Back to Virginia – 2011

Diaper Swimming Lesson for Boys

June 3 –6, 2011

 

Part 1: Memphis to Arlington, VA

Part 3: Visit to McLean handicap park

Part 2: Diaper swim lesson for boys

Part 4: Arlington, VA to Memphis

 

- Updated June 20, 2011

 

There are photographs of Casey and Caroline Nolan and their identical twin boys posted in various albums at www.kodakgallery.com. There are also other family photos in various albums registered under Lewis “Buzz” Nolan’s email address. Email lewis_nolan@yahoo.com for instructions how to access the albums; please specify your family relationship or friendship for security reasons.  

 

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By LEWIS NOLAN

 

June 4, 2011 – Saturday – Parents and Grandparents accompany Carden & Aiden at Pool

I was awakened by the sounds of our twin grandsons in the next room of their Arlington, VA. Home about 6:30 a.m. Betty got up to check on them about 7: a.m. but I tarried in bed a bit longer, finally arising to greet the day and the twins at 7:30 a.m.

Betty cooked me another great breakfast about 8 a.m. and served me pretty much the same, healthy lineup of morning foods I get at home – scrambled eggs, three slices of thin ham, a banana, a couple of prunes, a piece of Melba toast and small glasses of vegetable juice and milk.

Today was “Diaper Swim Day” for the identical twin boys, Carden Lewis and Aiden Mayer. Caroline, their mother, drove the twins in her Audi SUV to a swanky, public school just under a mile from their home. Casey, Betty and I went in his Explorer. The school was equipped with a very nice, indoor  pool that had a separate, shallow section for the youngsters. We quickly learned there were three lessons scheduled for the same time – the diaper swim program that attracted 11 infants with parents, a junior program for kids just a bit older learning how to swim and an adult class that seemed to have about a dozen mature women. There were several instructors on duty who seemed to this onetime, licensed Water Safety Instructor and former age group swimming coach to know what they were doing.

Just a few yards away from the school’s pool was a major construction project underway, that of a building to hold a larger pool and other facilities and new parking areas.

Casey told us that Arlington citizens with proof of residence can use the pool for a modest fee of $4 per day. He formerly used the pool to swim laps, but he has cut way back on his longtime, manic compulsion of working out regularly in recent months due to the demands of his work and family responsibilities. Casey now only rarely competes in triathlons and similar events but continues to maintain an athletic appearance and fitness due to dietary discipline.

For the class – taught by an African American man – six young mothers and five fathers each took one child into their arms and walked into the somewhat cool water. None of the infants howled in protest. At the direction of the instructor, they were uplifted and allowed to splash and kick their legs in the water as a group. At one point, they were each given a floating, foam “noodle” to acclimate them to water with parents only loosely holding them.

The class started at 9:30 a.m. and ended about 45 minutes later, with everybody seeming to be happy with the progress the little ones made. I saw no instances of hurt feelings non bawling babies.

We returned home, where Caroline gave the boys some playtime while Betty and I shared an early lunch of a turkey sandwich and a few diet pretzels. I then took a late-morning nap while Caroline bathed the boys and then took a three-mile run in a hilly section of old Arlington. Casey and Betty drove the boys to a nearby nursery.

I arose from my nap about 1:50 p.m. and installed a new version of Explorer on my Dell mini-laptop computer so I could check my email. I reflected on how great it is to be here with Casey and his family in their nicely decorated home with so many modern conveniences – giving new meaning to the intelligent blending of elegance and hominess.

At mid-afternoon, Casey and I drove with the boys in Caroline’s Audi SUV to the fairly new Smithsonian Institution’s fabulous National Air and Space Museum at nearby Dulles International Airport. The Museum is a satellite of the original on the mall near the U.S. Capitol in downtown Washington, DC, where we Betty and I spent many hours when I was stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, VA.

Admission to the airport branch is also free, but close parking costs $15. The museum is mostly built in a gigantic structure that closely resembles a hangar capable of storing dirigibles and blimps.

It tells the wonderful but terrible complex story of aviation in the 20th Century and before and has dozens of historic aircraft including planes and missiles, some hanging on cables from the ceilings and many parked on the floor. Nicely displayed with them and lots of equipment and other memorabilia used to make them fly and perform.

The recently installed, working space shuttle “Discovery” is on display, as is the B-29 airplane named “Enola Gay” that dropped an atomic bomb on Japan to end World War II. The famous Concorde international super jet from Air France and the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” spyplane were among other famous planes that draw crowds. I was especially attracted to a small Falcon Jet in Federal Express colors was in a central exhibit area and suitably repainted the familiar red and purple colors.

Signage said the Dassault-manufactured jet was named “Wendy” in honor of company founder Frederick W. Smith’s daughter and was donated by Memphis-based Fedex in 1983.  I could not recall whether I covered the actual gift of the airplane to the Smithsonian by the company nearly three decades ago, but as Business Editor of The Commercial Appeal at the time I stayed quite busy covering the company’s success and related matters in the late 1970s and early 1980s. FedEx was and is one of the premier, global of Memphis of that era and now employs more than 30,000 at its Memphis headquarters and package sorting facilities.

I tried to find a souvenir postcard containing a photo of the epochal FedEx plane from the “first fleet” to send to Fred Smith. But I was told there are none in stock, a shame because the company has fundamentally changed the way important communications and package shipments are handled in the world today.

I also was especially pleased that my grandsons rode peacefully in a “double stroller” pushed around the museum by their dad, Casey. It was gratifying that so many complete strangers ooh’ed-and-ah’eed when they saw the identical twin boys looking so happy and wearing their tiny caps at age eight months.

Having seen enough of the major attractions of the Museum, we returned to the Audi and drove back to the Nolan home in Arlington on the network of Interstate and other big highways alongside a network of commuter train route construction. Betty had cooked a delicious late-day meal for the family, consisting of sautéed chicken tenders served with freshly prepared vegetables and a sorbet dessert.

After eating, the boys were put to bed and Casey and Caroline went out on their planned “date” to see a movie while Betty and I relaxed in their home and babysat the boys and their pet Golden retriever, Rugby. However, it turned out there was a long line at the theater showing the comedy film “Bridesmaids” and a “sold out” sign was soon displayed. So they walked around the entertainment area and had a bit of wine before returning home.

As for me, I ended a busy but fun day by going to bed early, about 8:30 p.m., and slept through the night.

Continue with Part 3, Visit to Handicap Park  /  Return to Getaways Home Page