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Searching for the Broadmoor Pool

Aug 01, 2016 01:18PM ● By Elizabeth Hesterly

Searching for the Broadmoor Pool

By Elizabeth Hesterly

My husband and I had a visitor from Houston. She had once lived in Lafayette when her father was working for an oil company, and because we both spent our early years in Broadmoor Terrace, we shared similar memories.

I learned to swim at the Broadmoor Terrace Swim Club. My brother, sister, and I are all good swimmers thanks to the pool’s instructors of our youth. Once we were old enough, we rode our bikes to the Broadmoor pool every single day of the season. No one locked their bike. We rode up to the club and parked our bikes outside the gate. A simple set of rules included the mandate that all swimmers rinse off in the showers before entering the pool. I still remember standing below that rush of cold water, shivering and squealing with my friends, only to experience the glorious feeling of warmth when we jumped into the pool. Lifeguards watched from their lookouts as we dove for pennies and practiced handstands.

Once the pool opened for the summer, we lived there. My neighbors and good friends all rode their bikes to the pool with us, as a posse, typically with our beach towels draped around our necks. This was not a country club where towels were provided or waiters sauntered by your lounge chair to offer fish tacos. This was better than that. We went to the club to swim. The more adventurous of us jumped from the diving board. The more athletic of us practiced our diving.  We held contests for who could hold their breath the longest. We had to get out of the water when lifeguards sensed a storm approaching, and thus we huddled under cover waiting for those afternoon showers to move on by. We giggled while plotting who might have the next slumber party.

I can still trace my path to the Broadmoor pool — my friends and I took a right out of our driveways, a right onto the street that ran parallel to Johnston, followed the curve onto Ashwood, took a left on Fontainbleau, and then we could see the swim club off to our left. The route is indelibly etched in my brain. It was an easy trip with the promise of summer swimming in our sights.

So imagine my dismay when our friend from Texas asked my husband and me to drive by the Broadmoor Terrace Swim Club, and we could not find it!  It’s no longer there. A house or two sits on the property where the pool of my childhood once beckoned us. Imagine my sadness.  Imagine hers. We were crushed. This was where our best friends gathered, where my brother chipped his front tooth the day he got his braces removed, where our parents allowed us to spend entire days.  

At first we did not believe it.  We made our driver, my husband, turn this way and that, thinking that we were just one street off, that our memories weren’t quite accurate. But in the end, we had to face the fact that our beloved Broadmoor pool was gone.  I’m a sentimental girl, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. That swim club offered me and my siblings and most of my friends a safe spot where childhood silliness and simple pleasures reigned. I’m sad it’s gone, unable to continue offering the kind of joy it once offered me.

By: Elizabeth O'Roark Hesterly