So you always wanted to be a synchronized swimmer?

I tried to convince my daughter she should be a synchronized swimmer, too, but…she doesn’t look convinced, does she? Poor thing. We had to beg her to sit with the mermaid.

When I was eight or nine our family boarded a Delta jet and flew through the Friendly Skies to Florida.  Our first vacation in the Land of Palm Trees and sandy beaches and dolphins leaping in the surf.

We landed in Miami in the middle of the night and gasped in the sultry evening heat.  It was exquisite!  We Michiganders had never dreamed of a land so fair and void of snow in early spring.

We traveled over to the West Coast and–

OK, readers, I may be making all this up.  Or more likely, I am combining trips.  Because, truly, we went on two Florida trips.  One while I was in third grade, and the other in fourth.  Then we quit going to Florida until I was in college.  By then my parents were hooked, and eventually bought a condo down on Fort Myers Beach which is one of the loves of my life.  The condo, that is.  We woods-dwellers like to add spice & variety to our lives, you know.

To abbreviate this story to its bare essentials:  we visited Weeki Wachee Springs, just north of Tampa, and you all know that beautiful mermaids live there, right?  Not only do they live at Weeki Wachee, they also perform incredible synchronized swimming moves for adoring fans daily during prime season.

And Michigander Kathy fell head over heels in love with the exquisite mermaid-moves and vowed–yes, she vowed–that some day, too, she would become a synchronized swimmer and wow the audience with the undulating moves of her fins.


Trying to teach Christopher how to be a synchronized swimmer

We third and fourth graders are sure we know what we want to be when we grow up, aren’t we?
I suppose you wanted to be a fire fighter, or a pharmacist, or a nun, didn’t you?
I was sure that synchronized swimming was my life’s work.  (That was the year I wrote my first poem and determined that–just possibly–I would be a famous poet.  The following year it was a novelist.  In 7th grade it was a psychologist…)
The reason, you ask? 
Because I loved jumping up and down in our Michigan pools.  (Yes.  Kathy apparently jumped up and down during her first four years of life.  Then she grew shy and quit jumping–except in pools.  When no one was watching, she jumped up and pushed down.  Up.  Down.  It was exquisite.  It was magical.  The buoyancy of the water took one beyond imagination into a world of dreaming aquatics.)
You always wanted to be a synchronized swimmer, too, didn’t you?  Didn’t at least one of you?

That's the enthusiasm for swimming!

Alas.  The graceful synchronized swimming career never developed water wings.  The jumping eventually ceased, probably because adults don’t jump up and down in pools.  (OK, I did at the condo last year–even though sixty windows look down upon the pool.  Just because jumping is still fun.  🙂 )

And this is how it all turned out. Soaking in the hot tub...

Enough of swimming.  Let’s return to writing.  That  is, blogging.

Reasons why I should not be writing this blog today:

1)  I did not get permission to use the kids’ photos.  Chris and Ki, please forgive.  They were needed to illustrate these memories.  Besides, you guys never tell me “no” when I ask to use them, right?

2)  We are headed to Marquette in a few hours for Barry’s arthoscopic left knee surgery.  I will bring Miss Ellie, the laptop computer.  So here’s what happens:  we’ll be zinging between boot-buying and having a glass of wine and eating out dinner and buying “Once Upon A River” (see yesterday’s post) and Kathy will keep opening her email to check and see who’s written, who’s visited… and who always wanted to be a synchronized swimmer.  Because you can’t wait until you get home to find out such things.  Can you?

3.  This wasn’t the blog I intended to write.  I want to write a blog called “My collection of skulls.”  More about that another day.

Reason for writing this blog (see if you can tell which is the true answer):

1)  The USA Synchronized Swimming group contacted me and asked for publicity.

2.)  I’m feeling creative this morning–and a little silly.

3.  We’re staying at a motel with a pool tonight.

4.  Weeki Wachee has contacted yours truly to see if I’m still interested in a synchronized swimming career.  One of the mermaids visited Lake Superior this summer and… I’m sure the rest will be history.   *grin*

P.S. Part of me is convinced I’ve written this blog before.  Any of you remember reading it in the past?  Just peeked in all three of my blogs (almost 1,000 entries) and can’t find any reference to either synchronized swimming or Weeki Wachee.  Perhaps a mermaid dictated this in a dream?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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29 Responses to So you always wanted to be a synchronized swimmer?

