19 May 2007

Another pool advocate

Same topic, just another city: East Liverpool, OH:

... remember when ... the public swimming pool teemed with people on any given summer day. It’s hard to imagine that our society has changed so much. Nowadays, everybody goes into debt trying to maintain a pool in their back yards. For many, even one of those round, metal-sided dunk tanks is a status symbol. They have their picnics on their own backyard decks rather than meet friends at the park. It’s all part of the move toward private rather than public recreation.

Now that the crowds have gone, the park is more peaceful, but I can’t help but think that we have abandoned an important part of the social structure of our city. Many of my fondest and most vivid childhood memories come from Thompson Park. My parents took us there regularly for picnics with their friends and their families. Nobody needed to drink beer and talk loud to have fun.

During the long summer weekdays, mom would drop us off at the pool and return several hours later to pick us up. Parents didn’t have to worry about their kids getting into trouble. You went swimming, ate hot dogs, and watched the big kids show off on the high dive. It was great.

...Some parents imagine that allowing their children to mingle with “strangers” is dangerous; they want complete control of every minute of their child’s life. I don’t see how forcing one’s own paranoid fears on kids is good parenting.

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