The smell in the bath towel
I use to dry my hair today
reminds me of the chlorine
and hot Sacramento sun
at Clunie Pool, and I am
six years old again
in my shirred nylon orange suit,
petrified of the swimming teacher
who said he would not let go,
Later, I Google the pool,
find it is “Clunie,” not “Clooney”
as in Rosemary on “Your Hit Parade”
back then, and not “Cluny”
(as I would learn many years later)
as in the Cluny Museum in Paris.
A Sacramento woman, Florence Turton Clunie,
had bequeathed a then-large sum
to build the Clunie Community Center
ten years before I was born.
I find out much about her husband,
The Hon. Thomas Jefferson Clunie,
who died thirty-one years before her
in 1903, but only a few sentences about her,
mostly about how remarkable it was
she became a successful business
operator in her own right.
Such was the way it was then.
The swimming pool she gave us
we always just called “Clunie Pool.”