Gamboa News

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Going Down the Drain?

chronicled by
Andy Van Siclen

Skip Rowley's memories of the super scary drain pipe at the deep end of the Washington pool are not unfounded. It bought back memories of something the happened to my Dad when he was growing up in Bal. My Grandparents lived on Averill Street close to the Bal pool.

As the tale goes my Dad and Some of his pals used to sneak into the pool at night and play in the pool while it was being drained for cleaning. One of the fun things they did was to dive into the deep end and see who could come closest to the un-covered drain without getting sucked in. Remember, this is all being done at night so sight was very limited. In fact it was being done mostly by feel. Anyway my Dad miss-calculated and got sucked down into the pipe. When he was missed the other kids thought he had just gone on home. It was not till the next morning he was missed and a search was started. Somehow Dad did not drown and when he came to he knew he was in the pipe, but not exactly where. His swim trunks had been torn off along with most of the flesh on both hips. The searchers knew from talking with Dad's friends about the night before and so they started taking off all the man hole/sewer pipe covers and someone finally heard him crying out. He spent about a month in Gorgas and bore the terrible scars on his hips the rest of his life.

Also, for what it's worth, my Dad was in Henry Grieser's original red white and blue troupe. I have a picture of that group and if I can ever figure out how to use the scanner I will forward it to you. The red white and blue troop just happened to be in New York when Tex Rickard opened Madison Square Garden. Tex invited the troupe to put on a swimming exhibition when the pool was opened.


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