By Jim McCloskey
Every once in a while, the fact that I’m not getting any younger smacks me right upside the head.
This time, it’s had to do with becoming a grandfather for the second time – an event that’s led me to do more than the usual amount of reflecting in recent days and, in particular, think about instances when I’ve intertwined my personal and professional lives.
My oldest daughter was born in 1985, just before I returned to Los Angeles after a few years’ absence to take on the top editor’s job with Pool & Spa News. By the time our third daughter joined us in 1991, Judy and I had bought the house we’ve now lived in for nearly 30 years. The simple fact that the property has a swimming pool and spa in its backyard is one of the main features that has kept us here.
Back then, I wasn’t above slipping photos of my children into the magazine from time to time. Two of them appeared in a Christmas card I printed in P/SN in 1989 (seen at left). Middle daughter Leah, born in 1988, showed off her swimming skills (and ability to imitate a puffer fish) as part of an article P/SN published late in 1995 (just below).
In addition, the fact that our family has always enjoyed its pool has fueled a long line of editor’s notes and blogs. In flipping through a few of them just now, I’ve come to see that much of my passion about what I do through WaterShapes is a reflection of the good times we’ve had in and around our own backyard plunge.
I’ve used the spa regularly since 1989 and have noted in numerous articles and blogs that it has pulled me through more episodes of severe back pain than any medication ever could.
I will concede that my interest in the pool has been less consistent: I’ve always been a good swimmer, but given our too-short-for-effective-lap-swimming pool, I became an even better floater. I recall coming home from Pool & Spa News on warm days, gathering up the various sections of the Los Angeles Times and just floating on the water, reading and sipping on a cool beverage, for hours on end. My kids often joined me in the water, and they (usually) had the good sense to avoid splashing the paper or chlorinating my plastic goblet of sauvignon blanc.
As it turned out, alas, all that sun was increasingly not good for my fair Irish skin, so to relieve my dermatologist of the need to exercise his skills quite so frequently I pretty much stopped floating and gradually drifted over to a well-shaded hammock.
But the arrival of my first grandchild lured me back into the pool – and I’m happy about that. She was with us for several days last summer, and our watershapes were once again a hub of family activity. She’ll be back here in a couple weeks with her little brother, and I look forward to breaking out some pool floats (and sunscreen at SPF Infinity) to renew memories of the good times we had all those years ago.
Believe me, I’ll do my part for watershaping’s future by sharing my love of being in water with my grandkids. It’s important work: Somebody has to do it!