The Legion pool

David Epps's picture

When I was a kid, I spent a good part of my summers at the Legion Pool in Kingsport, Tenn. Two or three miles from where I lived, I could get on the city bus that stopped just a few yards from my house and be dropped off at the pool. The pool was large and could accommodate a great many people, although the primary customers were children and youth.

The “shallow” end of the pool ranged in depth from about three feet to six feet while the “deep end,” which had a low diving board and a high diving board, went about 10 feet deep. There was also a kiddie pool for the little tykes and their moms. The pool was almost always crowded from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
I learned to swim there and I took my first leaps, dives, and flips off the boards. My cousin Danny Flynn, four years older than me, was the undisputed “splash king” of the Legion Pool. Can openers, cannon balls, preacher’s seats, and more were standard fare as Danny and others sent the water as high as 15-20 feet in the air. As I got older, I did pretty well myself in the splash department. It was a place to have fun, to meet friends, and grow up.

It wasn’t all fun, all the time, however. There were a few instances when two or three of the local tough guys would rough me up and steal my bus fare. When I was younger, I either relented or hid from them, since they were always older and traveled in packs. As I grew older, I stopped giving in and cowering and kept my money.
I was 19 and home from the Marine Corps when my brother, then 11 years old, got bullied and hurt by a 17-year-old tough guy. I drove to the Legion and found him. My brother was never bullied there again. Hopefully, the rest of his memories are joyful.

As I became a high school student, the Legion Pool became even more important during the summers. It was, not only a place to meet friends, but a place to meet girls. Often, after football practice, or between practices on the dreaded two-a-day practice times, I would join some of my teammates at the pool since it was within walking distance of Dobyns-Bennett High School’s locker rooms.
The local state park had a great pool but, if one didn’t have a car, it was inaccessible. The Legion was accessible, affordable, and immensely enjoyable.
I discovered a few days ago that the Legion Pool is being demolished and the area turned into a grassy field. I suppose there are reasons for the action but I don’t know for certain what they are.

Some say that the pool had become a place where mostly poor kids came to swim. Some have speculated that, since the middle class kids no longer visited the pool, and, that since the upper class kids had pools at home, tax dollars from the middle and upper class should no longer be used to subsidize the pool.
The truth is that, when I was in elementary school, I would have qualified as a poor kid — or at least as a lower working class kid. The Legion Pool was a refuge for me and a place that provided wonderful memories that I would not otherwise have had.

I don’t know who will use the planned grassy field. It’s hard to imagine that the poor kids will remember the grassy field as a place of growth and joy.
For the decades that it was around, the Legion Pool brought happiness and made memories for tens of thousands of young people. Now, the Legion Pool itself is only a memory.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U.S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.]

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Online
Joined: 04/23/2007
Pastor Epps - Memories

Memories of our youth are always tinged with longings to return there but alas we will never return to those cherished times with our friends.

Did you ever notice those looking through the fence on those hot summer days? Just wondering.

AtHomeGym
AtHomeGym's picture
Online
Joined: 01/18/2007
PTC-O,Epps, & Pool

For those really interested, you could have read the Kingsport newspaper and discovered that the pool closed at the end of the 2012 season, for budgetary reasons, projections of low usage after opening of the new Aquatic Center and at the recommendation of the City Parks & Recreation Commission. Guess that's not as exciting as another racial issue, huh?

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Online
Joined: 04/23/2007
AHG - The pool

Hmmmm.....just guessing, but I guess you weren't around the South in the 1960's?

AtHomeGym
AtHomeGym's picture
Online
Joined: 01/18/2007
PTC & the 60s

Born in Eastern NC, worked in the fields with everyone else;left in 1959. if I understand what I read, that pool didn't open until 1975--and no, I wasn't around then--I was in Germany until 1977, then came to Georgia.

AtHomeGym
AtHomeGym's picture
Online
Joined: 01/18/2007
PTC & the 60s

Born in Eastern NC, worked in the fields with everyone else;left in 1959. if I understand what I read, that pool didn't open until 1975--and no, I wasn't around then--I was in Germany until 1977, then came to Georgia.

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Online
Joined: 04/23/2007
AHG - Got it

1975, yes I remember it well, totally integrated in the South by then. Of course, I didn't live in Tennessee in 1975 and Pastor Epps could have been swimming with all his black friends that were welcome with open arms into that Legion pool.

After all AHG, my point was posed as a question, not a declaration. The story Pastor Epps told was one of memories of his childhood. There are those that had different memories or at the very least were more sensitive to the environment surrounding them. It's not an indictment of good memories, just a point on the way things were, way back in those good ole days.

After all it was the law that separated us then and it's the law that separates us now. Individual freedom comes in all colors, it does not discriminate, individuals can and do, that's why social democratic government is so dangerous to our freedom, but I digress from my original point.

Nice to know you're from the South though.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/30/2005
AHG

There is always two or more views to a situation. Unfortunately, we are finding that some budgetary moves have just a tinge of 'racism'' involved. It is wonderful that more citizens are/were using the new Aquatic Center - and the move may have been a sound financial move with no intent of excluding some citizens. To those citizens who experienced 'looking through the fence' on hot days - PTC-O's statement hit home. The closing of nighttime basketball courts, etc., etc., etc. created a haven for those who recruited for 'gangs' - and not just black/hispanic/Asian gangs: The Skinheads are a 'gang'. (Most from poor communities)

Someone correctly pointed out to me - that there are many in Fayette County who do not care to associate themselves with those who hold racist attitudes - and those who do on this site are in the minority. My personal experience over the past 10 years certainly supports this view. I think publications like The Fayette Woman gives a more accurate view of Fayette County. Since I have been here, The Citizen has been giving a more balanced view - and the support that they are getting from businesses in the area is evident in their advertising. No one wants a 'boycott' of any business in Fayette County by our wonderful citizens. And after living here for ten years, there is certainly no need for that today. The preferred color for business is GREEN!

