Pool Paradise in the Nostalgic Realm of Wildwood Crest, NJ


A lot of creative writing is stimulated lately by these past three months where childhood lived with a vengeance under the illusion of never-ending summer. The summer was always launched with the opening of swimming pools and the fun that commenced. I would like you to think about some of your best summer memories that involved aquatic adventures. A lot of individuals on the autism spectrum are attracted to water, and this can sometimes be a danger if they are unable to swim. Fortunately, this was not the case with me, and all of my memories splashing around were quite pleasant. This particular essay is meant to remind you of such beauty and also stimulate your own memories of summer sustenance. What are some of your memories involving a pool, ocean, or some other body of water where nostalgia thrives forever?

My earliest memories of water-related paradise revolve around the fabled Swan Motel in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. In fact, as this entry is being composed I am looking at photographs right now of postcards of this epic hotel. My family stopped going there the summer before second grade but I still remember how it felt to climb up the slide that seemed enormous and slide down during a time when there were no fear of frivolous lawsuits when children occasionally became hurt. It was a different time when there were video arcades that surely took me to the moon.

As an adult it is difficult to let go of such memories even though family vacations are long in the past. One of the advantages of being an adult is being able to return anytime in the summer if there is enough money. Unfortunately, my aquatic paradise right by the beach itself was demolished in 2003, if memory serves me correctly. It was the end of an era, my friends. The slide has probably been removed years ago due to rust or fear of litigation. If I had known the magic would have disappeared forever then I would have surely tried to take a trip there in the middle of one of my summers before the next semester of college. Everything dies…baby that’s a fact. But everything that dies…someday comes back.

One year in 2013 I decided that Wildwood had been lingering in my dreams for long enough. It was time to return at long last. My good friend, Jason and I booked a room at the Cozy Crest Motel. But it was not cozy at all when we arrived. In fact, it was downright dilapidated and looked like the setting of a crime movie. We were so disgusted that we went on a frantic search for a new motel, and this time we had enough sense to perform some research before booking the place. The Swan Motel is dead. But we came across the Caribbean Motel. What struck me most about the new motel was the crescent-shaped swimming pool. The memories of the Swan Motel returned with a vengeance. Perhaps I chose to come back because life was not giving me enough breaks in the present so it felt necessary to return to the past. I was just like Tom Hanks in Splashreturning to Cape Cod.

When I think of a swimming pool, the same memories come flooding back. It was when the bullies and the relentless rigors of the school day were fading memories for a long while. I discovered the power of a goggle face mask to provide clarity within the blurry water and the exploration of a new world. Diving for pennies was also a fun pastime until our lungs inevitable caused us to give up until it was time to venture down once again. I also loved to play with water guns and the colored plastic ones were simply incredible. We definitely had the distraction of television back then. Even computers and video games, too. But it was not ubiquitous enough to seize every ounce of my generation’s attention. Sometimes I wish that swimming pools still sustained my passion because it would help tremendously with losing weight while having tons of fun doing it!

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