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The Y was my ‘Christmas break’ escape

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 12:10 p.m. CST

I label my childhood in two stages: the country and city years.

Monday, I talked about one of my fondest “Christmas break” memories from my country years. Today, I thought I’d talk about one of my fondest break stories from the city years.

We moved into town when I was 12 years old. And, by then, I had earned a level of trust with my parents that I could ride my bike or walk myself to and from various locations within the city limits.

During Christmas break, though, there really was only one location you needed to look to find me: the YMCA.

The morning started bright and early in the gym, shooting baskets. After a couple hours of that, I would take a break in the lounge. Usually, by then, a couple other kids would be there, which provided the opportunity to play some ping-pong, or to hustle some poor sap into paying for several games of pool in a row.

It usually took only two or three games for most kids to figure out they weren’t going to win. But, sometimes, there were a few who were too stubborn to admit they were getting schooled.

It took about 15 minutes to get from the Y to my house, so my morning ended around 11:45, which gave me just enough time to get home for lunch. I usually returned by 1 p.m., unless I really wolfed down my PBJs and didn’t have to ice skate back.

The afternoon always started with a second round of hoops-shooting. By the time lunch was sufficiently digested — around 2:30 p.m. — I was getting ready to hop in the pool for open swimming.

By 4:45, I was ready to make the mad dash home for supper. I always went home tired and hungry. But those days made going back to school that much more difficult. I hope today’s Newton kids had just as much fun during their Christmas.

If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading this in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.

Bob Eschliman is editor of the Daily News. He may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at beschliman@newtondailynews.com via email.