Yes, I did it. I sat down, typed a thank you letter to my swimming teacher, addressed and stamped the envelope and deposited it in one of those blue boxes.
Jim was actually my second swimming teacher. I had taken one other class at another Y but I was getting nowhere fast because of thin instruction even though I liked the teachers who, for awhile, took a tag team approach until one had to leave for school.
I decided to sign up at the Carondelet Y and see what lessons were like there. The moment Jim opened his mouth, I knew that I was staying put. He asked us about our swimming experience and he was all show-and-tell. He demonstrated a move and expected us to follow suit. I had my face in the water within three minutes.
In my letter, I even thanked him for pushing me underwater once when we were exploring the deep end. I used to fear the deep in. I would practice my fresh swimming skills and stop at the line that separates the shallow end from the deep end; that line might as well have been railroad tracks in a segregated town because I had the hardest time crossing it and no one really said that one would not sink like a stone. When Jim pushed me under, it took quite a bit of effort on his part which put my mind at ease. He also reminded me about a person's unchanging buoyancy.
During my second swimming class, I sometimes felt like I was in a football game -- a running back with an escort since Jim would swim at my side once he convinced me that he had enough confidence for both of us that I could do the front crawl for 25 yards.
At times, felt like I was in swimming boot camp but I've only made it 25 yards doing the front crawl twice and Jim was escorting both times.
Since I'm in thanking mode, I want to acknowledge my friends Hazira and Lori for accompanying me to the pool, supporting me while I learned to float and giving me crucial pointers. I know it's trite to say but I could not have done "it" without them.
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