The Norwich YMCA is closing. It’s a great loss to the Norwich community.
But I come not to grieve for the town, I come to grieve for me. For the past 20 years or so, unless I’ve been in court, I have made my way at lunchtime to the Y’s excellent swimming pool to log another mile. I would venture to say that I’ve swum more laps in that pool than anyone else. Before it opened, I would get up early in the morning to swim at what was then the Mystic Community Center, sharing a lane with as many as three other swimmers at 6:00 o’clock in the morning. At the Norwich Y I could swim at high noon; always with my own lane, often alone in the pool. Not only that, but when other people were in the pool, I was almost always far faster than them, a real shot in the ego for someone who nearly always came in dead last during a less than lackluster competitive career.
Of course the fact that the pool was so often near empty was emblematic of the problems that led to the closure. I was always mystified about the fact that so few of the folks who worked in downtown Norwich took advantage of the facilities at the Y. Come April 30th I’ll have to find some alternative to my daily swim. If I was a little older I could just throw in the towel and retire completely but that’s not a viable option at the moment, as indeed, given the state of my 401(k) it may never be.
I have quite speedily skipped the first three stages of grief, zooming right through to depression. There I’ve been stuck, at least since this morning when I first heard the news. Acceptance will come, I am sure, but right now I’m singing the blues.