The Swimming Pool.

By Claude

I would slowly walk down from Abercorn Street towards Borrow Street, rolled towel tucked under my arm, floppy hat firmly on my head and the sun on my back, the long walk gave me time to enjoy the sights and sounds of my little word.

The huge hibiscus flowers, with their sweet centres, brushing against my sleeve, disturbing the bees feeding inside them. The lawns all trimmed and brown, with the ever present stream of little ants running along the side of the red, polished verandas, and the occasional cooling spray from a sprinkler set too close to the road.

Smiling Africans would go past on their black bicycles, their bells jingling with every bump. Occasionally, a dog would come rushing up to the gate, barking furiously behind the "Pasopa Lo Inja" sign. The cars would zoom past, and I would read the same stickers on their boots as they slowed for the huge "bumps" in the road. "Don't Drive Rhodesia Dry", "STP", "Rhodesia is Super" or "Chipingali Wildlife Orphanage" would repeatedly flash at me, the little dogs would nod from their back parcel shelf, whilst orange balls waved furiously from the top of the car aerials.

Arriving at the gate, I would patiently wait in the queue for three o'clock. The pool closed between twelve and three, which I always thought strange, as that was the hottest part of the day. Finally, the gate would open, and we would all hand over our five cents and go through the squeaky turnstile, to the paradise on the other side.

I would stand at the top of the stairs, the pool in front of me, the tuck-shop to my left, and survey my playground. The little "baby's pool' immediately in front of me, with the huge main pool behind it, the big diving board standing frighteningly tall at the far end. Palm trees rustled in the light breeze as they flanked both sides of the pool, and the large lawns beckoned at the back, waiting for a friendly football match between the "skins" and "shirts".

A quick run to the changing rooms, all my stuff packed tightly into a wire basket, and with my token, watch and money safely in my folded hat, I would make my way to "our "tree, where my friends were already waiting. With a loud "Geronimo" war cry, we would all race for the pool, and dive into its welcoming coolness.

So much to do, so much to smile about. The diving boards, then a few bombs near some squealing girls, a playfight on a tractor tube, diving to retrieve a few pennies, then back on the grass, to lie in the sun and drink a Hubbly-Bubbly, eat some piri-piri chips, or perhaps a pink fish or niggerball.

First Swim

By Lorraine

Who could EVER forget the brilliant colour of the water as you went through that squeaky turnstyle. I can still remember the very first time I was taken to the Baths. We moved to Bulawayo in November 1948 when I was only just five years of age and we went to live with my grandparents in Parkmount Flats, Borrow Street.

One afternoon, shortly after we arrived, my older cousins, Inez and Mary came to visit and they asked my mother if they could take me swimming with them. I remember I hadn't a clue what 'swimming' was, but they assured me I would have a lot of fun, so off we set. I had been to the seaside and to Warm Baths, so I did have a cozi, but that hadn't been called 'swimming'!!

We walked along Borrow Street, trying to keep in the shade of the trees as it was a burningly hot afternoon and all the time my excitement was growing and growing as we got nearer and nearer the pool. My cousins had to keep a tight hold of my hands as I skipped along and then, we finally arrived at the Pool.

The entrance fee was paid and we were through those squeaky, silver turnstyles. What absolute MAGIC!! I just stood there totally entranced. I had never before seen water with such a wonderful colour. Inez had to drag me along the grassy terraces to the changing rooms on the left hand side of the pool, otherwise I would have stood there all afternoon. There was no babies pool then, so I was taken into the main pool and I must confess to feeling quite a bit frightened at first. However, it didn't take me long before I was having the time of my life and it took a great deal of persuasion to get me out the water again.

It was only the promise of a toffee apple or a pink marshmallow fish from the tea room some time later that finally got me out. The floor of the tea room was the ubiquitous red cement, freezing cold to my feet and dripping wet from all the children dashing from the pool to buy something to eat. I vividly remember a whole group of red-eyed, sopping wet little boys, hair plastered to their scalps, standing in front of me, all wanting pink fish, or yellow bananas, or packets of sherbert with a liquorice straw etc.

Going home later that afternoon, I was so tired, I could hardly drag one foot after the other and my cousins took it in turns to carry me home."