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!