What Memories Drive Us in Life?

What do YOU love doing?  Has it impacted your life?  If so, how?

I have always LOVED the water.  I wonder if I was an otter or a dolphin in a different life?  But when I was 13 I had a friend, who lived out in the wilds of Upland, California where there was a reservoir near her home.  My friend had an older sister who had two toddlers, one was about 3 years old and the other was approximately 5 years old.  Then to add to the fun, my friend’s mom had a surprise pregnancy, so my friend had a 2 year old brother.

One day the three toddlers were out playing on their own.  Why they were not being watched, I have no idea.  But the three little boys managed to wander over to the reservoir which had no fence around it.  Evidently, the 2 year old was curious about the water in the reservoir, but he got too close to the edge where it was muddy.  The toddler slipped in the mud and fell into the reservoir. The 3 and 5 year old little boys went to rescue their uncle, only to have all three of the little boys fall into the reservoir and drown.

I had just moved 80 miles away to Hermosa Beach. I remember receiving the letter from my friend telling me about this horrific tragedy.  Since I LOVED the water, as I grew up I remembered this tragedy.  In school  I learned to do synchronized swimming, and later I learned about water safety, and how to teach babies and toddlers to swim.

When I married and had children, I immediately started teaching my babies to swim and to not be afraid of the water.  I wanted them to be able to swim if they fell in the water as my in-laws lived on Lake Washington and did not have a safe beach for the kids to play.  I took Life Saving lessons so that I could teach my children and the other children in the neighborhood to swim. Plus, I went to my children’s elementary school and taught Water Safety, so that if these kids or their friends fell in, the kids would know how to run to get help, or help the child who fell in without falling in too.

As the years have passed, now I teach my grandchildren about water safety, as I always remember the tragedy of the three toddlers drowning in the reservoir.  I talk to parents about this situation too, as I want them to be mindful of what their children are doing when they are near water.  Tragedy can happen so extremely fast when children are near water.  Please Watch your children and teach them to swim.  You are NEVER too young to learn to swim!





About Gwynn Rogers

After 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the fields of real estate, high tech, and corporate travel, Gwynn has moved on to the career of “Grandma.” When not teaching her granddaughters an extensive vocabulary of “alley-oop-boop, ups-a-daisy, cowabunga or bummer”, Gwynn can be found hunting for mentors for the Kitsap Youth Mentoring Consortium, or chasing her fantasies on her treadmill. Gwynn currently freelances for magazines.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to What Memories Drive Us in Life?

  1. Pat Garcia says:


    Beautiful post about the need to learn how to swim at an early age. I totally agree with you however in some countries that is not possible, especially for women and even in the United States it was not possible until 1967-68 in some parts of the country. I was born in the Deep South, and at that time when I was a small child, I didn’t have the privilege to learn how to swim. It wasn’t allowed. So when I finally got to university, I signed up for a swimming class because the swimming pools were now open to all people regardless of what color their skin was.
    No, I didn’t learn how to swim in that class because I was too afraid. I almost drowned and that increased my fear. It was only after meeting my husband and a couple of understanding women here in Germany that the fear began to disappear. My hubby actually was the biggest help. He helped talk me through my fear. So at the age of forty-seven, I could stay above water and go from one end of the pool to the other. I still don’t trust myself swimming in the open sea but at least my fear of water has been conquered.
    I really enjoyed reading this.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

    P.S. I hit the like button on your blog and it didn’t register. I think it has to do with something I did but I am not sure. Just wanted to say I really like your article. I had to smile.

    • Pat, learning to be safe in and near the water is critical! I’m glad you at least learned to swim. Man, I’m totally shocked that you were not allowed to swim in the deep South. I absolutely HATE the prejudice there, especially what is happening now with the issue of abortion.

      Thanks for commenting. It has been so long since I have posted here that I forgot people might comment. Also, I just updated the programs on my blog, so I suspect that was the issue you ran into.

  2. susan scott says:

    What an awful tragedy Gwynn. That is surely a memory that will never go away, more so for the parents. It highlights how quickly this can happen. I’t’s happened to a few people I know, their child and/or grandchildren and the mourning is still there. And this apart from the drownings that get reported, whether in the sea or in a pool, or a river ..

    I love the water too, just floating whether in the pool or sea. And of course when not floating but playing in the waves is great exercise.

    AND, it’s great to see you here! More posts please!

    • Susan, Thanks so much for commenting. You will laugh. It has been so long since I have posted here that I forgot people might comment. Heck, I had a terrible time trying to remember how to post the pictures. I guess that is a good reason for kicking myself in the butt to get back to doing something here.

      Anyway, this memory of those children drowning has been vivid in my mind these many years. We lived in a rather rural area, so I’m totally shocked that the moms were not paying attention to such small children. Down at the waterfront I constantly see parents not paying enough attention to their children. There have been times, when I have stayed to watch the children until the parent finally took charge.

      What I worry about now, is that my opinionated side is starting to come out of hiding. I would rather find something happy to write about, but maybe I need to get the dirt out to find the light. However, THANK YOU for your support. Big Hugs!!!

  3. Wow, powerful story. What a tribute to those poor young children for you to dedicate so much time and energy to preventing future such tragedies.

    • When I walk at the marina park here in Poulsbo, I want to beat some of the parents over the head as they are too busy looking at their phone or talking that they forget about their children. I have had to grab a couple of children before they fell in the water or off the pergola onto the sidewalk.

      But as a child to be confronted with the death of such young children is really traumatic. Thanks for commenting!

  4. As I read your account of the children drowning, it brought back a tragic memory of my own – just down the road from where I lived years ago in Acton, MA, was a huge sand pit used by construction companies. One day, some young boys were riding their bikes up and down the sand piles and one of the piles collapsed, burying and killing one of the boys. His name was Michael. At the time, my own Michael, my firstborn, was about a year old. I think I cried for days, feeling such empathy with the parents of that little boy. I’ve never forgotten that. Maybe as a result, I was always probably over-protective of my two boys! Now my youngest son, Tim, has a 3-year old son and he is over-protective of him as well! Yes, our memories are powerful motivators as we move through life. Thank you for such a beautifully written memoir and lesson for us all.

    • Boy, Rita, I totally understand your empathy for that little boy’s parents; AND I totally understand why you are over-protective, as I am too. As I mentioned to Nadine, when I walk at the Poulsbo marina, I keep a vigilant eye on the toddlers as often parents are paying more attention to their phones than to their children. I have grabbed a couple of toddlers, one to keep the little boy from falling into the water, but then a little girl squeezed through the wrought-iron bars on the pergola and nearly did a face-plant onto the concrete below. We forget how fast a child can get into trouble. Thanks for your lovely comment. Hugs!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.