What if I'm dumb in school?
What if they've closed
the swimming pool?
What if they start a war?
What if my parents get divorced?
Shel Silverstein, 1981
In 1976, my entire 3rd-grade class went on a field trip to a YMCA swimming pool in Colorado Springs. I was so excited! It was going to be the best field trip ever. I didn’t have a swimming suit so the night before the big day my older sister Becky altered her bright blue check bikini with the hot pink flowers. I’m pretty sure that bathing suit started out as a dress before Becky and her ingenious talent with scissor got ahold of it. It was such a cute bathing suit. Unfortunately, when she cut it down to my size, the top was still too big. I was so worried that I was going to miss the big swim with my classmates and was so relieved when my mom came through the door around 8 p.m. with a brand new swimming suit she’d picked up for me at Kmart. It was similar to the bright blue one in this picture except mine was navy blue with a hot pink flower and bright green stem.
So, I was all set for the big field trip! When we arrived at the YMCA they told all the girls we had to put our hair in swim caps. I can’t recall for sure if I’d ever worn a swim cap before that day. It seems like maybe I wore one with the floral petals when I was really little and still living in Southern California. At any rate, I had a heck of a time stuffing and piling my mound of long brown hair into it. By the time I finally got it all shoved into the grayish rubber cap it was almost time to go. I was only able to swim about 10 minutes but it was a glorious 10 minutes.
Also, my mom showing up at the last minute with that bathing suit is one of my best memories ever.
Did you wear a swim cap as a kid?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!