For the first ten years of my life, I was one of the San Franciscans who still swam at Fleishhacker Pool. This is Fleishhacker:
If you think it looks big, you’re right. Built in 1925, and open until 1971, it held 6 million gallons of water pumped in right from the nearby Pacific Ocean, and could comfortably fit 10,000 swimmers. The lifeguards patrolled in row boats. Three years after it was built, Playland at the Beach came along and suddenly, San Francisco’s entire Western edge was a giant amusement park with fun houses, rides, midways, and the world’s biggest swimming pool. Those were the days in San Francisco. (The above picture is from the 1940s.)
I remembering feeling quite overwhelmed by Fleishhacker. To begin with, the water was Pacific freezing. (I’m always amazed when I’m in Hawaii just how warm the Pacific can be). Since I was an unusually skinny child, I didn’t have an ounce of fat between me and that chill. Worse, it was salty. When you’re a child with a million little, usually innocuous, grass cuts all over your arms and legs, getting into a salty pool is unpleasant. Both those factors explain why my memories include going into the pool, but not staying in the pool.
Anyway, that picture popped up on my Facebook feed, so I thought I’d drag you along down my little trip to memory line.