Be Careful What You Wish For

Beach Reflections

My parents occasionally visited friends who had a swimming pool. It was surrounded by tall trees and was seldom warmed by the sun, so the water was invariably quite cold. However I was used to swimming in the ocean, which as any New Englander knows, is considered warm if it gets into the 60’s. My parents did not swim in the pool. My mother did not like the cold water and my dad was more interested in conversation with their friends. I swam and played in the water to my heart’s content and only reluctantly left the pool when my lips had turned blue with cold.

My grandmother belonged to a swim and tennis club situated on the ocean. In addition to providing access to the beach it also had a saltwater pool. I loved that pool as well and was always thrilled when my grandmother invited me to go there with her. They had very good club sandwiches too, crusts removed—something my mother never served. In addition she insisted I eat my crusts, telling me they were good o me. What a treat it was. Also I felt elegant sharing lunch with my grandmother in the rustic clubhouse. It was probably these two pools that implanted in my mind the desirability of owning one.

One day Stephen and I came to Grafton to find a home and the real estate agent showed us a lovely house with a pool. While we both liked the house and the land around it, I was particularly excited to actually have a swimming pool of my own. My unstated yet nevertheless real wish had come true. My childhood memories of swimming and playing in the water had morphed into an opportunity to bask in the ownership of a pool I could swim in whenever I wished to.

Little did I know then the outcome of that wish fulfillment. At first the pool seemed wonderful. I could swim in it to my hearts content. Then I discovered that it needed daily maintenance, together with chemicals. We purchased a device that helped clean the pool, yet it still had to be skimmed and occasionally vacuumed. The reality of how much it cost to maintain and how much work that was began to emerge. There was so much we did not know about pools, especially old ones, and how to keep them in pristine condition.

People swam with seawater still in their suits. Difficult to eradicate black mold grew in the pool. The sides began to crumble. We patched them as best we could. The finishing touch came when friends brought their teenaged sons over and the resultant hours of cannonballs loosened the old, outdated concrete lining until it flapped back and forth. We inquired about repairs and were told it would cost as much as a new pool: in the tens of thousands. Faced with that we opted to eliminate the pool, filling it in. Thus ended the dream, resulting in a lesson learned. Needless to say I became less eager to make wishes. However, when I do, I am very careful to consider what their fulfillment might entail.

Hello from Tasha

Tasha at home

Hello to all my friends and followers,

I’ve had some help working on my site and hope to put more out there for people to enjoy. Meanwhile, just wanted to say, thank you for reading my posts and for any comments you may have. I will also try to be better about answering any comments you may be so kind as to leave. Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Tasha,

The Wish I Coulds by Tasha Halpert

Kathy's Kitchen Baskets I’m not sure why I was so uncoordinated as a child. Perhaps it was because I was tall for my age and my physical development had run ahead of my ability to manage it. I was fine riding a tricycle. Then came a two wheeled bike. Over and over again I fell off. It didn’t help that my bicycle seat was loose and kept wobbling, and that the sidewalks where I had to ride were bumpy. Once on the way to a friend’s I fell off and hurt my knee. A kind person stopped his car and brought me home. My parents thanked him, then after he left they scolded me for accepting a ride from a stranger. Perhaps they were right to do so, however I thought the man seemed nice, and I was scraped up and bloody and my knee was painful.

Even as an adult I had problems riding a bike. I’ve never known why it was so difficult for me when most people seem to have no problem doing that. I rode it to keep my children company until I finally twisted my front wheel, making my bike inoperable. I was secretly relieved. Skating too was difficult. I wanted to be able to glide over the ice, yet I had to be content with a few simple turns around the rink before my ankles became to painful to continue.

There are other things I always wanted to be able to do and never could, like run fast, or hit a tennis ball with accuracy. I had tennis lessons to no avail. The sailing lessons I took one year were a disaster. No one wanted me to crew with them because I kept getting my directions mixed up. School sports were a torment because I was so uncoordinated. It was difficult always being chosen last for any team regardless of the game being played. The people who were good at sports were always the popular one. In some respects my childhood was one long “wish I could.”

My hand-eye coordination seems lacking. Drawing presents another obstacle. I can draw what I might be looking at, and I enjoy sketching, but drawing from my imagination presents a problem. No matter how hard I try I can’t seem to transfer what I might envision to paper just the way I see it. And then when I manage to come up with something I like, try as I may I cannot reproduce what I have drawn so that it looks even remotely the same.

Do I sound like I am complaining? Perhaps I am. However, it is also true that there has been compensation for what I have I lacked. In my solitary childhood I read avidly and thus developed a large vocabulary. My vivid imagination helped me to write stories and poems and still does. Spending time outdoors by myself I learned to love nature and nature comforted me. Perhaps most important of all I developed compassion for those who are limited or unable to do as they wish. There are still things I wish I could do, however I recognize that they are not nearly as important as the things I can do, and for these I am grateful.