Right now, Africa by Toto is playing in my ear. Before that, it was Aja by Steely Dan. I’m sure in a little while it will be Kiss on my List by Hall & Oates.
Yacht Rock Radio is my jam of choice these days, and I’ve decided that it’s because of the feelings that bubble up inside me when I listen to the music. The slow melodies take me to the chair of the orthodontist’s office, and even the first dances and first kisses of my life. But none are as strong as the ones that take me to the Pine Needles Country Club Pool.
I can see it now.
The Kennedy boys and Wendy lifeguarding. The deep end of the pool covered by an all-day natural shade. The pebbled texture of the pool’s walls with people holding themselves up all along the edges. Little kids getting swim lessons in the shallow end. Cannonballs and dives and can openers, one after another, from the diving board. People lined up for the slide that, if you weren’t careful, would tear your bathing suit up because it was so worn down and prickly.
Damp money was pulled from pool bags and cover-up pockets to hand to teens to get snacks from the snack bar.
The kiddie pool was lukewarm and filled with the tiny kids in real diapers. The ones of the young families in town, and even some of our parents’ friends who had “late babies.” The moms like Mrs Andie and Mrs Janie and Mrs Susan and Mrs Jann, younger than I am right this minute, tanning and gossiping and poking straws in Capri Suns for everybody who was left by their parents to spend the day at the pool.
I can smell it even more.
The dressing room smelled like chlorine and sweat and mold and melted Kit Kat bars. There was so much chlorine in the pool, you could smell it from the car. Red clay from the road between the pool and tennis courts wafted through on the dry days. The shady deep end smelled like a moss-filled forest — like you were miles from the shallow end that was bright like the surface of the sun.
The vision of bright bathing suits and big hair and the scent of Hawaiian Tropic oil combined with Baby Oil and teenage hormones lingers in my memory, reminding me of days that were, for the most part, carefree and easy.
I feel like these memories come to us in moments where we need to be reminded of something. Maybe it’s a simpler time. Maybe it’s to check in on friends that are collected in the snapshots in our minds. Maybe it’s just to roll down the windows and sing as loud as you can without a care in the world.
To the memories I carry, I say, quoting the great Toto: “It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you; There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.”