From High School to Honeymoon at the Hot Springs Pool
Our hot springs pool was not only a meeting place when we were in high school in the early 1950s, it was a place of great amusement. We could be found horsing around on the four or five huge logs that were ever-present at the deep end of the pool. We would straddle them, stand on them and with little effort knock each other off since they were so slick. Today’s standard of safety would cause nervous hearts to flutter when contemplating yesteryear’s sources of fun. I can’t recall a single instance when any of us got hurt. Other excitement was to jump from the lowest roof of the old stone lodge into the shallow water of the stone walled pool.
The most fun of all was the added intrigue of sneaking into the pool after hours. A Navy-era metal Quonset hut stood at the east end of the pool. The windows were old fashioned double hungs with simple latch hooks. We thought we were pretty clever since one of the latches only appeared to be locked but was always free to let us in. With little effort we had our secret late night ticket to the pool.
One night a number of our schoolmates were apprehended. One rather athletic fellow raced to the deep end, escaping over the fence. Because he was in such a hurry, he forgot to grab his shoes and clothing; he left stark naked! The next day Frank Kistler, the grand gentleman who owned the pool, brought “Baby Hughie’s” clothes to his parents who were motel owners two blocks down State Highway 6 & 24!
Another memory is of my grandparents collecting mineral water from the small hot springs for drinking. Grandma Vallet especially believed in its healing powers; she was a hardworking farm woman who lived to 102. The consumption of hot springs water was common in those early days. Even today you may see people filling jugs to partake of the healing waters at home.
My wife Lavonne grew up in Silt during her youngster years. Her first visit to the pool was as an infant. Later, Silt’s grade school classes would often have day excursions to the fish hatchery and the pool. In high school, she competed in the Strawberry Days Queen competition.
Lavonne and I graduated together in Glenwood’s class of 1955, however I don’t ever remember any of the boys and girls sneaking into the pool together. The girls had their own secret place to sneak in, a skinny place between a fence and the wall of the restaurant. I’m told the girls never got caught and always wore their suits. Our fondest memory is of spending our honeymoon night, October 26, 1956, at the Hot Springs Pool’s Motel, which no longer exists. When Lavonne and I had our children, John and Corinne, we started taking them to the pool and of course that’s where they learned to swim. Lavonne still goes to the pool on a regular basis and has been taking water aerobics classes since the 1960s.
The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool has always been a part of all of our lives, from our grandparents to our grandchildren. Happy 125th!