Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

2/2/08

Bleaching My Shower Begets My Life as A Five Year-old

Bleaching my shower floor this afternoon offered a smell reminding me of swimming lessons when I was five at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, IL.

Those were dreaded days. I never liked the lessons much, and preferred to splash around in Mrs. Kirk's whale shaped pool next to us on Meade Avenue. Mrs. Kirk's generosity was never well-thanked by me, and she's gone, but so sweet was she.

In her pool, I learned to do a double somersault, backwards somersault, and, hold my breath underwater for an unbelievable 5:00.

Brian, Julie, and later, Chipper Kort, who all lived as siblings on the other side of the Kirk's home, would run and jump and swim with me. When not swimming, we would explore the "Trails," a woody undeveloped part of our neighborhood. Or we played Whiffle Ball, Elimination, or build things that would fall quickly (snow forts, treehouses, and things made of scrap wood liberated from homes being built near by). Other days we would bicycle, or walk, the few miles to downtown Palos Heights, a two-block area along Harlem Avenue. Mr. Kort owned a hardware store there, and the White Hen had RC Colas in 16 oz bottles, topped with cork insulated caps. Scrape off the cork to reveal as much as a $10.00 prize.

Brian and I became the best of neighborhood friends during those summers in the pool until slowly going our separate ways in high school. The last I knew, Brian was working in construction in the area, but seems to be in Lousiana, according to some quick research. Julie's in my area, and who knows if our paths have quietly crossed. Chipper may be in Indiana, but that's only a guess.

Julie has married and had at least three children. From Trinity Christian College:

Julie Kort Boer `90 and Rob Boer '90 We announce the birth of our third child, Jamie Ryan, on January 19, 1999. He joins his sister Kallie (6) and brother Riley (3). This is our first year home schooling our children and we are enjoying it tremendously. (1/2000)
Wherever the Korts are, I lift my hat to you. You were the best friends a neighborhood could have.

(The trick, by the way, to holding one's breath so long starts with hyperventalation, followed by an immediate inhalation and complete relaxation.)

Epilogue
The shower, set in a half bath attached to my bedroom, has a drip that incessantly calibrates this blogging moment like a metronome pacing a too-slow song.

In the earliest part of the evening, now, the bleach has faded some, and has the scent of a hotel with the swimming pool not far away.

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