Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A La Recherche du Piscine Perdu

We took the kids to Heise Hot Springs for the weekend. It’s been donkeys years since I’ve been there, but roaming around the pools and such really brought back some vague childhood memories of being there as a very young kid.

Memory No. 1: Emerging from the dressing room after a swim with my penis rubbing against the inside of my coveralls, because someone stole my underwear from the dressing room.

Memory No. 2: Climbing the long cedar staircase to the water slide and wondering who carved the deep gouges in the wooden railing. (Gouges are still there; I determined this time that they’re from the little metal discs we’re issued to reclaim the canvas bags we deposit our clothing in while we swim. I remembered rubbing the gouges with my fingers, wondering where they came from. This time, rubbed them again, wondering why my brain had stored that memory – and so vividly – for all these years. Marcel Proust probably knows what I’m talking about.

Memory No. 3: Trying to communicate with Dad through the glass window of the observation deck. Randy and I swam. He watched. He wanted to go home. We thought he was signaling that he was going to buy us tickets for the waterslide. Much merry miscommunication ensued.

Memory No. 4: This is more vague, but I remember, I think, losing a shoe in the parking lot on the way out to the car to go home. Even more merry miscommunication ensuing. On the way out this time, noted a single yellow clog in the parking lot. Wondered what poor little girl was missing her shoe.

Memory No. 5: The rails leading up the slide staircase were much taller when I was a kid. Adult butts were much closer, in that young point of view, especially when the staircase was crowded.

Memory No. 6: The Heise Hot Springs 70s hippie jingle, which they played on their local radio and TV commercials when I was a kid: “The Heise Hot Springs Magic will cast a spell on you (ching!)”

Memories from this time: Sunburn, first and foremost. The itchy, hurty kind that hurts if you scratch it but drives you nuts if you don’t. Also, the camp host paraded through the RV campground with a dead skunk on the end of a pitchfork. Not sure if he was just taking the shortest route to the trash pile or parading the skunk and odor through the entire camp as a share the wealth gesture. And the ubiquitous, fun ones: Liam eating the water slide up, going down again and again, then demanding to be taken out to the diving board so he could jump off. Sometimes we call him our chicken heart. But in many ways, he’s quite brave. Lexie and Isaac went down the slide once, and opted not to go again. I went down many times, a few times emerging out of the end of the tube much more rapidly than I’d hoped. On the last trip, my butt scraped the bottom of the pool and, as I struggled to slow myself, down, I snagged something out of the water. At first I thought it was a twig, but as I surfaced and felt the shape in my fingers, I realized twigs don’t sink, nor do they come in the shape of an X. I had two hair clasps in my hand. They were rusty. Probably had been in the bottom of that pool for a long time. Also, our route to the pool was entirely a Bat Route, no state highways involved. How long has it been since I took a trip like that? We’re able, thanks to Madison and Jefferson counties, to make the trip from Sugar City to Heise entirely – well, almost entirely; part of the route through Rexburg is on State Highway 33 – on county roads, which weave through little communities like Archer and Ririe on roads that follow the old farm-to-market plan, sweeping curves at random corners to the trucks don’t have to struggle through ninety degree turns.

And, finally, hollyhocks. Someone at Heise has a thing for hollyhocks, because the flowers are all over the place. They reminded me of my Grandma Speirs, who had them planted at her home on Second Street. That’s why I can’t get rid of those at home in Sugar, even if they’re a nuisance because they attract bees and fall over into the carrots.

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