By Steve Frendin, Special Contributor
The recent story in the Pelican Rapids Press about Gene Bailey and memories of the old town swimming hole, brought back a memory of my own. It goes back 55 years, during swim lessons at Mill Pond.
But first, a shout-out to Gene Bailey: The last time I saw you Gene was decades ago at Morris and Mamie’s residence in Bertha, MN. You and I took on your sister Irene and your brother Wendell in a badminton match. How is your brother Roger aka Steve Mudd?
My remembrances of the Pelican Rapids swimming ‘hole’ are not bad, I do not remember the water as murky. (I probably drank plenty of it.)
As I recall, I was in the 9th grade in the Swimmers class. One of the girls in the class, I will call her Beckey. Beckey was very slender, in fact skinny, but to be politically correct, lets stick with slender.
One facet of the final test was the 100 yard swim. This was accomplished by starting from the shore near the dam’s outlet (the waterfalls), swim around the diving tower and the raft twice, and back to shore. That day was not the test, but practice. Becky was ahead of me on the first lap somewhat close to the raft, about 30 feet from shore. At that point she quickly struggled saying “Help, I can’t make it!”
The instructor, a young woman in Sr. High, or early college said, “Beckey, are you fooling us?”
I was the closest person to her, but fearing the possibility of being dragged under myself, I got behind the raft and pushed it to Beckey. Since I could not be seen from shore—it appeared that the raft magically moved to Beckey. A friend of mine was sitting on the dock at the north end of the pool. He yelled, “Steve, you saved her life!”
As far as I know, he and I were the only ones who saw the raft move that day.