This morning I went out to get Ventura started on cleaning the pool. We use the water to water the back lawn and trees in the back. The old weeping willow tree was bright green with the new leaves already covering it's weeping branches. I walked around the pool to the south side and there I looked at the handprints of the kids imprinted in the cement. Each one had imprinted both hands well into the cement and had written each their name and the date 32 years ago in 1970. Tracy had proudly put his age at 14 years old. My memory turned back the years and I could see them again as they each put their hand prints to become history in durable cement.

I could see Jenene, a beautiful blue eyed girl of 16 with blonde curling hair and a ready smile. She was full of fun and could out do most of the boys in a lot of things. Tracy a young man of 14 with dark hair and dancing blue eyes and an engaging smile that said he was ready to take on the world. Karl a little guy of twelve years, new in the Deacons Quorum and new in Scouting and anxious to leave the mark of his hands in the cement and in his trail along the way so that he would not pass unnoticed in life. Claudia a pretty little girl of 7 years with a ready laugh and a big smile but a quick temper when she was teased by her brothers. Anthony just four years old was unconcerned with leaving his hands in with his brothers and sisters. But he was the one that got the most use out of the pool during all of his growing up years here at home. I mention only these five of our children here because only their hands are imprinted in the cement. The older four, Kiko, Mary, Susie and Sam had grown up by then and were not at home at that time.

I remember that spring when our kids didn't have any place to swim we decided to build a pool. Because of our limited finances and our do it yourself attitude, we went to work with what we could afford. I bought 8 sheets of sheet iron 1/8 in. thick, 5ft. wide and 10 feet long. On each end of each sheet we bored matching holes about 2 inches apart. I did this by hand with a little hand drill. The bit had to be sharpened many times to complete all of those holes. I went up to Casas Grandes to Raul Armendariz's tire re-treading shop to see if I could buy some raw rubber strips to put between the ends of the sheets to make a tight joint.

I explained what I needed and what I needed it for and he showed me some raw rubber strips that had been ruined, for putting on retreads, in shipping because of the heat. They were about 3 inches wide and about 3/8 of and inch thick and would be perfect for our purposes in between the sheets of iron. I asked him how much they would cost and he replied that that rubber would be his contribution to our pool.

We bought the bolts we would need and came home and began to bolt the sheets together with the raw rubber making a perfect seal. We would stand each sheet up and match up the holes, with the next sheet, put in the rubber and run the drill through the rubber and the two holes then put in the bolt and put on the nut. After all of the bolts were in we would tighten each nut a little in turn until the joint and seal was tight and solid. When all were bolted together we had a steel ring about 20 feet in diameter and 5 ft. high.

We put in a drain pipe and set our steel ring a little higher than the drain. We carefully leveled it up and poured a cement floor setting the ring in cement inside and out all of the way around. We slanted the floor of the pool so all of the water would drain out of our drain pipe. In the deepest part it was a little over 5ft. deep when the pool was full of water. The next day we poured a walk way all around the pool to add strength and support to the steel ring. All of our helpers came to put their hand prints in the cement of this walk way. We are so glad that they did this to mark that day.

We then bolted a ring of 1 1/2 inch Angle Iron ring around the top of the steel ring giving us a flat surface of iron on the top instead of a sharp steel edge. This also gave the steel ring more strength and rigidity.

We then installed a two inch plastic pipe underground from the pump to the pool and filled our new pool with cold clear well water from the pump. It took two days and two nights to fill the pool with our little electric 1" pump.  After that the pool was used to the fullest by all of the family and the neighborhood kids.

After the first swim the kids feet were rubbed almost raw from the rough cement bottom of the pool. We had to do something to remedy that. I went up and bought three paper barrels of Tar. We heated the Tar in a drum over an open fire and tarred the floor of the pool with a smooth. shiny layer of black Tar. Under the water the Tar became a hard, smooth, even slippery surface that was pleasing to our feet. Each spring we would re-Tar the pool for it to last through the summer.

It became a ritual each week to drain the pool and water the lawn and the trees but mainly to scrub the pool and refill it with fresh clean water. How we enjoyed our pool without any chemicals to burn your skin and sting your eyes.

That pool was used for parties for school classes, primary classes, scout groups and all the neighbors who wanted to swim. Even now many people tell us that they learned to swim in our backyard pool. The tiny tots learned to swim with floaters on their arms. The bigger kids learned to dive and turn summersaults into the pool. We played games of tag and keep away with a plastic ball. In 32 years that pool has seen a lot of family fun and has served it's purpose well.

When our children plan on coming home in the summer with their families the first question is, "will the pool be ready for the kids to swim in". We still enjoy using our pool to exercise in and elude the  summer heat. Last year we could not refill the pool, after the first couple of times, because the water level had dropped drastically in our well and when we would start to fill the pool the pump would start to pump air in spurts warning us that we had better not fill the pool but use the water, that was available. for the house and garden use. We hope to be able to fill the pool this year at least a few times and use it for our morning exercise and refreshing swim to help us through the heat of the day.

As my brother Donn began to make many beautiful pools here in Dublan, Casas Grandes and Colonia Juarez. He sometimes suggested that we replace our pool with a good big one complete with chemicals and filters and all of the modern technology. I don't really know which was the strongest motive of refusal. Was it the value of the memories, or was it the cold clean water of our pool without chemicals or was it the cost of putting in a new fancy pool? Looking back I believe it was a combination of all of these that made us hang on to our little old pool and enjoy it through the years.

I write this to preserve the memory of the labor of our hands and the memory of our family working together to accomplish our project. Someday our old pool will be torn up and discarded but this memory will remain.