By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 7/10/2020
Posted: 5/18/1978
Topics/Keywords: #Family Page Views: 3478
I reminisce about the plastic pool and how cute my kids were playing in it!

In 1978, I had quit my job at the Florida State Division of Forestry to attend school full-time, at the University of West Florida at Pensacola. That meant that, for the first time in years, I had to rent a place for us to live. I found a single-wide, 3-bedroom mobile home not far from the school with a good-sized yard for the kids to play in. Since we had little money, they didn't have a lot of store-bought toys but nevertheless found creative ways to enjoy themselves.

Karen, for example, was a builder. She found a bunch of bricks and carted them over, then built a "house" (or a foundation of one) in which she sat, playing house.

Karen in her playhouse.

The littlest, John (then called "Johnny"), was young enough that anything was interesting enough to capture his attention.

Johnny examines a magnolia blossom.

In early May, as the warm days of summer approached, K-Mart had a sale on plastic wading pools—just $10 for one that would fit all four kids and a grown-up, too. We had stored it under the mobile home where it became coated with sand. But when the day came to use it, removing it, cleaning it, and filling it became a family affair.

The first task was to get all four kids into bathing suits. More work was involved with the littlest ones, of course.

Mary helps Jenny and Johnny get into swimwear.

Then, the pool had to be pulled out from under the mobile home…

Pool stored under the mobile home. Pool needs rinsing.

…and the sand rinsed off of it.

Rinsing sand off the pool. Rinsing sand off the pool.

Finally, the pool could be filled, and last-minute adjustments made to bathing suits.

Mary, Johnny and Jenny begin filling the pool. Karen allows Dottie to help tie her bathing suit.

Actually filling the pool was at least as much fun as bathing in it!

Dottie sprays cold water on Jenny and Johnny while Karen keeps out of it.

What kids can resist the joys of a garden hose?

Dottie, Jenny, and Johnny enjoy the garden hose. It takes a village to fill the pool. Johnny, Dottie, and Jenny don't need a full pool.

Finally, everyone who wanted to, was able to fit in the pool and be in at least some water.

Me, Dottie, Jenny, Johnny, and Karen all squeezed into the pool.

When you look up "happiness" in the dictionary, this is the illustration:

Jenny and Johnny: Happy kids.