Homage to the Albany Pool
On her little Monday walk thinking about the plot of Trollope in Residence and how a plane crash would most definitely move things along, PP realized she’d been walking right past Albany High for the last 10 months and it struck her. Isn’t that where the Albany Pool is where she took the Lovely I for her swimming therapy when she fell off the horse?
So…yeah. It is, she thought, getting excited, walking across the street and into the big high school arched entrance.
Yet, this didn’t seem right. Fortunately a friendly clean-up guy was sweeping the floor.
“Excuse me?” she asked.
He looked up, grinned.
“But isn’t there a pool around here?”
He laughed, leaning on the handle of his broom.
“There was a pool here. They tore it down.”
“Oh…” They tore it down? How the hell could that be? It’s sacrilege to tear down a pool, esp. one that was key to PP’s pool blog and the Lovely I’s recovery.
“Yeah…it was over there,” he nodded behind him. “You need to go back out and around. That’s where it was. They gonna rebuild it though.”
Nodding, PP started out, “Thanks. I thought it was around here.”
“Oh it was. It just ain’t no more. You ain’t crazy.”
He laughed a big laugh and went back to his sweeping.
Heading out of the building, PP thought how it was good to know that she wasn’t crazy, but as she walked around the basket ball courts, thinking that it looked familiar, she felt disoriented. Yes, this did seem like where she wheeled the Lovely I past the shooting hoop hooligans. But was the pool in this big building?
She tried to see through—no, it wasn’t here. It was just some locked up auditorium or gym--PP knew this cause there was not one whiff of chlorine.
She glanced behind her. A chain link fence surrounded a large rectangular dirt field.
Shit. Could this be where the pool was? Had they filled the pool with dirt?
She walked around it, examining the weeds growing out and a couple of weird pipe thingees poking out of the ground. Were these what was left of the pumping apparatus?
It was just too horrible! A pool filled up with dirt! And esp. such a wonderful pool! PP still remembered all the floating shower cap ladies in their brightly colored caps of purple and yellow and green and orange and the Lovely I being lowered into the pool and then happily walking with the Asian History Guy (PP knows she’s got this detail wrong) —but you know what she means—the pool was ALIVE—and now, it was dead….
It was a nightmare.
Actually, once in awhile PP does have this nightmare where the pool that she swam in in Hacienda Heights is filled with dirt. She goes back to the house, and into the backyard, and the sweet little pool where she’d swam 100’s of laps was filled up and grassed over.
At least in her dream, the pool was covered with a green green lawn.
The desolation of the dirt pool here in Albany was truly stunning.
She stood for a moment at the chain link fence, staring at the dirt.
What? Like if she stared long enough it’d come back to life? That the blue water would appear, the shower cap ladies would be floating, and the Lovely I would be laughing (or crying) as all the pool action happened?
Sighing, she turned away. It was too weird.
Walking away from it, she passed a mom playing tennis with her two daughters. Laughing, flailing, stumbling around the court.
One of the daughters almost fell over reaching for a shot; they all convulsed into giggles.
Yes, there was still life here. And maybe it's not the magic of the Albany Pool, but the pool will always be in PP's memory and on her blog and in Pool Heaven (there must be a pool heaven!)
Goodbye, Albany Pool! We shall miss you!