July 29, 2021
By Leslie Schupp

The first pool I was ever introduced to in Patagonia was a water tank out toward the Dump Road. For skinny dipping, of course. Yes, we old folks used to do a lot of that in our day.

After I had my daughter Sage, we used to swim at Cleo and Doc Mock’s, who let kids from town swim in their backyard pool.

But since then, the mainstay of our summers, for me and my daughters and now my grandchildren, has been the Patagonia Pool at the High School. I cannot imagine a summer without it.

“Hang on to the side,” I said, somewhat callously, to my girls when they were too little to stand in the shallows, and when I wanted to swim a couple of slow laps. They did. They spent their summers happily hanging onto the gutters, and soon learned to swim, along with our town’s other kids. They jumped and played, and got sun and exercise. The pool is literally the lifeline to Patgonia’s kids in the summertime.

Of course a lot of us folks of a “certain age” like to use the pool too, for laps or aerobics or just bringing down our core temperatures. “Is that really a thing?” I asked Paula the other day. “I don’t know,” she said, “but I feel like it is.” When you go home after the pool, you can live through the rest of the day. Believe it or not, many of us Patagonians do not have air conditioning to this day.

Some of my favorite things: my kids hanging with the lifeguards, their role models. Swimming every day. Becoming lifeguards.

Making new friends at the pool. This week it was Silas and AJ and Sally. Avari and I still remember Flip, Flap and Flop, blonde haired brothers from Sonoita who did flips, and flops, off the boards.

A bee you’ve scooped from the water fluffing his wings and wiping pool water off his face with his front legs and antennae. Rescuing big stink bugs out of the filter, dead and alive, and once a sodden (dead) tarantula that my granddaughter insisted on bringing home.

My grandson being pampered by lifeguards for toe injuries and begging for starbursts.

Watching the monsoon clouds gather over Red Mountain, until the lifeguards shout of “All out! Lightning!”

The Patagonia pool, long and cool, the center of our lives every summer. Otherwise it would be a big bummer. Of course we have our excellent summer school programs, the Art Center’s Art Camp, the town library, the Youth Enrichment Center – our town has done a great job of providing for its kids. But for just cooling and swimming, we need the pool. Or would you like all the kids to be home playing video games?

Save the Patagonia Pool.