Little swimmers dive in at Chalmers Pool at Seabrook Park

Posted on September 13, 2013 – 03:33 am
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By Chick Jacobs
Staff writer

Jeffrey McAllister was trembling, his quivering lip and scrunched-up face a stark contrast to the implied happiness of his bright yellow swim trunks.

He was cold, shivering in the warm sun as the cooling water of Chalmers Pool continued to splash all around. The warmth of a thick beach towel was just a few yards away.

But then, Jeffrey wouldn't be in the pool anymore.

Eventually, the giggles and gurgles of other children got his attention. Heck, you can be warm any old time.

But how often can you have fun getting wet?

Summer's here - almost - and the time is right for splashing in the heat. At Cumberland County's only public pool, the kids were ready to get wet, well before the gates were open.

"As soon as they saw me taking out their bathing suits, they were like, 'Are we going to the pool? Are we going to the pool?' " said Lashana Francis. She had scoped out the pool days beforehand, opting to arrive early and grab a lounge chair beneath an umbrella.

From there, she chatted on her phone and kept a close eye on her 4-year-old twins, Heaven and Nevaeh.

"They know how to swim, them and their brother Dont'e, " she said. "But I never learned. I'm going to have to some day."

Dont'e, a long, lean 5-year-old, can't decide which part of the pool he likes best. He races from one part to the other, despite his mom's near-constant reminder: "No running! No running!"

It's no use - after a winter away from the pool, he's just too excited.

Chalmers Pool is tucked in the corner of Seabrook Park, near Fayetteville State University. Until this week, it was a quiet shell of concrete and chain-link fence, awaiting Memorial Day.

Now, each afternoon at 1, the park echoes with splashes and screeches of kids. Older kids will begin arriving in the afternoon as well, once school lets out.

For now, it's a wonderland for younger kids and their parents - or grandparents.

Kay Nickel rests on one of the plastic-strapped lounge chairs around the pool, watching as her daughter Candice Thorne and 2-year-old grandson Seth cavort in the clear water. She'd join them, but she's sporting one very un-poolish accessory - a walking cast on her left leg. She broke her foot last week.

"Otherwise, " she says, "I'd be out there with them right now.

"I can't believe we're already getting into summer, " Nickel adds, squinting into the early afternoon sun. "But this is a nice way to get there. And it only costs $1 for the kids."

A dollar for the parents, but a priceless afternoon for the children. Whether swimming in the deeper water or hiding behind the curtains of water falling through the wading zone's splash park, it's an afternoon well spent.



2009-06-01 09:29:42 by whitesean

The ride from the Hill District to Uptown was a twenty minute drive. It took them thirty minutes because of a stop for coffee and traffic. They all sat in the car silent. Each of them rocking and bouncing on the leather cushion because of the hilly terrain. Linus driving and staring straight ahead breathing hard with his mouth open, holding the steering wheel and a doughnut with his left hand and a Dunkin Donut's cup in the right, taking an occasional sip or bite. Franklin holding the Styrofoam cup on his crotch, his eyes lazily shifting from the road to the steam floating from the aperture in the plastic lid and back to the road

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