Monday, August 17, 2009

"I'm not comfortable on the grass"

I'd heard vaguely about this pool and its very long waiting list. When I saw it advertised in the paper this summer I figured the economy meant fewer people were joining and I got the info but declined to sign up.

We finally got some heat last week and when my friend Sarah mentioned how great the Northampton Country Club was, I finally joined. Just the pool, not the golf. It's $450 for June-July-August, and Kim, the director, let us join for the last three weeks for $90. We have already gotten our money's worth! We've been there every day since Friday and it felt wonderful. We took our friend Mike and his kids, visiting from Brooklyn, over there for the last two days.

It's great. It's packed with kids, the lifeguards are really attentive, and the water is clean and not too chlorinated. The locker rooms are rundown but clean. They offer swim lessons. It's contained, and there's also ping pong, swings, and sand. There's lots of lounge chairs and you can always find a patch of shade if it's hot. They have a grill and a microwave and you can get a burger or a hot dog and chips and cans of soda. Or you can bring your own food.

Kim runs a tight ship, with a focus on being kid-friendly. (As Smith's swim coach he also runs Kids Night Out, an on-campus fundraiser for the Smith sports teams, which is basically three hours of Friday night babysitting for parents. It happens several times during the school year and Lily loves it.) No smoking, no drinking, no glass bottles, no eating on deck -- but it's okay on the grass -- the lifeguards have extra goggles and masks and other swim stuff. Swimmies and that sort of thing are okay. There's a lane for laps.

My friend Brad from Wondertime goes to the Holyoke Canoe Club, near his home. It sounds similar. We go local and as we are starting to know some folks, we've seen people we know every time we've gone. Everyone I've seen has introduced me to other people -- it's very friendly. Lily has seen kids she knows every time too and she begs to go now.

Here's a funny Brooklyn story: Mike's son Nicholas wouldn't walk on the grass. On Monday, his first day there, he climbed over the lounge chair to get to his towel. The next day, yesterday, he stood on the pavement near the pool and begged his father to come fix his face mask. He said, "I'm not comfortable on the grass."

Mike refused to go to him until he finally walked over and took Nick by the hand and walked him back to the lounge chair, where he fixed the mask. Nicky ran back to the safety of the pavement. Later when he refused again Mike brought him his sandals. And finally when Nicky was on the chair, he raced across the grass to get his hotdog and raced back, ate it, and raced to the water.

Sabrina, on the other hand, didn't like being on pavement in bare feet. So she walked to the hose to wash off her feet, put her sandals on, and then walked to the grill to order her lunch. You can't make this stuff up.


  1. But my kid can walk across the street in front of the Red Hook Pool in bare feet. Grass is a mystery.

  2. So I guess this is the difference between
    county and city children.....I know it
    seems different, but different in a good


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