The summer I was fourteen (almost fifteen), and my sister Mary was eighteen, we were invited by our Parents to join them for a week-long stay at Downingtown Inn, located in Downingtown, PA, in Chester County. We were joined by our Auntie and Uncle, and theirs and my Parent’s best friends, too.
The days were ours to spend walking about, playing card games by the pool and swimming until we were exercised. Afterward we would suntan on our brightly-colored beach towels; although there wasn’t a spec of sand in sight, other than the golf course. We would get together for breakfast, lunch and then everyone dressed up for dinner, entertainment and dancing. The popular dances of our parent’s generation was within the arms of a dancing partner, and we had such a delightful time learning the dance steps from our three gentlemen partners. I must confess that each did their own version of the Foxtrot, so Mary and I had to watch our steps and our toes.
I loved dressing up and everyone was refined. There was a lot of booze being served (we had Shirley Temples), and I believe my Father allowed my sister to sip some of his drinks, too. She was after all, eighteen. The evenings were filled with big band music and later Mary and I would go poolside to listen to the local bands pounding out the top hits of the day.
One afternoon, my Father came looking for me. I had been sneaking a cigarette smoke and didn’t have time to use mouth wash, so I kept my conversation under my breath. He instructed me to follow him and I thought I was in trouble because he kept hurrying me along. We ended up at the swimming pool! What? It was jammed packed with the guests. I looked at my Dad with question marks clearly visible in my eyes. He smiled that wonderful smile of his and announced to all there, “Here she is and I bet you she can do it!” Do what I wondered.
The man standing at the edge of the deep end told me he was throwing twelve (I watched the movements of his hands as he threw) silver spoons into the twelve-foot deep water. I was to be afforded one huge gulp of air and expected to retrieve all twelve spoons. Really!
I was a bit winded from being hurried up the hill after my illicit smoking, but I could see how very much this meant to my Mom and Dad. They both wore the same, assurance and faith, shining from their faces. I nodded and every one cheered. Oh boy! I centered my focus, looked to see the spots of glimmering silver and breathed in deep breathes of air. My lungs were as full as I could make them be. I dove in.
It is true you can hear sounds from underneath the water and they were cheering and laughing. I quickly darted from spoon-to-spoon, picking up the utensils until I got to the last one. Wouldn’t you know! I could not hold six spoons in each hand. I kept dropping it and I kept after it. Finally, I exhaled some air and went back to the last one. I put it into my mouth and pushed my way up from the bottom of the pool. A rousing cheer almost deafened me as I placed eleven spoons on the cement and then pulled the last one from my teeth. I had done it! I was so glad not to be in trouble for the smoking and that I had proved my Father right. I was patted on the back many times and hugged by everyone in my party, including my sister! Woo-Hoo!
I shall always remember winning the tiny little trophy. I believe I gave it to my Parents. I felt very proud that day. It was our version (dirty dancing) vacation. 😀
I heard it burned down and they rebuilt it. Here is a link.