Gamboa News

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"From Sandbags to a Pool"

chronicled by
Don Connor, Jim Shobe, Jake Baker,
Bob Connor, Jim Shobe, Jessee Crawford,
Bev Crawford, Jim "Mark" Driscoll, Butch Hope,

Don Connor
I enjoyed your piece on Gold Elementary and got a kick out of the air raid shelter part. I remembered one day we were headed out to the playground and passing by the sandbag shelter and some kid in our group said he was going to blow down the shelter and proceeded to take in a big breath and blow... and at that point the whole side of the shelter fell in. He was one scared kid, I wish I could remember who it was but I can't. I also remember the shelter of sandbags being replaced with 55 gal. drums filled with sand stacked on top of each other when the shelter was rebuilt soon after.

Jim Shobe
Lou Don Conner is RIGHT the boy was Bill Hidalgo and the air raid sand bags were under construction. Believe it or not he was reported to Miss Starr and was punished for it. In regards to the swimming pool at Hidalgos I don`t believe there was one.

Don Conner
Ref. Swimming Pool at Hidalgos. I also remember a small pool up on the hill at the Hidalgo. I don't remember swimming in it but I know it was there.

Jake Baker
Bill Hidalgo, did indeed have a swimming pool. Bill and I were close friends in those days and I practically lived at his house, enjoying that pool frequently. Bill always had a bunch of us kids up there and his parents were the greatest, putting up with all the noise we made in that pool and even feeding us. The view from the Gamboa Signal station was fantastic. We could see the Canal, Gamboa bridge, some of Gamboa, the Chagres River, the CZ penitentiary etc. I don't believe Bill is on the Internet. He would have lots more to add about those times. Maybe Wilma, Bill's sister goes on line. I'll check.

Bob Connor
I remember their was a pool at Hidagols because I swam in it and remember that is was real cloudy and hard to see the walls. It was up by his house on the hill just as you came across the bridge across the Chagres River. The One we rode our bikes across with a car behind us peddling our _ _ _ _ _ off so we wouldn't get run over.

Jim Shobe
I just heard from Jane Hearn who has again validated the existence of a swimming pool at the Hidalgos. She told me her sister Diane was baptized by pastor of Gamboa Union Church there, so I stand corrected.

Jessee Crawford
As was my sister Beverly Crawford and Butch Hope and I think Diane Hearn, Judy's older sister.

Bev Crawford
Regarding Hidalgos pool. I was also baptized on the same day as Judy Hearn. There were 4 of us. Winters (Butch) Hope, Alison Hope, Judy Hearn and Myself. I believe the Reverend was named "Gray".

Mark Driscoll
I too remember Hidalgo's pool and the good times there. His Dad once told me he had buried one of Bill's spare motor cycle engines in the back yard- apparently he didn't have room to store it. Also down the hill from the signal station were the biggest perch anywhere - I think it was Jake Baker who showed me that fishing hole (next to where the raw sewage pipe that empted into the Canal. The fish we took home were usually caught off the bridge.

Jessee Crawford
I think my sister may have some pictures of her being baptize...Although I did earn the God and Country award in scouting...I think it took about a year an 1/2 to complete all the requirements...We left Gamboa before the awards ceremony...they sent me the lapel pin, medal, and badge...All I have today is the paper work.

Butch Hope
I will confirm what Bev said about the pool. And Bev, it was Rev. Gray from Gamboa Union Church.

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