March 15th, 2004

krazy koati

Down in the meadow in a little bitty pool

The ``down the Shore'' description for Spindizzy's Spring Break Weekend was a hit. I'd love to claim it as a triumph for my imagination, but the appearance was taken pretty directly from a real place, the spot where I learned to love swimming. It's not really from the Shore; I only ever went there with a few school trips or with rcoony or so. Much more convenient was the Pool and Park adjacent to the factory where my father, and his father (and for a few summers, I) worked.

It was a pond turned into a swimming pool with not quite enough chlorine to kill the grasses and water bugs. It had sand trucked in so half the waterline was an honest beach (the rest was park), and if you dove far enough you always touched sand or silt; the Shore, tamed. There were Kids', Shallow, and Deep sections; you could go far enough out that you could dive a dozen or more feet down and learn the joy of scuba-free diving ... or swim out for distance; one summer I managed (cumulatively) around twenty miles in laps. The docks and raft had ladders perfect for practicing exiting the Lunar Module, or working on Skylab. There was a rope swing you could go to if you weren't afraid of hitting the tree it hung from. I hadn't yet seen George of the Jungle, but I knew how my experiences with it would end, though they never in fact did. The lake was big and deep enough you could feel the limits of where the Sun had warmed, and we all lived in mild fear of the snapping turtles said to be out by the huge pipeline on the far end and only seen in furtive glances. And the silt by the main dock was just perfect for building a little replica of the Land of the Lost rockside and setting your own little earthquake for the third-season opening.

It's closed now; the factory was essentially shut down after years of ISO 9000 certification attempts produced farce and the plant was sold to what sure look like con men. I don't know when I was there last, and I'm kind of glad I don't. It would have broken my heart to know the last time. But it was joyous to visit it again, and I'm glad other people shared my happiness.

Trivia: The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft are two 747's; N905NA was purchased from American Airlines (N9668, msn 20107, the 86th 747 produced) in 1974, and N911NA was purchased from Japan Air Lines (JA8117, msn 20781, the first 747-100SR produced) in 1988. Source: Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System, The First 100 Missions, Dennis F. Jenkins.

Currently Reading: The Space Merchants, Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, archetype of an estimated 428,604,286,000,442,860,482,260,088 science fiction stories written in the 1950s to notify us that Madison Avenue is Evil, and the only one of them anybody can still stand. And I note the anniversary of the alternate-history death of science fiction author George McFly, murdered by an unknown assailant in his hometown of Hill Valley, California this date in a parallel 1973.