Days Like Those

The smell of chlorine and baby oil and the feel of a hot sun beating down long enough after lounging for awhile on a towel where jumping in the NCO Club pool was again in order — let’s go back to days like those.

Though now it would be better to be able to jump in a clean, natural lake or pond without any oil on or chlorine in the water and let the sun penetrate the skin — but that was long ago made out of order. Are there any clean lakes left — or ponds?

We called it The Polliwog Pond and couldn’t wait for summer to come so we could wade out, against our mother’s orders, to scoop a few tadpoles up into a jar to watch them turn to frogs. We had our sun suits on and thongs. Thongs in those days were flip flops.

There was a huge field used for growing potatoes. There was a big low spot that must have had enough clay in the desert sand that it could hold water for days on end after a big enough rain event.

“Lets go to The Polliwog Pond!” we’d exclaim after we imagined there had been enough summer rain.

“Don’t get your sun suits wet,” our mother would remind us as we darted out the door. The polliwog pond was less than a quarter of a mile away but to get there we could easily traipse through neighbors’ yards, cross a nearly empty street, traipse through more houses of people we didn’t know or take the dirt road that skirted by the row of houses’ side to get to the potato field where polliwogs might be.

We were three. I can’t remember any friends. Three sisters, that was we and in our hands were little moving bits of gold glinting in the sun, squiggling through the water cupped in our palms. We felt rich. We felt privileged. And we were. We had polliwogs.

Let’s go back to days like those.

Where was not yet known the term Useless Eaters. Where low class felt so high. Where swings and bicycles were quite enough — and hopscotch and four square and monkey bars.

Even then there was the meme Duck and Cover and fear of nuclear war. We didn’t think much about it though, until the Cuban Missile Crisis came along to make our mothers fly around just like the sky was falling. We got the drift. We got a little scared just because our mothers were. We just went and played outside all the while waiting for a bomb to drop. Anxiety went away. The sun was out, there were things to do. We did not have the internet to spoil all our fun.

Someone’s always trying to ruin all the fun.

Why. Why can’t they leave us all alone? All the useless eaters.

We thought it was a lake. It was probably just a puddle. It was deep enough to get our little bottoms in our sun suits wet.