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Remembrances > The YMCA
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38 posts
Sep 01, 2011
8:01 PM
While in grade school during the long cold Winters od 1956-57, I would go to the YMCA to swim on Saturdays, I believe on Monument Ave. Living on Park Hill Dr. and Salem Ave, I would make the very short walk to Salem Ave. and board the #5 Dayton Bus Lines Hillcrest bus. It has been many years since I rode that bus and I can't believe I still remember the route name and number. How did I remember that? Bear in mind, I was only 9 or 10 years old when I took this trip. I had my towel and bathing suit with me the first time I went there. When I arrived at the YMCA, I went to the main desk and asked about the pool. Getting to swim at a pool in the Winter was a treat for me. In the Summer I went to the Phillips swimming pool near Keowee and Leo Sts., but winter was a challenge. Immediately I went to the swimming pool locker room, changed uinto my suit and went out to the pool. I didn't know it but everybody at the YMCA pool was naked. Just boys and men , of course. It didn't really shock me at all. So, I went like wise after changing in the locker room again. That would never happen today. The times have definitely changed. There were no evil thoughts, just innocence at its very tops. I went there many times and there was never any impropriety or anything improper at all. I told my Mother and it was fine. Imagine allowing a 9 or 10 year old boy taking the bus alone and swimming naked full of nothing but innocence. It sure does show you how much times have changed. Yoday, we never, ever leave a young boy or girl out of our sight for fear of dangers that await them. What a shame our society has degraded into this dangerous and untrusting life we have. I remember those days when we didn't lock our doors, didn't lock the car, trusted our neighbors, kept our job, believed our politicians, trusted your teachers, policeman, pastors, and your parents. Our lives have so much mistrust now and I wonder how we got this way. From time to time I think of the glorious days of growing up and miss them. Recently, within the last month I have read Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and I relive the days of simplicity and growing up. The events and times of my youth have made me who I am and you know what.........I didn't turn out too bad.
18 posts
Dec 08, 2011
6:06 AM
My husband and I met at the YMCA downtown. I was living at the loretto and he was living at the ymca. He worked the hat check room to make extra money and that how we met in 1966.
brennan dr.
1 post
Mar 26, 2012
7:57 AM
What a great story! Especially since it is so close to mine. I just turned sixty in February and have related this story to many people numerous times. They all think i'm crazy. It became so bad that I thought that maybe I had imagined it myself, thanks for your confirmation. My uncle, Cecil Rose gave me a YMCA membership in "62-63" so we are talking the same age+-. In the dead of winter, after school, I would catch the bus on Keowee st., in front of the flagpole at Parkside Homes. It was dark when I left, and dark when I came out. I would wait for the bus near the White Tower hamburger restaurant and get off the bus at Parkside about 9:00 PM. I lived at 1113 Brennan Dr. and had too thread my way back through through the various alleys and other buildings. I lived in Parkside from 1956 to 1963, it was a great place to live at the time. When my mom sat me down on our back stoop( is that how you spell it?) to tell me that we were moving, I thought my world had come to an end. It didn't end of course, but when everything that you treasured: friends, places, schools, smells, sounds, etc. it feels like it. Anyway sorry to get off track and ramble on. Back to the YMCA. I remember the tower platform. To be able to be in the deep end, you had to swim the length of the pool. For me this was a monumental challenge. I was a self taught swimmer like so many of my friends in Parkside. Phillips Aquatic club was a luxury I could only indulge in if me and guys could gather enough pop bottles @ 2 cents, or was it @5 cents?.....(whats A Lifeguard?). Anyway our Moms would have killed us if they knew that instead of 3 hours of baseball practice we used Two hours jumping into the Stillwater River behind the dam. It took me Three tries, on three different nights, to finally do it. I was ready to make my first jump from the tower. Unfortunatly there were no pre- jump instruction for eager young tower jumpers without athletic supporters or swimming trunks. My friends later told me that my form was more like a skydiver than a Diver, or Jumper. Anyway the screams of those who came after, with bellys and private parts slapped by poor angles of entry, Rise over Run mathematic equations, and a complete failure to realize that water is like concrete when struck at a certain angle from what seemed at the time a hundred feet high!....I still hear those srceams.
3 posts
Jun 04, 2012
7:17 PM
When we lived in South Park in 1936 we would go downtown to what was then The Industries Building (today The City Building) at the NW corner of Ludlow and West Third St. This building I understand was the first YMCA and the swimming pool was still open to the public for a small charge. I would later join the YMCA (Pioneer) but I learned to swim at the Industries Bldg.
19 posts
Jan 10, 2013
3:42 PM
Oh what great memories Nile and brennan dr. bring back to me about the downtown Y. I learned to swim at the Y around 1957 or 58. The classes were after school and varied by day and time depending on the level of your swimming ability. You started as a tadpole and moved onto guppy, shark and flying fish (or something like that). I took the #6 bus from Lorain Ave. in east Dayton to downtown with my slightly older brother. At first I was taken aback with the skinny dipping but quickly adapted; au naturale became quite natural. I probably would appreciate the sense of freedom more today though. I loved jumping from the corner tower at the deep end of the pool. Don't remember hurting my little gonads, but I was never brave enough to dive from the tower. In fact, I was terrified of diving off the low board just a couple yards above the water. Wish I had stuck with the swimming and conquered my fear of diving. I got to be a pretty good swimmer though and still enjoy lap swimming a couple of days a week in my retirement years. Later I met a guy in my Chaminade freshman class that was on a community swim team that practiced most mornings before school. I was jealous. I also went to Saturday gym classes at the downtown Y. That was important for a kid like me who attended a parochial elementary school without any phys ed. I loved the trampoline (now "outlawed" from most school gyms) and the various relay races. They had a field day at Riverview Park in late May with lots of competitive events and lots of ribbons for the winners. Great fun. The downtown YMCA was a gem for kids like me in the 1950's.

Last Edited by on Jan 10, 2013 3:56 PM

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