Most of my summer memories involve a pool, a book and a glimpse into other worlds.
When I was very young, my father traveled for his job and would take up temporary residence at a hotel or apartment complex, depending on how long he would stay in a particular place.
When my father called home, our first question, as we gathered around the mustard-colored rotary phone, was: Is there a pool?
When school let out for the summer, my mother packed us up in a burnt-orange Nova and we headed toward my father and what we hoped was a pool to our liking.
At one particular complex, as we set out each morning for the pool, my father warned us to stay away from the “hippies.” We didn’t. We couldn’t. They were everywhere and never seemed to tire of our game of Marco Polo. The hippies weren’t so bad, my mother told my unpersuaded father.
We spent hours out there, our mother joining us in the late afternoons, when other mothers would gather and gossip or talk about the Watergate scandal or the books they were reading, like Stephen King’s “Carrie” or Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s “All the President’s Men.”
There were other pools, but none like that year.
Poolside, my mother was never without a book. And later, when we got our own pool, neither was I.
I spent my summers under blue skies floating around discovering new worlds in “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Color Purple” and “The House on Mango Street.”
The point is, a pool is more than collected water, just as books are more than collected words. They both are among the essential stuff of summer.
This issue is dedicated to pools, books and making summertime memories.