We moved to Orange, California in 1964, the summer before eighth grade. At that time, Orange was not part of the great wasteland that is present day Orange County; it was in individual city (town?) that was bordered by orange groves and undeveloped chaparral with no other municipalities but for Santa Ana to the south. We had one car which my father used to drive to work at Santa Ana Junior College, later Santiago Community College. I walked everywhere. I rarely took my/our bicycle out of the neighborhood. I think that the one speed bike that was the delight of my Wenatchee days was just too slow and clunky; or perhaps it was that there was a possibility that it would be stolen. Walking was something I did with friends, and I had many. Many children living near me was one of the advantages of Primrose Drive from 1964 to 1970.
Later, Jayne and I, and perhaps other siblings, would walk all the way to the plunge and spend a hard-earned quarter for entrance to paradise. I was not a good swimmer still, and for the first couple years I swam about exclusively in the shallow end. I would sometimes work my way up the side of the pool, swimming a ways and then grabbing the edge. The lifeguards didn’t like it and I would be busted. They wanted to see me swim all the way across the pool without touching down. Eventually, I could perform this feat, slowly dog-paddling the width of the Olympic sized pool. Suddenly, I was permitted to swim in “the deep end.” What a lovely sound that was – it was a major accomplishment in my swimming progress.
I much preferred the regular diving boards but again I was constantly in trouble with the lifeguards. One time I was swimming too near where the divers entered the water. I learned a rule that one could not swim around on the side of the ladder closer to the diving boards. But my big crime was diving towards the edge of the pool, swimming straight at it, and then grabbing the edge of the pool and working my way down to the ladder. I had to prove that I could swim the width of the pool again and again. I finally learned how to just dive straight off the board and swim out as far as the ladder and then cut over.
Link to Non-Fiction -- Memoirs -- Swimming Through My Life