On my way to run an errand over my lunch hour today, I cut through the neighborhood where I grew up--because it's a shortcut and because I know about it :-)--and passed by the old community swimming pool.
Tahoe Swim Club was the name of the place. It was located on Beck Lane in the south part of Lafayette, Indiana, on a really oddly-shaped lot; I imagine it was put there as a way to use up ground that was difficult to build family homes on. It was a membership-only place where the kids in the Tecumseh subdivision 'hood spent every possible minute of every possible summer day and night swimming and tanning and flirting and listening to WLS turned up really loud and all those other wonderful summertime things.
My sisters both had lifeguarding jobs there. I got many nice brown-as-a-berry tans there, and can remember getting tanned through my swimsuits; once I had swirly designs where the sun came through the white areas on the fabric. Another year, I had stars all over the place. Mostly, I hung with my girlfriends; the boys were either doing sports during the days or working at summer jobs.
Well, the pool is no more. Just like the song (and the title of this post), they paved [my] paradise and put in a parking lot; or rather, an asphalt playground. The old clubhouse, which all of us swimmers would overwhelm during those infuriating 15-minute breaks every hour, is still standing. The property is in use as a "branch" of the local Boys' and Girls' Club, which is a very worthwhile use of the facility, considering that the makeup of the neighborhood is probably very much in need of that kind of service.
But when I drive by the old place, I still see multicolored beach towels hung to dry over the chain link fence, smell the Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, and feel the gravel cutting into my feet when I would walk home barefoot. Tahoe Swim Club will always be a summer paradise to me, even if it is under asphalt now. That's the nice thing about memories; they can't be paved over unless you want them to be.