Story 4 Diving Boards
The bend in the creek made a great swimming hole. Kids being kids, we were not satisfied with jumping off the bank. Therefore, we spent hours building diving boards of various sizes and shapes. The engineering of these magnificent boards was something to see.
One of the benefits of Dad working in a sawmill was that he brought home scraps and pieces of lumber. He supplied us with old lumber for our projects. One day he even gave us a plank.
Our cousins from Kalispell were visiting. They spent a lot of time at our house in the summer. Jeanie, Bernie and Lyle were a shade older and very sophisticated. They were town kids. Bernie and Lyle lugged the plank the half mile to the creek. We built up the bank with the clay, making it as high as we dared and plenty wide enough to hold the plank. We placed it just prefect with one end sticking out over the water. We piled lots of rocks and boulders on the bank end to hold it in place. After many hours and much labor our supreme board was completed.
Norma was the only one whoever got to make a dive off the boards we made. She was the biggest, and it fell to her to be the test diver. If the board held up for her, then anyone of us could use it in relative safety. We watched from the bank as diving board after diving board fell into the water with great splashes of water when Norma jumped off.
This board was no different.
“We should get to go first,” said Bernie and Lyle. “We lugged the plank to the creek.”
Norma gave them the evil eye.
“All right,” said Bernie, “we’ll watch for weak spots in the rocks.
Norma took her time. She inched her way out onto the board. She jiggled it up and down.
“Any weak spots,” she asked.
“Naw,” answered Bernie.
Norma sprang in the air. Her feet came down on the board for a mighty lift off. It buckled, sending rocks and boulders high. Norma hit the water with a belly flop that shook the earth and sent a spray of water arcing over us. Her scream is what I remember. Never heard one like it again. I wondered how she avoided getting killed and going to heaven.
Memoir is available for all to read on mariefmartin.com