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    OMG!!! I really DID want to do this! There were NO teams nor teachers close enough to me to do it! I never really got to see it done outside of the Olympics, though I think there was some in some old movies. (or maybe that was just old olympics clips–I can’t recall just now)

    Would be reaaaaaally amusing to me if Barry woke to dreams of his having on a furly bathing cap and giant full bathing suit and skirt, and doing the swimming routrine roflmao…waves and grins at barry…

    • Kathy says:

      Seriously? You, too, wanted to be a synchronized swimmer, Elisa? No kidding? I shared your image of Barry to him last night before surgery. I think he grinned back at you, but maybe that was me grinning. 🙂

  2. Reggie says:

    OK, I confess, when I was very, very little, I had *very briefly* longed to be able to do synchronised swimming, but alas, although I could swim and float fairly well by that stage, I could not stay with my head underwater for long enough, nor kick my legs up into the air while upside down!

    As to jumping up and down in pools – what do you mean, adults aren’t supposed to do that?! Really? What a preposterous rule… who made that up?! You’ll join me as we jump up and down in the pool, whooping and cheering and wishing we were 8 again, when we didn’t worry what others thought of us, won’t you? 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      That is a very funny image, Reggie! You and me jumping up and down in pools. Would we dare? Would we dare to have that much fun without worrying what the other “proper” adults are thinking? OK, I’m game. We’ll have to figure out when. And then maybe we’ll try at least one synchronized move.

      • Reggie says:


        We could even try to jump up and down in a *synchronised* kind of way, waving our arms in a ballet-like motion, so people think we’re actually “synchronised swimming”.

        So yes, now we just have to figure out when and where. 😉

  3. Can’t say synchronized swimming was ever one of my articulated goals, but I DO think it’s beautiful. Now–I’m gonna guess you’re staying tonight in an hotel with a pool. Right?

    • Kathy says:

      Kath (does anyone call you “Kath”?) I really should have made a reservation at a motel with a pool. But didn’t get into this memory until AFTER I made one at the Brentwood. Alas. Instead it was a silly creative mood which struck. Darn it. Should have thought about this before the reservation.

  4. P.j. grath says:

    No, I wanted to be (in chronological order) a cowgirl, veterinarian, recording artist, actress, social worker. Did not become any of them but did do a stint as a jazz and blues singer, so I don’t live with the regret of never trying that.

    Love seeing reminders of Weeki Wachee, where you may recall we spent a couple of winters! It’s now a Florida State Park.

    Wishing you all the best on Barry’s knee surgery. You will enjoy reading Bonnie Jo Campbell. Maybe you’ll have to read aloud to Barry?

    Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      This is utterly fascinating, reading what everyone wanted to be in childhood. A jazz and blues singer? That means you can carry a tune! How exciting. I do recall that you spent time down in that area. And maybe even did a blog of Weeki Wachee? Really enjoying that book. Very much. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  5. Sybil says:

    Cowgirl. I wanted to be a cowgirl. Can’t remember ever changing that plan. Heck — I still want to be a cowgirl …

    My bet is on reason #3.

    Bet you’d be wonderful ! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I am wondering what it would be like to be a cowgirl, Sybil. Would you live in The Wild West? On a ranch? I think that would be a fun–although maybe a hard–life.

  6. Mad Scientist, Magician, International Spy…

    My bed it reason #3.

    I think you secretly may well a mermaid who does synchronized swimming (even if it’s only in your dreams)

  7. Brenda Hardie says:

    🙂 yes indeed…I also had dreams of being a synchronized swimmer and spent many summers practicing in the local lakes and the pools where we vacationed 🙂 But as many childhood dreams go astray so that dream. I then decided I wanted to be a psychologist, specifically working with children from abused homes (I was horrified seeing all the kids who came to our home as foster children and learning their histories…and a child myself, I was not privy to the most horrid details but only brief descriptions which were terrible enough!) That dream stayed with me until I graduated from high school when teachers pushed me into business (which I did very well at and enjoyed but it never satisfied my heart). Fro a time during my middle teenage years, I really wanted to write and did…journal upon journal upon journal. My dream at that time was to write a book, the story of my Grama Esther’s life. She amazed me…she overcame great obstacles, she endured extreme pain and never once complained. She was in many ways a miracle. But try as I might, I never could get the story off and running. It seemed like the words just kept tumbling around in my head but I couldn’t get them on the paper and make sense at the same time. That dream sits quietly in a deep pocket of my heart…patiently waiting. The dream of being a psychologist was pushed aside because I saw the futility of that particular area. Too much heartbreak, too much politics, too much game playing. And, all along…all throughout my childhood up until even today my heart’s desire has been to be a wife and a mom ♥ This is my calling ♥
    And I think your reason for this blog is because of the pool at the hotel! 😀 I can see you already…jumping up and down, up and down in the pool….and perhaps Barry is jumping up and down with you or maybe he’s relaxing in the hot tub, trying to find relief for his painful knee. I’ll be saying prayers for him tomorrow.
    lol…I did it again…wrote too much…silly me.
    hugs and love to you Kathy ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for your prayers for Barry’s surgery, Brenda. Did I tell you I wanted to be a psychologist, too? And almost went back to college for it at one time…but no. You are right that there is a lot of heartbreak in that field. I am glad that your heart wanted you to be a wife and mom…and that you followed that path. (You didn’t write too much. But I am wondering why a journal-writer doesn’t have her own blog? That might nudge you toward your writing dream.)

