Sunday, August 22, 2010

Will the Pool Dry Up?

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A Year Or More

"Did you receive your 'Dear John' letter, Sarah?" Lou asks as we pass each other the other day in the Clifton YMHA.

"Not yet, but maybe I missed it."

This is the third reference of the morning to the Y's potential closing. Lou is 87 and cannot hear well at all, so he mostly just talks and then smiles in response to my answers and keeps going. "Well, you should get it in the mail soon. I like your hair that way!" (My hair is styled only by a vigorous, post-shampoo towel-rubbing. Lou is a big flirt. He always makes my day.)

As I walk in, I see one of the early-bird s who's already done with her laps; she tells me, "We have one more year and then it's either going to be sold to people for the property, or to the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and in either case, we won't be able to swim here anymore."

"How do you know that?"

"I have a friend in the [Jewish] Federation [the organization that will raise the funds or sell it]."

Going in to the pool, I see my 80ish-year-old friend, who says, "Are you going to go to L.A. Fitness when this pool closes?"

"No, I want to go to a Jewish place again, I said, "How about you?"

She shrugs, and then, "The Paramus JCC is probably the nearest one besides Clifton."

I feel so sad, having this conversation with my friend. I don't want the pool to close and I don't want this community of swimmers to scatter. Pat & I've been swimming there for five years.

In five years, I've met a Holocaust survivor, an Italian great-grandmother, a contemporary lane-hog, who's half my size, but who takes a lane and a half, a guy in his late-60s who likes to swim with snorkeling gear and another lesbian couple who also were able to join as a couple, among others.

I hope the pool stays open. Change is hard.

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