A Secret From Dad

swimmingI always wanted to learn to swim. For some reason, my dad repeatedly intervened and said no. It was very frustrating. Finally, I went to Mom and asked what was up with Dad. She told me the secret. Dad was afraid of water. 

Mom and I decided that learning to swim was important enough for us to conspire behind Dad’s back. I think this was the only time this ever happened. Swimming lessons were held at Crystal Lake Beach. There was a bus that went from Washington School to the Beach and mom helped make sure I was on it. 

The lessons were good, but the water was always cold and the days were often rainy. I didn’t enjoy freezing while I was learning to swim. I picked up the basics and mom’s and my little secret went well until we moved into learning to dive off the pier. I dove too deep, scraped my nose on the sand bottom, and was busted. 

Dad noticed my scraped nose and I had to confess. Luckily, mom backed me up and dad was relatively calm about our secret.

swimmingWhen I was about 13, I went to Girl Scout Camp Blackhawk in Antigo, WI. My best friend Nancy’s sister Patsy was the waterfront leader. She picked up on my underdeveloped swimming skills and took it upon herself to make sure my skills improved. She would get in the water and move my legs correctly for the different strokes. She would do this until I finally got the knack of the leg movements. I was grateful to Patsy for her one-on-one attention. Because of her help, I was able to qualify for our waterfront unit and to go on a canoe trip down the Wolf River. 

Shortly after this summer camp, our new YMCA opened in Beaver Dam. I convinced Mom and Dad to let me sign up for lessons. The lessons were well taught and I moved on to Junior and Senior Lifesaving. By this time, I was hooked on all things relating to the water. 


1960 – 2007

Once I was old enough, I was asked to work for the Y teaching swimming and lifeguarding. Eventually, I was given the pool manager position. During this time, we taught my mom, our neighbors, my sister and her husband, the Nuns from the local hospital, and many of the local kids. Our summer swimming program included over 500 students of all ages. We had six qualified instructors and volunteer junior leaders who taught and assisted with the classes.

I loved spending time at the Y and working with all age groups. It was the greatest job ever. I did notice that Dad never signed up for one of my classes. I wonder why?

Who is Judy

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