Sungate Pool

by John C. Westervelt

Summer is winding down with the return of children to the classroom. The front gate to the Sungate Pool, which was locked during the week, was open on this next-to-the-last Saturday of August. Vans filled half the parking spaces, even though the lunch hour was well underway.

I passed the pool a second time as I returned from Wendy’s with my hamburger. My whimsical mind thought, "Stop and eat in the shade beside the pool." My logical mind kept my foot on the gas. As I entered my driveway, the first part of my mind won the argument so I put the Honda in reverse and backed out.

At the pool snack shop, I pulled out a dollar and asked for a large cup of water. A girl with a pleasant smile and a friendly voice handed me the water and said, "That’ll be a quarter."

I sat at a table under a cover with a breeze at my back. Under the canopy to my left, a mother was reading. Off to my right, a mother dozed in the shade. Elementary children played in the big pool. Mothers beside the baby pool alertly talked amongst themselves.

"Coach" sat on the lifeguard stand with attentive eyes roving the pool. After a while he was relieved by a young girl half his size, but equally as vigilant.

I slowly chewed my hamburger and fries and watched young elementary girls leaping off of the high board. Each girl watched to see if her dad was watching. Young parents stood in the shallow end to hold small children or just to reassure them.

As I watched young families, I remembered my daughter Mary Kim swimming at Sungate as a first grader during the first year the pool was open. Yearly lessons at the Sungate pool prepared her as a teenager to be a lifeguard at other pools. Paul, two years older than his sister, became a good swimmer, and as a young teenager worked at the Sungate snack shop.

A generation later, my grandchildren enjoyed the Sungate pool. At age three, Amy, with complete abandon, whisked down the slide, trusting that her dad would be there to pull her head out of the water. Brett, who was three years older, practiced his swimming strokes. A year ago this family moved to Katy, Texas, where Brett is a junior in high school and Amy is an eighth grader.

I ate the last bite of my hamburger, returned the borrowed pen to the reading mother, and made my way home with thoughts of gratitude to all those who have made the Sungate Pool available over the years for the growing of children.

Return to Table of Contents