I was getting my hair done when the conversation turned, as it does, to whether we knew anyone 16 or older, who could swim, and might like a job this summer making $13.65 an hour. Tamika, who works next to my hair guy Michael, realized such lifeguarding could be perfect for her nephew. As I sent her info on how he could apply (it’s not too late — do you know someone too?), Tamika wondered why her sister hadn’t encouraged this, when she’s been working at Sacks for years. At which point I asked if they also had a sister at Ford, and it turns out that yes, one of the best public pool lifeguards in South Philly, who I worked with back in 2013, is related to Tamika the stylist, who I’ve been chatting with on a regular basis for years. I loved this almost as much as the time I realized that the mother of one of my co-workers at O’Connor Pool had been my next door neighbor for seven years.
It’s almost pool season, which among all its many, many, many benefits reminds us just how connected we all are.
Bridesburg’s rebuilt pool kicks off the season on Monday. Other blue beauties will come alive over the two weeks that follow. Parks and Rec has not yet posted the opening schedule, but I can’t gripe about that when they’re bringing back long-closed Swim for Life camps (as well as all the pop-ups and free fitness classes of the past few years), publicizing the swim lessons every pool offers to their neighbors, and launching a swimwear drive so hopefully none of us ever again sees a kid gazing longingly at the water because they don’t have the right gear to get in.
I’ve been in Baltimore this past week, where they open a smattering of their pools – just on weekends – starting around Memorial Day. Baltimore’s city-wide pools charge $2 admission and are really quite nice (photos of Druid Hill, Patterson, and Roosevelt Park Pools below). I don’t feel like they’ve got quite the same heart as ours, somehow, but I’d still love to figure out how Philly could learn from them. Then maybe next year we could start swimming at Kelly and Hunting Park, say, and Cobbs Creek, Murphy, Awbury and Lawncrest – at least on the weekends – even earlier.
In the meantime, here’s to this Monday.