Since I spent about half of my early life in the water at Kelsey’s Pond I didn’t really need swimming lessons but did take up swimming at UConn. That was in order to learn some more strokes so I would be able to pass the swimming test they require when one gets to be a senior. Back then it was needed in order to graduate and I suppose it makes sense. I passed the test and graduated.
Since I’m not very sports-minded, I had only one other favorite outside activity, that of ice skating using the same body of water as when swimming. Seems as if I was always getting a pair of skates for Christmas so was well-equipped in order to go down on the ice. The only drawback with both of these, though was an adult had to be available to accompany you. I loved to glide over the ice and got quite good at it, too. Turning and bending gracefully, even doing a few “fancy” things. I remember some wonderful winter days down there when I was the last one to leave and just as I was about to sit down and take off my skates a young deer came running out on the ice. She saw me and did a four-legged spread-eagle and we stared at each other for a moment. Then she got up and took off in a hurry, probably scared to death.
Once in a while kids from the area would come to try out the skating. Bunny and her brother, Rick, were a couple who did this once in a while. They were young kids all these long years ago. But mostly it was family who used the pond in the summer and winter. It nestled beneath moderate hills on all sides being originally only a brook through a meadow. Then our great-grandfather, Ralph Pelton, dammed it up to make a mill pond for his feldspar quarrying. He dreamed of having a profitable business with this quarry only to find that this area’s feldspar was not pure enough for commercial use. Wouldn’t you know? Here he was living where the most variety of minerals are found and many of them right here in his quarry! So after damming up the brook and building a mill, he, as Uncle Cliff used to say, lost his shirt. Too bad but he certainly did the family and the people of the area a great favor as these flooded several elongated acres have supplied us with hours of enjoyment. And that isn’t to mention all the fresh water fish that have been taken from there and the half dozen or so family cottages that are there for summer and year-round use. Another special feature about the pond was the “grove.” You remember that place at the far end of the pond under the old walnut tree where different community groups used to gather for a picnic. I believe Uncle Will made the tables and benches out of white birch trees. I always enjoyed going there for a picnic with people from the Grange, the Farm Bureau, and even the Spanish American War vets! Uncle Don has his guitar and as darkness settled in we would be singing the old songs. I am teary-eyed just thinking about it.
Well, to get back to sports. Football was my least favorite sport and still is. I used to sit with Grandpa when everyone went out on Saturday errands as he listened faithfully to the games. I endured many a long, boring Saturday afternoon sitting with him by the radio as he commented on all the various moves, touchdowns, etc., that were going on. I was happy to see him enjoying himself but to a 14-year-old it was pretty dull fare.
Well, I guess that’s about all I know about this topic except to say that there isn’t hardly anything as enjoyable as swimming on these hot, humid summer days in the cool water. I’ve gotten used to ocean swimming, just being careful not to let the waves take you out too far.