We have talked before about the Jaycee Hut and the pitiful dances I attended there in junior high and high school. But there was another activity that took place at the Hut, or in the fenced enclosure behind it, that wasn’t pathetic or lame in the least, because the Jaycees had the swimming pool that we all used every summer.
From the time I was old enough to paddle around in the baby pool, I spent every summer there, turning brown as an old boot. I use the expression “brown as an old boot” with pride, because in those far away Farrah-days, tan and blond was de rigueur for beauty. I could never achieve the blond thing, although I tried, as you will see in any picture of me with the tell-tale copper colored coif that is the bane of dark haired girls who try to lighten their locks. But nobody could beat my tanning abilities. We did crazy things to attain those dark tans – laid out on the roof, on top of aluminum foil, coated in baby oil, for instance. Now I look anxiously in the mirror for signs of sun damage and skin cancer, but none yet, thank God. Must be thanks to that good Cajun blood Granny gave me.
But in the early days of Jaycee Hut swimming, I was stuck in the shallow end with my cousins, who apparently were trying to drown me. Well, they were trying to drown everybody. It was like a game. They would dunk you under and hold you there until you started to panic and thrash wildly, then they would stop because that might gain the attention of the aunts. Then they would let you up for a breath of air, and back down you would go.
So I was pretty happy when I reached the age when I could escape the regular threats to my life and join the teenage girls on the chaise lounges down at the deep end of the pool by the diving boards. That’s where they hung out because that was the greatest vantage point for seeing and being seen by the boys lining up to dive. But I had one problem – my friends, whom you’ve met as the girl posse, refused to make the giant leap from shallow end kid to deep end fox. They were afraid. Lacked confidence and such as that. I mean, I was a little intimidated too, but my desire to join the foxes outweighed my fear, so for a while, we were stuck in limbo, hanging out in that bland, no-man’s land of mid-pool. Away from the little kids, but still not in The Fox Zone.
At regular intervals throughout the day, we would go inside the Hut and get an orange push up or a Popsicle and listen to the juke box. As you may have already surmised from the title, Seals and Crofts’ “Diamond Girl” was in regular rotation. One day, as I sat licking my pushup, listening to the music, observing my shy, chicken-shit friends, I suddenly announced that Seals and Crofts were singing about us and that we were The Diamond Girls. It was our secret club and you had to learn all the words in order to be a member. So we played the song and sang it over and over and learned all the words. Once we became The Diamond Girls, we were invincible. Afraid of those older girls? HA! We were like “precious stones” – they had nothing on us. Scared of those diving boys? NOT! Cause we were “like shining stars” and they “could never find another one like us”.
Diamond girls, you sure did shine…
You already know how this ends, right? The Diamond Girls moved into The Fox Zone and made it our own. We ruled it. And as a corollary to this story, I got my first kiss that summer, right next to the juke box. He was one of the cutest boys at the pool and his name was Donny. I’m still carrying a torch. Sigh…
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