Memorial Day

A three day weekend, and the American start to summer. This weekend marks one of the stranger things about this part of the USA, and it is all to do with swimming pools!

Back in the days of my youth my school had an open air swimming pool. In fact it looked like this;

Ardenhurst School pool
We’d go swimming when it was warm enough, and remembering that this was England in the 1980’s as long as there wasn’t ice on the surface, and the heating system wasn’t completely switched off we could be swimming. The risk of finding bees or dead frogs bobbing along beside you were very real, and there were always the rumours that the kids from Henley Highschool used to sneak into the grounds and urinate in it when we weren’t there!

My other pool experiences had been indoors, in the village pool, or at the local town’s leisure center. Both of these facilities were noisy, chlorinated venues that were open all year round which brings me to the point of this post…

Did you know that in America most large neighbourhoods have a community pool? These facilities would look pretty good in any reasonably sized village back in England, but are normally the private retreats of a number of streets paying into a homeowner’s association. They are predominantly open air, heated, and well maintained. They are also closed for far more of the year than you would expect!

From this blog you’ve noticed that it can get bloody hot in January, and that I could still be in shorts and a t-shirt in early November, so one would expect the pools to do a roaring trade almost year round. However, these pools must be staffed with lifeguards, and the role of lifeguard is the holiday choice of university students. So now we reach the ‘chicken or the egg?’ question. Do the pools not open until Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) and then close again on Labor Day (First Monday in September) because that is when the students are on summer break or do the students push for the long summer vacation so they can sleep by the pool the whole time?

It is an interesting question, well actually it isn’t. It just means that the pools will be crowded today, and even that doesn’t impact me at all since our neighbourhood is so small that we don’t have a pool!

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