My Little Mermaid

Venus-Oct 2022-Swimming Lessons

Venus turned two-years old on September 22nd. She has grown into a beautiful little girl who is the light and love of my life.

Living only a block from the ocean in Flagler Beach, and having a pool here at the house, I decided it was time to get Venus swimming lessons. After initially being terrified of both ocean and pool, she has fully embraced both – which made getting her lessons more urgent.

I scouted around and decided on Aqua Journeys Swim School in Ormond Beach. It was a wise choice. Venus’s instructor Alisha (picture at top with Venus) is a skilled and experienced teacher who patiently takes her time with Venus in their heated pool.

Watching Venus swim underwater after only a few lessons, to the side of the pool and pulling herself up for air,  was thrilling, but also brought back memories of my swimming lessons as a child.

I don’t recall my age, but I was definitely older than two. At two-years-old, I was still living with my parents and baby brother in the the Bronx. I was probably four and living in Boynton Beach, Florida (sixty miles north of Miami).

Unfortunately, my swimming lesson experience was not so pleasant.

Our mother Victoria brought my brother Michael and me to a pool in Boynton Beach for Red Cross swimming lessons.  After assuring our mother that we would have a wonderful time, the elderly female Red Cross instructor instantly picked me up and flung me into a eight-foot deep freezing pool.

I went into shock and remember opening my eyes to see a multitude of people’s legs kicking all around me as they treaded water. After what felt like an eternity, two arms reached down and my instructor pulled me to the surface, gasping for air.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” she smiled as I looked at her in confused horror. Standing only a few feet away, my brother trembled with fear as he awaited his turn.

I grew up surfing in south Florida and I’m a certified SCUBA diver, but I’m a mediocre swimmer. Part of the reason may be that our SCUBA instructor discovered that my brother and I are negatively buoyant, possibly the genetic result of being muscular full-blooded Italian. Today, I feel much more comfortable swimming below the surface than on it.

It may be a while before I tell this story to Venus.

Until we meet again,

David J Castello