My father was a forest ranger, and my brothers and I were raised at the Baker Ranger Station near Monticello, Utah. It was a kid’s paradise. The ranger station was comprised of a section of land that encompassed 240 acres. On the property was our house, two kid’s tree houses (which we built), a warehouse where the trucks were repaired and horses were shod, a gas house, a barn, my dad’s office, and a bunk house where guests would stay.

On one far end of the 240 acres was an old abandoned CCC camp — a Civilian Conservation Corps building that had been built in the 1930’s during the Depression to house men who worked with on CCC projects. At the CCC camp were several abandoned buildings with enough stuff to keep kids busy going through it for years.

I was nine and Jared, my brother, was seven. We played together and a lot of our time was spent exploring different buildings at the ranger station. One day while we were up playing in the CCC camp, we found a pile of canvas. Pretty much anything at the abandoned CCC camp was game for us to play with or to build with.

Monticello was a very small community and we did not have a swimming pool. To have a swimming pool had always been our dream. Now this was before plastic, so it was not possible to go to the Sears and Roebuck catalog and order a pool.

I looked at the big pile of canvas and said to Jared, “I wonder if we could talk mother into sewing a swimming pool with all of this canvas?” We got so excited we jumped on our bikes and rode back to the house. Our first job was to get dad to say it was okay for us to use the canvas, and then to see if we could talk my mother into it.

We were both very good at parent persuasion with all of our enthusiasm and excitement for the project. Dad said we could use the canvas. The more challenging job was to talk my mother into helping us transform the canvas into a swimming pool. We assured her that we would do anything she would ask us to do, to help move the project along.

After much persuasion, she agreed to try. First was creating a pattern, then cutting the canvas, and the most difficult was sewing it on her old Singer sewing machine. What we did not plan on, were the dozen needles that broke as she forced them through the canvas.

Many days later, and endless stitches in the canvas, the pool began to take shape. Jared and I had to go back to the CCC Camp to find old pipe to put through the casing to hold the pool up. We would tie the pipe to the back of our bikes with a rope, and then drag the pipe about the distance of three blocks to our backyard.

The last event before we could put water into the pool was to paint the canvas with hot wax to waterproof it. We decided blue was the color we wanted the pool to be, so we got most of our blue crayons, and melted them into the wax so the pool would be blue.

I knew it turned into a much bigger project than my mother had planned. We filled the pool with water and let it warm in the sun for a few days. Then the fun began! Kids from all over town came to see our new creation. Jared and I could not have been more proud.

We swam in the pool for a couple of weeks before we had the idea of hooking a rope onto a tree above the pool so we could swing and drop in the pool like Tarzan would have done.

Then one day a kid dropped into the pool, and slid right through the seam on the end of the pool. As the water ran out, so did our dreams. Yes, we were very sad, but we never forgot the pool that mother made.