behind.

Yet for every generation that left, another stepped up in its place.

I’m a lifeguard at the pool now, and I spend the summer seeing the next generation of kids come to love the chilled water of the giant pool.

Though each generation may continue to grow and leave the pool, the good times, the hot days, and the cold water will always leave fond memories in minds of any attendee.