Our Pool : Memories by Robert Shackles

There were never any swimming pools available to us, so we had to
 improvise as best we could.  The next street below our house's had a
drainage problem and any time we had a good rain during the summer, the
 lower side of the street would fill up with about 2 ft. of water.  On
 the opposite side of the  street the [high side] the water drained out
 into  a small creek that contained large bolders to prevent erosion of
 the creek.  You can see the opportunity this presented to all of us,
 especially on a hot summer day.   We loved to go mud crawling around in
 this dirty water in  nothing but our overalls.  Not only was it good for
 swimming it was also a good place for us to sail and race our boats.
 Our boats were not some  fancy boat that was purchased at Sears or Wards
 because there was no way we could afford one like that.  What we would
 do is we would walk  the alleys to find a board suitable to make a boat
 that would float. The board would have to be light weight and be
 something we could whittle into the shape of a boat.  Surprisingly,we
 usually had little  trouble finding what was needed.  We would then take
 our pocket knife and whittle  out the bow of the boat and then with the
 small blade of our knife we would carve a hole on top of the boat just
 big enough to anchor a  wooden sucker stick.  Our next step was to cut a
 mast for our boat out of a cardboard box and anchor it to the sucker
 stick.  Once our boats were constructed, we would sometimes paste
 pictures out of magazines on them to decorate them. The magazines we
 would find in the trash in the alleys & the pictures were " well
 something else". After a heavy rain the street would drain off into the
 creek creating a current that would allow us to race our boats.  One of
 us, I don't remember who it was, didn't grab his boat soon enough in a
 close race and off it went down the creek never to be seen again.  After
 this when the water was swift,we would tie a kite string on our boat  &
 this enabled us to hold on to them.  Cars in those days were high off
 the ground and many of them would come through the water, and once in a
 while, [much to our delight] we would really get splashed.  Once after a
 good rain we all rushed down to the ol' swimming hole with our boats.
 Freddy & Percy came down with a  couple of really fine boats  all
 painted up  with their names printed on them and all.  Homer had helped
 them make them & we were all ooh & aahing and admiring them & Freddy &
 Percy were really proud of them.  The water was swift and  we had
 strings on our boats racing them, when some guy in a pickup came roaring
 through the water and ran over Freddy's string. Somehow The string got
 caught under  the pickup and there went   Freddys boat  lickedy-split
 behind that truck.  Freddy was yelling  and running after the pickup,
 but how fast can you run in 2ft. of water? As soon as the truck hit the
 hard pavement Freddy's boat started swinging and flooping from side to
 side & then it was gone-gone!!. Poor Freddy, he  walked up the street
 several blocks but his boat stayed behind that  pickup &  he was out of
 the race for the rest of the day. Mostly the water would remain until it
 evaporated and the cars splished it out of the  street.  Every day we
 went swimming the water was a little dirtier, but some how we came out a
 little cleaner.Does that make sense to you?    A few years ago when Red,
 Norma, Marie & I went down this street again, the city  [in these more
 prosperous times]  have leveled the street & built a new concrete
 spillway down the creek.  Should you ever be in Sedalia,why not drive
 down to our ol' swimming hole and get a mental picture of Freddy chasing
 his boat. I think it will be worth your time. Percy took really good
 care of his boat & I wonder what ever happened to it.  I would give a
 small fortune to be able to find Freddy's boat.    " AFTER 65 YRS.