Summertime in Forest GroveOur Past - Growing Up Here
Back in the day, when I was a kid, the city swimming pool was where you’d find me. In my early years, my mom would take me to the little kids’ pool, but I had my eye on the big pool, both of which were outdoors. Early on, my parents realized that me taking swimming lessons would keep me safe around water. I’m forever thankful to them for doing that. I took to water like a duck.
I would stand in line at the pool building door, waiting for the pool to open at 1:00pm, and be in the water until they kicked me out at 5:00pm. I’d be back in line at 7:00pm, and swim until they kicked me out again when the pool closed for the evening. I would do this all over again the next day, and all through the summer. Boy was I fit by the end of summer! I could swim underwater across the pool and back without in a single breath. I tried lengthwise, but never made it down and back all the way.
One time, the lifeguard called me out of the pool, motioning me to come to him. He had been watching me, and asked if I wanted to join the swim team. I said thank you but no, as I was having too much fun doing what I wanted to do. In sixth grade, all the school classes would go to the city pool at different times of the day and different days of the week. Swimmers could spend their time as they pleased, and non-swimmers got lessons on how to swim. During one of these outings, the teachers decided to see who the fastest swimmer was in their class. I came in first in my class. The teachers then got together and decided to see who the fastest swimmer was in all the schools, including high school. Again, I came in first. When I turned 16, the city pool was no longer calling me; instead, the Wilson River was the place to be. Having spent many years fishing on the Wilson River with my dad, I knew of some really nice places along the river. One special place had a sandy beach to relax on with a tributary next to the beach to keep refreshments cold. Across the river there was a large rock to climb up on and jump off of into the swimming hole.
There was also a rope to swing off the rock into the water. When Cheryl and I were dating, we’d head out to this spot with a load of steamer clams, and cook them up on the little beach, spending the day together. At other times diving for crawdads with my buddies was a great sport. Under water, no one can hear you yelp when one pinches you. As you all know, boys will be boys, and one of the boyish things we’d do on the way over to the river required a manual transmission. At the summit, whoever was driving would put the transmission in neutral, and we’d see how far we could coast towards Tillamook. We also tried doing this on the way home, but the coasting wasn’t near as far coming down the east side.
One of my buddies put his parent’s car in third gear, and came down the slope for a ways on compression with the ignition switched off. When he turned the ignition on, the accumulated gas fumes blew out the exhaust system. I don’t remember what happened to him when he got home, but that was a good lesson learned. All in all, I treasure these memories of summer days in Forest Grove – what a great place to grow up! Summertime in Forest Grove
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About Don Skinner
Don Skinner is a lifelong resident of Forest Grove. He is the OTS Manager. Don was born at Jones Hospital (now Tuality) and was raised in Forest Grove. After graduation (class of 1968) he enlisted in the Army and served in Vietnam. Don married his high school sweetheart, Cheryl Selfridge class of 1970. Don owns a 1967 Mercury Cougar GT and has been a member of the Cascade Cougar Club for over 25 years. During this time he served on the Board of Directors for 8 years and was also Editor and Membership Director for over 8 years. During that time Don brought that newsletter from cut & paste (literally) into the electronic cut and paste. Fascinated with the early Cougars (Mercury) Don started researching the design and marketing, along with all the models and options that were available. After retiring from Editor, he started writing The BIG BOOK of Cougar which has become an international best seller among Cougar enthusiasts. After retiring from Tektronix Don was doing some research for his class reunion and found FHFG. He was immediately taken with the Old Train Station and told Cheryl “you need to come see this place”. Though very little was being displayed and things were in disarray, Don saw a diamond in the rough. Together Don and Cheryl started in on tidying the place up and putting things on display. The then President asked Don to be the Station Master and he said no, but he would be the station manager.