Fred Garvin
Fred Garvin's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/18/2010
David's mom ('Alice Sharpton')
Davids mom wrote:

Unfortunately, we are finding that some budgetary moves have just a tinge of 'racism'' involved.

No evidence, just more meaningless accusations coming from the villiage idiot who finds racism in a bowl of Fruit Loops.

Speaking of your half-brother Al, did the local democrats vet Presburg through the 'reverend' before annointing him for the dysfunctional district 5 BOE? Surely you remember that your half-brother Al doesn't like white interlopers taking a position earmarked for a black person. Wasn't the whole purpose of the bogus lawsuit to elect a black person to the BOE? Alice, you better check with your half-brother Al before things get out of hand like they did back in 1995 when the 'reverend' incited a massacre at Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem.

Al Sharpton wrote:

"I want to make it clear to the radio audience and to you here that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business on 125th Street.

Ironically, Al was the interloper. He was living in Hollis Queens at around the time Freddy's opened in Harlem and living in New Jersey when Freddy's was burned down. Ol' Al finds racism anywhere he can find it and then incites a riot that results in the deaths of innocents.

Al Sharpton’s Followers: “Burn down the Jew store!”

Sharpton stood by and nodded in agreement as speakers and the crowd shouted: “Burn down the Jew store!” “We’re going to see that this cracker suffers.

A protester shot four employees and set fire to Freddy’s. It burnt to the ground and seven employees–all of them minorities–died.

Better run this Presburg fella by your half-brother Al and get the stamp of approval from him, DM. (Alice) You wouldn't want your half-brother coming down here and stirrring things up.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/30/2005
FRed Garvin

Keep showing what a non-racist you are. . . it would be entertaining if it wasn't so sad and reminiscent of the '50's.
Without your and other input (such as the head of the Clippers) - this conversation would be old school. Do you even live in Fayette County? You sure appear to know a lot about Al Sharpton - which can be found by anyone using Google. Unfortunately, racism is still the 'not- so-hidden' elephant in the middle of the room in American life. Until more people can act like the majority of the persons in Fayette County - and respect individuals for what they offer rather than judge a person by the color of their skin, David's Mom and others will be exposing the sickness that exists is the likes of you Mr. Fred Garvin.

Fred Garvin
Fred Garvin's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/18/2010
Alice

LOL Alice - You are such a typical liberal, lying hypocrite. You support the hateful, despicable, racist NAACP who want to create a district based on the color of skin, then try to lecture others on judging people by what they offer. You are so full of bull-crap!

Tell us, Alice, which budgetary moves have just a tinge of 'racism' involved? Be specific.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/30/2005
Interesting Garvin intellect

I am fully aware of the dislike of the NAACP in this region. The NAACP has stated publicly that in the Fayette County BOE election, it is supporting Mr. Presberg as the candidate to represent their concerns. This is in compliance with the VRA. Mr. Presberg is not 'black'. You, Mr. Garvin , have a right to vote against Mr. Presberg if you live in District 5. If not, his election will depend on the will of the voters in District 5. Thank you for validating the need for District voting in Fayette County. Until those with your attitude are gone, we will continue to expose your antiquated views. You do not represent the majority of the citizens in Fayette County.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/30/2005
Provacative question PTCO

Now that it is illegal to keep 'them' (those that society considers 'poor') out of the pool - let's close it. Wow.

Fred Garvin
Fred Garvin's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/18/2010
Wow

That's quite a stretch, even for a race-baiter like you, DM. Are we to believe that a pool was closed only to keep blacks out of it?
Oh Lord, how did all of those white kids keep from comitting crimes without a swimming pool to go to?

brewster
brewster's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/14/2011
Jesse don't like that adjective

Thanks for exposing the right stick to use when things start getting too civil around here.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/30/2005
Fred Garvin

The Donald Sterling of Fayette County!! Congratulations. It is important that this type of ignorance be exposed for what it is. Insecure persons - black/white/male/female expressing their racist thoughts to insure that they are viewed (within their own minds) as superior. Actions towards fellow humans and not skin color denotes the content of ones heart. The 'plantation attitude' of some persons is finally being exposed, Money/donations to communities cannot erase ignorance of the heart. The younger generation is sick of this - and there is hope that it is fading in America. There are poor white kids who are in jail, committing crimes, destroying neighborhoods/communities. A criminal is a criminal.

Some 'whites' have quite a record for being partially successful at 'crime' ;The Mafia/Watergate; etc.
Our 'war' should be on criminals/non-productive citizens - not 'blacks'/whites/hispanics/Asians . We are a multi-racial country/ a multi-racial county. The citizens of Fayette County are hard working individuals who IMO respect their neighbor and expect their neighbor to respect them.

Bye Freddie!

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Online
Joined: 04/23/2007
My guess DM

is there are other newer and better venues.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/30/2005
In some cities

true. Unfortunately, in too many cities - this is not true. Sad. - With the withdrawal of positive activities for youth in many neighborhoods - gangs grew. Idleness is not a good builder of character. . . . but I hope you're right about Rev. Epps neighborhood.

Recent Comments