Tuesday, September 6, 2016

boyhood sketch 10. SKINNY-DIPPING AT THE YMCA

We had swimming lessons at the YMCA, initially through a school program that I recall beginning when I was in grade 5. Boys and girls had separate change rooms but that's where the equal treatment ended. Girls arrived with towels and bathing suits but boys came with towels. You heard it correctly; boys did not wear bathing trunks. I am certain my parents were unaware of this. How that trunk-less practice began has probably been the stuff of stories. Girls were in the pool before us and when they were gone then the boys exited their locker rooms to enter the water. We were so young that we did not question this bizarre protocol, so we dove and swam and walked around poolside in our polished little bodies. Glass windows of the pool staff offices along the poolside were one-way glass. From the pool, the glass had a silver mirror appearance. I recall the day when I had to retrieve something from that office, and I was looking through the windows and I could see the pool. I realized that we were under surveillance every time we swam. That seemed peculiar but I was innocent enough to dismiss it. Only much later when I was grown did we hear about an investigation and some arrests of staff at the YMCA.  

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