New York City can get hot in the summer. Maybe that is an understatement. I don’t think that New York City has more heat waves than other places, but because of so much asphalt, the heat is in the air, and then radiates back up from the streets again and again. Heat waves like this can not only make people sick, but they can kill people as well. Sometimes, desperate times bring desperate measures. Bathhouses, beaches, community pools, floating pools docked off the East River, all in an effort to cool off the overheated people. Nobody can say that New York City made no effort over the years to keep residents cool on hot summer days, but what of those who couldn’t get to the places set up too cool the the people off. Something had to be done. Enter the Swimmobile.
In the crisis, New York City decided to bring the pool to the people. These were the Swimmobile pools. They were attached to a truck, which could be parked on a street all day and conveniently towed away at night. “Swimmobiles began during the Heckscher administration [1960s-1970s] that literally took pools to the streets to underserved areas,” says the Parks Department website. It was more that trying to give more people the right to go swimming…this was life and death. A 1976 New York Times article stated that the city owned five mobile pools, which were towed from Randall’s Island to different corners of the city. These Swimmobiles Probably saved countless lives, and the people had fun too.
These past couple of days have brought temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s to Casper, Wyoming, where I live, and were it not for air conditioning, I would most likely be screaming for a Swimmobile myself, but I’m quite certain, none would be found. These were something that served its purpose in a time of need, and then went the way of most things when technology advances things…into the past. These days, when we are hit with a heatwave, people drive to the pools, lakes, or rivers…or they simply turn on the air conditioner, or if there happens to be an ice cream truck in the area, we can always indulge in some cold treats, as a way to cool off. Of course, if there is a power blackout, they would have to come up with another solution, as ice cream would not hold out long. Thankfully, outages don’t last too long, most of the time, or we might have to bring back the Swimmobile.
Our travels to Washington to attend my uncle’s funeral took my mom, my sister, Cheryl, and me through such beautiful country. It had been a long time since I had driven through western Montana, Northern Idaho, and eastern Washington…since my daughter Amy was 3 months old, in fact. I have been to this area since that time, but I flew, so it was a very different trip. And yet, I remembered the road we traveled, like it was just yesterday. Of course, the trip we made was for a very different reason. We went to see Bob’s grandmother, and not for the loss of an uncle. Nevertheless, that part of the country is beautiful.
Once we left Billings, and headed up into the mountains, the scenery changed so much that you could imagine that you were in a different country all together. The trees were so thick that you almost couldn’t see through them. The snow was so deep that we were unsure of the conditions up ahead. Not that we needed to worry, because the roads were great. I loved looking at the beautiful trees, mainly I suppose, because I love the mountains. Many people like the lakes, or even the ocean and the beaches, and I like those too, but I will always love the mountains the best. There is just nothing like the smell of pine trees, and the sound of the wind rushing through the pine needles. It is the essence of the mountains…perfect.
The drives up to my cousins house have been a trip in themselves, and as a person who never really went in for 4 wheeling, I can tell you that it was an eye opening experience. I can also tell you that my cousin, who has been driving that road for 30 years, is very good at making that drive. She could easily have been a monster truck driver. Going over rocks and hills and climbing mountains doesn’t bother Shirley one bit. All I can say is, I’m glad she was doing the driving and not me. Nevertheless, I love the essence of the mountains as much as my cousin does. It is definitely God’s country, I think.