One of the big news items on the radio today and in the paper is that my city is giving free rec centre passes to grade five students. Something about grade five being when kids start making decisions for themselves and needing extra incentive to stay in shape. I could have used this.
The summer before grade five we moved to a house that was a two minute walk from the new (at the time) recreation centre which had a huge wave pool in it...among other things. I *LIVED* at that pool. Every Friday from 3-4:30pm was a 50 cent swim. And every Friday, I and my two brothers were there.( Aaron was only 9 months when we started going) My Uncle Tim lived with us during that time and when he was around, we often stayed right through until 10pm. Yes 10. As long as you were there before 4:30 and had an adult present, you could stay for as long as you wanted...or until they closed at 10pm. It used to drive my dad nuts that we'd be there for so long but Mom would just bring a book and read (she rarely got in the water with us).
There was a tube waterslide that went OUTSIDE (so cool when you're ten LOL), two diving boards, 4 feet and 10. I got pretty good at jumping off them. I never learned how to dive properly but I could jump and "swim" back to the ladder. There were also "lilypads". Big floating things anchored by a chain. The cool kids got to be on those and there were often shoving matches for dominance. We weren't the only ones that were there weekly and over the year and a half that we lived there we got to know some of the other people quite well.
I was at the rec centre a few years ago when I was volunteering for the Seniors Games I was back in that rec centre. I took a few minutes to look in on the pool. It's still the same but looking a bit tired. Same wooden parrots on the ceiling, same large water squirting lizard. Lots of memories.