Someone was always paging “Jim Nasiumâ€� or â
€œAnita Showerâ€� or “Jenny Tullâ€� or something
worse.  Then there was the Snack Bar, where everything
tasted great because you were starving.  They had those
great fries and great hot dogs.  Well, that’s how I
remember it anyway.  Sucking it in for the girls on the
blanket, the locker key band mark, having Mom sew
your pass on, the lifeguard’s whistle freezing the
action.  Ah, the memories go on and on!

We kids couldn’t get enough of it.  We would walk
the length and breadth of Dormont to get there and do it
every day in the summer.  Sometimes that wasn’t
enough…
Sneaking
Into
Dormont Pool
Dormont Pool, the largest pool in all of the land.  Built
in 1923, this football field size aquatic behemoth that
tempers the temperature with its cool, clear waters and
exhilarates the masses with its features for every age, is
the place to be in the summer.  Enough memories were
cast there that they could fill it; Sitting beside it in its
cool grass as a toddler, splashing your Mom in the
shallows.  Running and high stepping from the â
€œwarmâ€� end to as far as you could go before falling
face first in the water.  Early morning swim lessons
while the water still held its chill.  It was so cold that you
felt as if you had just crashed through ice.  Sliding down
the slide…once I went head first down the little slide
and chipped a tooth on the pool floor.  I still have the
chipped tooth in my head.

Swinging from the handle bar on the big dual slide to loft
yourself towards the “hump.â€�  Finding your feet
had just stopped touching the bottom at the mid-rope.  
Then, the ultimate proof of reaching manhood, or
womanhood, swimming the width of the pool, back and
forth, before being able to swim in the “deep end.â
€�  You wait and wait hoping to reach this milestone
and when you think you are ready, you’re not.  
Doing it, to this day, was the hardest thing I’ve ever
done.  Your first ascent up the high diving board and
then to the end of the board where you stand and after
much coaxing from your friends to “jump� you
jump straight in feet first.  The smack of the water on
your feet makes you wonder how anyone actually can
dive in!  Then you see some high school-er do the â
€œTriple Lindyâ€� dive from the high board!  
Borrowing your Brother’s underwater mask for the
off chance that some girls’ top will come off,
stubbing your toe.  â€œNo running!â€�  The list goes
on and on…
After our Little League games a bunch of us would sneak into the pool after dark.  We’d strip out of our uniforms, climb the
fence on the Memorial Road side and take a dip with anyone brave enough or stupid enough to take on the consequences.  We
never got caught…in those days.  Splashing like fools and screaming never attracted much attention.  After numerous times with no
consequences it was no big deal.  Eventually we stopped.  We found other things to do.  Or, should I say, other forms of trouble.

It wasn’t until years later that I found myself in Dormont Park after dark and looking for something to do that it entered my
head.  It was after a night of drinking in the stands of the Pony League Field with the late Pete Miller.  â€œPete, let’s go
swimming!â€� “Where?â€�  â€œWhere else? Dormont Pool of course!â€�  I exclaimed.  Pete wasn’t too hip to the idea
but after some cajoling and a few more beers we soon found ourselves lurking down the hill towards the pool.  I started stripping
down to my skivvies getting ready to hoist myself over the fence when Pete, looking back and forth over his shoulder said, â
€œOkay, if we’re gonna do this we need to act as if we are penetrating enemy lines in Vietnam.â€�  â€œHuh?â€�  â€œYeah, I
don’t want to get caught so be really quiet and we’ll just slip into the water like we’re frogmen.  You know, like we are
in Vietnam.â€�  I almost laughed but just said, “Okay Pete.â€�

We jumped the fence and carefully navigated through the thin brush to the slope of the pool perimeter.  I looked back at Pete, he
was still following.  I slowly inched my way into the cool liquid and immersed myself.  Pete followed.  We swam under the water as
far as we could.  I was now envisioning myself as Martin Sheen from “Apocalypse Now.â€�  We swam with shallow breathing,
no splashing, silent, silent & deadly, rising silently from the depths to peer into enemy territory.  We made our way to the middle of
the pool’s expanse.  In a whisper I challenged Pete to swim to the rope underwater.  I took a deep breath and like Mark Spitz
was swimming like a tadpole to the rope.  I emerged to find a bright beam of light in my face!

I wasn’t just a deer in the headlights, I was an escaping con with the tower spotlight on me!  I raised my hand to shield my eyes
from the light, when I heard, “Dormont Police!  Get out of the pool!â€�  It was then that Pete popped out of the water
breathless.  Pete looked at me, looked at the cop and immediately ducked under the water.  The cop shook his head, looked at me
and said, “We’ll just wait for your friend to come up again.â€�  After about three minutes Pete exploded to the surface
gasping for air.  We made our way to the 6 foot marker where the cop was standing.  I looked up to see it was Mr. Johnny-on-the-
spot, Joe Gonzalez, we hadn’t been in the pool no more than five minutes!  But that was Joe.  Joe Gonzalez had a knack for
that sort of thing.  Due to previous run-ins with Joe, I had managed to elevate him to Sergeant Status.  I think he appreciated that,
even if I didn’t.  He saw that it was me and Pete.  â€œOh, it’s you guys!  You’re too old for this $&%@!  Don’t
do it again…get out of here.â€�  â€œThanks Joe!  We won’t do it again!  Thanks!â€�  Pete and I bolted out of there before
he could change his mind.

As we were scrambling back up the hill of Dormont Park, we heard the screeching tires of a second cop car, lights flashing and siren
blaring.  Joe was walking up to his car in the Pool Parking Lot.  Pete and I ducked behind a tree about half way up the hill.  We
watched as the female cop, Tina, jumped out of her car and started yelling at Joe.  â€œWhere are they?!  Where are they?!â€�  Joe
just said, “I let them go.â€�  â€œWhat?!  What do you mean you let them go?!  I heard they were skinny-dipping!â€�  Tina
screamed.  Joe looked at her shaking his head, “They had underwear on Tina, you didn’t miss anything.â€�  She was still
berating him as we skulked away.
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