I grew up solidly middleclass. My family had a membership to the Four Seasons Pool Club in Washington Township in Ohio. From Memorial Day until Labor Day we could walk right in and show our card. There were summers of lessons, of pool birthday parties, of hanging out with friends. The pool also had non-swimming activities like a night where they showed old movies. I still remember how big the June bugs looked amplified as they passed between the lens of the projector and the screen, and how the dust motes caught in that bright shaft of light danced and twinkled like little stars.
I’m embarrassed to admit it though, but my favorite thing was the snack bar. The different names of the novelty ice creams conjured up whole stories inside my head. There were the Rocket Pops in red, white, and blue and the orange push-ups, glorified sherbet but with a creamy goodness, also called Dreamsicles. There was the Drum Stick and I think something called a Fred Flintstone bar. The ice cream sandwich was 25¢ and the cookie part stuck to my fingers like chocolate fur. A little pricier was the Klondike bar or if on a stick I liked the kind studded with crunchy chopped peanuts. Freezie Pops were perhaps a nickel and the fudge bar was pretty cheap too—maybe a dime more.
Of course there was heartier fare such as French fries, hamburgers, and hot dogs, but I don’t recall having that much to spend. I’m sure my mother just tossed my sister and I change from the bottom of her handbag before we went out the door to ride our bikes over to the swim club. I’d stay all day, and each time the lifeguard blew the whistle for break time, I’d line up at the concession stand, reading the menu, and dreaming of what the coins burning in my hand might buy.