With the advent of fall, we stopped going in the water. Because of the amount of time I had spent in the water including many short periods when I had my feet off the bottom and my posture almost approaching a float position, I considered myself an accomplished swimmer. I attended a short swim lesson session that taught us how to float and hold our breath under water. I could hardly wait until the next summer when I would join the kids who jumped off the dock on the deep side facing out of the harbor and swim under the dock to the swallow side where we could stand on the bottom.
The next spring my first chance for swimming came with the first warm weather. I was enrolled in Cub Scouts and once a week went to our Den Mother, Mrs. Langer’s house after school to engage in scouting activities. She had a pool and on the first hot day we all changed into trunks and gathered round the pool. Each boy was polled about his ability to swim. When asked, remembering the strong fluttering I had done the previous year, I answered. “Yah, I can swim.” Mrs. Langer accepted my answer and let me join the boys in the deep end. The depth where I jumped in was eight feet and it did not have a soft muddy bottom. I found the water not so buoyant and was not able to stay up in the float position. I let myself sink to the bottom, went into a crouch and sprang my legs open propelling me to the surface. There I captured a big gulp of air, fell back into the deep and sank back to the bottom. Hitting it , I again went into a crouch and sprang to the surface again. I repeated this for quite a while not making any headway, but not getting exhausted either. I was too embarrassed to scream for help and just kept bobbing up and down.
Finally, one of the scout leaders sensed I was perhaps in trouble and asked me “ as I shot above the surface, “Do you need help getting to the side.?” As I took in a big gulp, I nodded affirmative and went back down. On my next ascent, I was grabbed by strong hands and lifted out of the pool. I was grateful for the help but was ashamed to admit, how much I needed it. I just acted like I had been practicing a new water acrobat routine. Inside, I was determined to give swimming pools a rest and confine my swimming activates to the safety of Osprey town dock with its soft muddy bottom where I could stand with my head out of the water.