Saginaw Series: Book Three - Andersen Pool - Chapter One


"Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!" exclaimed Tommy Blackburn shivering at the top of the high diving board at Andersen Pool. He wasn’t cold, he was terrified! He had never jumped off the high dive before. And like usual, when he wanted to do something he knew he might not get to do, he lied to his grandfather. Tommy told him that he had jumped off a million times.

Andersen Pool measured everything in meters. The low dive was one meter; the high dive was three meters high. Today, Jen was working in the lifeguard crow’s nest which was ten meters high with the watchtower about half way up the pole. It had ropes attached from the top of the pole to the ground with multi-colored pennants flying every few inches. The crow’s nest was a circular platform with railings around it. By being so far above everyone, she could watch the people swimming, diving, as well as everyone walking around the pool.

Many times throughout the summer, some of the children were so excited about swimming they would start running on the wet concrete surround. Inevitably, with all the splashing and dripping wet suits the concrete became slippery and someone would fall and get hurt. It was Jen’s job to blow her whistle and motion to the child to stop running before that could happen. She also was responsible for the safety of the people swimming and diving in the deep end.

Today, she could see from the crow’s nest that little Tommy Blackburn was really scared. She looked below for his parents or his grandfather; but she didn't see them. When she looked across again at Tommy, he was looking over the side of the railing. He looked like he might be sick. There was a long line forming at the bottom of the high dive ladder. She was about to blow her whistle to have Tommy climb back down the ladder. In the next moment she saw the boy gather his courage, run to the end of the board and try to dive. Unfortunately, it turned into a big belly smacker! When he hit the surface of the water, it created huge waves that splashed all over the cement surrounding the pool.

She made sure that he was okay as she watched him climb out of the pool. Then she went back to keeping a watchful eye on the rest of the kids in the deep end. Tommy walked in a daze to the changing room. He was dizzy and a little sick to his stomach from the crash onto the surface of the water. As he entered the dressing room he jumped when he heard several girls screaming and yelling at him. Unknowingly, he had walked into the girls’ changing room! He ran back out with a girl chasing after him screaming in an alarming manner, "He was in the girls' changing room!" He could feel his face turn as red as a traffic stop sign.

Tommy heard the lifeguard whistle and looked up to see Jen Kent giving him a disgusted look and pointing him in the direction of the boys’ changing room. Now he would be in for it! Ever since that summer two years ago when Jen was stupid enough to get hurt at the Webber house, she and his grandfather had become very good friends. When he looked over at his grandfather by the fence sure enough he had seen Jen admonishing him. However, when he walked over to Tommy he wasn't angry at all. He even made a joke of Tommy wanting to see the girls "nekkid" and they both laughed, which made it all okay.

Jen’s sister, Katy blew her whistle several times. In the shallow end there was a concrete fountain that looked like a huge aqua tiered wedding cake. Water erupted out of the top and then cascaded down over the tiers. Right next to it, a man was picking his kids up and throwing them in the water. They were hanging all over him, laughing and having a great time, not realizing they were breaking the safety rules of the pool.

When they heard her whistle they looked up at the lifeguard and were surprised to see that she was blowing it at them. So they stopped rough housing and looked at her as if she had sprouted horns. The youngest child wondered how some teenager could have the gall to yell at her father! Katy saw the looks, however, she knew that rules were rules and they were in place for the safety of all.

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