Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Saturday in the Park

Chicago came on my iPod this morning. It was the song Saturday in the Park. I can't hear Chicago without thinking about the community pool I went to when I was a kid. It was in the community of Greenbriar in Northern Virginia. We lived on Majestic Lane (4313 to be precise) so we were within easy walking distance from the pool and Greenbriar East Elementary School where I attended 1-4 grades.

The pool was a lot of fun because, in my memory anyway, we seemed to spend practically the whole summer there. They always had the radio on loudspeakers and it was tuned to WEEL 1300 AM which was a top 40 station back in the day. For younger people, top 40 radio used to be just the best of music from all the different genres: rock, pop, R&B and even country. Anyway, it seems like that station played every Chicago song every recorded so whenever I hear Chicago, I think of the pool because they would have that station on all day long. Another song that reminds me of those days is D'yer Mak'er by Led Zeppelin.

The summer before my fourth grade year, my aunt and uncle and cousins came to stay with us. At the end of the stay, us kids decided it would be cool if we could get my cousin's parents to let them stay another couple of weeks. We realized that in two weeks, my mom was going to take us to West Virginia anyway so we might be able to talk them into letting the cousins stay. We asked but they were non committal. So we hooked a microphone up to my dad's guitar amp and started doing "commercials" to let our cousins stay with us: "Sick of those kids? Why not get rid of them for a couple of weeks. Send them off to scenic 4313 Majestic Lane. They'll have a pool, a park and someone to play with." We did this for what seems like an hour. We had various themes, but they always ended with "a pool, a park and someone to play with." Much to our surprise and amazement, our aunt and uncle agreed and the cousins got to stay with us.

That began a tradition of summer visits that carried on for several years. That year, my brother Doug, my cousin Randy, my cousin Steve and I spent part of every non-rainy day at that pool. The most fun was when we stayed long enough for it to start getting dark and we would get to see the lights come on under the water.

One day, my mom had to go to a hair appointment or something. It was raining that day so we didn't go to the pool, but she let us all say home alone. We played all day long with our Legos, Fort Apache, Hot Wheels, Army Men and some Freakies cereal figures we collected.

It was one of the best summers ever.

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