Sunday, February 24, 2008

Learning to swim

My grandmother was an extraordinary woman. I'm unfortunate in not knowing her entire life story. But just thinking about what little I know about her makes me feel down right lazy with what I've done with my life. She use to be a stewardess, back when it was glamorous and you had to a pretty female to take the job. After traveling the world, she went back to school. I don't know what she studied, aside from how to drive her student advisor crazy, but she studied enough to eventually become a professor at a college in West Virginia, where she met my grandfather (who, as it happens, also was a professor at the same college). After becoming close hunting buddies, the two fell in love and got married. A second marriage for them both. She's the foremost expert on everything Japanese as far as I have ever been concerned. After my grandfather died, she spends her time gardening her prize winning bonsai trees, skiing and recently snowboarding.

But what I will always remember her as being my swim teacher. I didn't learn how to swim until I was 10. Back when I was about four years old, my mother enrolled my brother and me in swim lessons. My brother took to it naturally. I however refused to get my face wet and was sent to the remedial class, where I remained the entire summer. My theory went: "I breathe through my nose and mouth. I do not breathe water. Why would I want to surround my nose and mouth with a substance I can not breathe?" After that fateful summer, no one ever tried to teach me how to swim until my grandmother took me under her wing, six years later. And have I mentioned that she was an Olympian class swimmer? One summer with her turned me from remedial swimmer to Captain of my swim team. Thanks Grandma!

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