SI Vault
 
The Playing Fields of Eden
Jerome Weidman
August 11, 1958
The best-selling author of 'The Enemy camp' turns his pen on the joys of country living, with some startling results
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
August 11, 1958

The Playing Fields Of Eden

The best-selling author of 'The Enemy camp' turns his pen on the joys of country living, with some startling results

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

There are people in our town who say Mrs. Harris could have been tougher about it, but these are all people, I have noticed, who do not own swimming pools. Mrs. Harris is, after all, a woman, which means she must have someone to talk to. The owner of a pool in Suburbia who won't invite the local children in for a swim on a hot summer day—when everybody who doesn't already know can learn it soon enough, merely by driving past the house, that the pool is never used until Dr. Harris comes home from the city late in the afternoon—will soon have less people to talk to than Edmond Dantès had when he was holed up in the Château d'If. And ordering a score of happily cavorting children out of a pool in order to make room for A Grown Man is an exercise in toughness before which even Sergeant Quirt would have quailed.

The Harrises handled it rather well. First, there was a series of phone calls by Mrs. Harris to her neighbors, explaining that the pool couldn't be used for a few days because a mysterious fungus had begun to appear on the cement sides and it was being drained to locate the source of this possibly dangerous growth. After the pool was drained, there was another series of phone calls explaining that the workmen had discovered a number of puzzling cracks in the bottom, which seemed to indicate, although Mrs. Harris hoped they were wrong, that the land was being eroded rapidly by an underground stream which made the pool a potential death trap to all users. The third series of phone calls conveyed the dismal news that Mrs. Harris' hopes were in vain: the ground was indeed being undermined, and the pool would have to be filled in.

It was, and Dr. Harris is now taking his dips at the beach. But it can't be long before he returns to the city as well: nobody wants to come right out and say the Harrises filled in their pool because they are a couple of stuck-up old meanies who hate to see kids having fun, but almost everybody in the neighborhood has stopped talking to Mrs. Harris. What is even more significant, I've noticed that Mrs. Harris has started talking to Mrs. Smith, the wife of the man I ran into on the station platform at the beginning of these notes.

What they are talking about is extremely interesting. To me, at any rate. I, too, have just discovered that finding an apartment in town these days is going to take quite some considerable doing.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7