The swimming pool was the defining feature of the house where I grew up, at least from my perspective. It had a waterfall, with a hidden bench, that was magic to a child. We had daily chores cleaning it, so it was the center of life. One of our enormous St. Bernards jumped in on top of my brother, in a sweetly disastrous attempt to rescue him. My father wanted a black pool, finding the aesthetic far preferable, but my mother, rarely practical, claimed there'd be no way to know if we'd drowned. In fairness, I often slipped down the ladder at night, and swam by myself with the lights off. Two passages I've marked lately on the subject:
"August 1957, a villa in Cap-Ferrat. Elizabeth Taylor emerges from the swimming pool and approaches her movie-producer husband Mike Todd, who is holding a red leather box from Cartier. Inside: a ruby and diamond bib necklace that, as Taylor later recalled, 'glittered in the warm light,' along with matching earrings and bracelet, which she immediately slipped on. 'Since there was no mirror around, I had to look into the water. The jewelry was gorgeous, rippling red on blue like a painting. I put my arms around Mike's neck and pulled him into the pool after me. It was a perfect summer day and a day of perfect love.'"
–– Art + Auction, current issue
"If there was one thing Alice knew, it was how to make a lasting impression. The first time Charles Marsh saw her, she was stark naked, a pale, shimmering goddess rising unexpectedly from the mists of his Austin swimming pool. Marsh was then in his midforties and still made his home in the Texas capital, where he was a prince of the city and one of the most powerful men in the state with his string of fifty newspapers and a fortune that included oil wells and large tracts of real estate. He lived in the proverbial big house on the hill, an immense Tudor mansion in the exclusive district of Enfield, which had a commanding view of town and boasted one of the first private swimming pools in the area. With Leona, his wife of twenty years, and their three children away for an extended stay at their summer home on Cape Cod, he had been feeling bored and lonely and on a whim had decided to throw a party and open his home to Austin's elite. At two a.m. after the last of his many guests had said good night, Marsh had wandered back outside to enjoy a cigar in the early morning cool when, as he later recounted the episode to Ingersoll, he was stopped in his tracks by the sight of a bold young girl emerging from the water, 'her long blond hair flowing among her fresh young breasts.' Alice was not yet twenty. Intelligent and ambitious, she had fled the small Texas town of Marlin, where her father was the bank president, for the excitement of the capital city. She was working as a secretary in the state legislature and already had a long line of suitors when she entered Marsh's life in the summer of 1931. The morning after the pool escapade, a smitten Marsh reportedly rolled over in bed and announced to Alice, 'You are not for Austin, Texas, little girl.'" ––The Irregulars