  8. Susan Derozier says:

    First I want to wish Barry a successful surgery and a speedy recovery! Next, I must confess I never wanted to be a synchronized swimmer (I would have had to learn to swim). However, I was fortunate to have two roommates in college who were. I handed out brochures at their shows and wonder if that counts? Seriously, I was mesmerized and impressed with their beautiful programs and have always been fascinated with anything to do with water. (the Pisces in me)
    My dream was to be a concert pianist (which never happened either) since I was around five years old. However, the universe has given me a granddaughter who is on her way to becoming a professional cellist. Close enough. She has already given her first professional concert at the age of 18 for the Sarasota Arts Series.
    I say, go for the pool at the hotel and jump up and down all you like. If anyone sees you, they may just be inspired to join you! Cheers for Barry!!! and Happy Thanksgiving to you both!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, that counts! You were closer to being a synchronized swimmer than I was by handing out those brochures. **grin** I have bene fascinated with water, too. How cool that you had a dream to be a concert pianist and then your granddaughter is becoming of professional cellist. Way cool!! Thanks for that pool-jumping confidence. 🙂

  9. I not only wanted to be a synchronized swimmer, I got to live out this fantasy! In 7th and 8th grade, my school had a synchronized swimming program and I got to participate! There was more to it than I had anticipated – for one, it required real breath control to remain underwater for the length some “stunts” required. Practices also included diving gracefully as close to the side of the pool as possible, diving into the deep end and retrieving increasingly heavy weights, etc. We practiced being graceful both in and out of the water, with many moves much like ballet. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Thanks for helping me relive those memories!

    • Kathy says:

      OK, Jennifer, I am envious! How wonderful! I never thought about the practical aspects, like breath control and heavy weights. It is delightful that you remember it with love. Glad to bring those memories back to your Thanksgiving week. And thanks for visiting my blog.

  10. Dawn says:

    Good luck to Barry with the surgery tomorrow…may this make the bad knee disappear into a distant memory…even if the outcome probably isn’t that HE becomes a synchronized swimmer..but wait…that was YOUR dream!

    No I never wanted to be a synchronized swimmer. Don’t really like putting my head under water and you really have to do that, don’t you? Did want to be a painter and a writer and a musician and a truck driver (fancy that one) all having something to do with what I thought was freedom. Now days I write a little, paint a little, play a little and love to drive cross country still…so I guess I’m lucky!

    • Kathy says:

      Ha, Dawn, I KNOW Barry never dreamed of being a synchronized swimmer. (Must ask him later what he wanted to be, thank you.) Thinking of you wanting to be a painter especially. I’ve always admired painters, having never graduated past paint-by-number.

  11. melinda says:

    Kathy, I am a synchronized swimmer of the invisible pools and lakes… like YOU!

  12. Colleen says:

    Kathy, if I didn’t before, I do now. A sense of us all, gliding together in perfect synchronized harmony. Smiling at the thought of this. It’s enough to make me forget I don’t know how to swim…….

    I dreamed of many things when I was young. Most of them involved seeing the world in one way or another. Loved reading the memoirs of early “lady adventurers”.

    Thinking of you and Barry. May you have good dreams tonight, healing dreams. Blog dreams 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      You don’t know how to swim, Colleen? Do you ever dream of learning to swim? Could this be 2012’s resolution? **smile** Traveling the world was one of my dreams, too, and, hey, it looks like it has kinda happened. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you travel? Just wonderin’…Happy Thanksgiving, Colleen!

  13. Karma says:

    I think I come close to your childhood dream – I wanted to be a whale-trainer at Sea World after my first visit there! Wanted so badly to swim in the big pool with Shamu and the dolphins.
    I’m guessing both #2 and #3 are your reasons for this blog! 🙂

  14. Me, I wanted to be an astonaut…. and then somehow ended up at a flower shop as a florist instead. I never was a good swimmer, but I looove the beach!
    And I think you’re right, I think you DID mention synchronized swimming before.

    • Kathy says:

      Michaela, excellent. I am glad you agree about mentioning sychronized swimming before. Swear it happened. I appreciate another’s memory snippet in this arena. I am thinking of you as an astronaut. Wondering if the floating feeling of being in space is similar to jumping in a pool. You think?

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