This is the latest addition to my 1970s photo collection. It cost me almost $10 so I hope you love it! It is an image from a 35mm slide taken in the early 1970s. The exact date and location are unavailable. The image features a motel swimming pool by the ocean, but that’s not why I bought it. I purchased it because that bubble thing on the girl’s back makes this a rare find. I had a similar Styrofoam flotation device in 1972. Mine was bright safety orange and the belt that fastened to it was navy blue. I loved my Bubble so much. I briefly mentioned it in this 2017 blog post. My Bubble gave me great freedom during our trips to Puddingstone, a manmade lake in San Dimas County, California. I could swim way into the middle of the lake by myself and never worry about drowning. I loved being out there where the water was dark and cool. I was surrounded by people and yet totally alone swimming like a little fish in the California sun. It was so awesome. I love all the old cars in this picture, too.
Looking for The Gulf Motel
My mother should still be in the kitchenette
of The Gulf Motel, her daisy sandals from Kmart
squeaking across the linoleum, still gorgeous
in her teal swimsuit and amber earrings
stirring a pot of arroz-con-pollo, adding sprinkles
of onion powder and dollops of tomato sauce.
My father should still be in a terrycloth jacket
smoking, clinking a glass of amber whiskey
in the sunset at the Gulf Motel, watching us
dive into the pool, two boys he’ll never see
grow into men who will be proud of him.
Richard Blanco, American Poet, b. 1968
Check out Ode to the Motel Pool, The Paris Review, 2018.