WARREN - Warren resident Ruby Harrold said she remembers working the control desk from 1963 to 1977 at the YWCA swimming pool. She shared stories Thursday, along with pictures and newspaper articles she saved over the years.
She and other residents gathered for a farewell-to-the-pool party at the YWCA. Demolition of the Wean pool area begins this month to make way for construction of a 12-unit permanent supportive housing for women and children.
The Wean Pool, which was closed in 2006, was decorated with beach items. Photo collages on walls and tables showed swimming events. People could write messages on old swimming floor tiles being saved as memorials.
In one room were tables covered with swim caps, a lifeguard chair, pool steps, water weights, kick boards, life-saving training manuals, lane ropes and clock timers for swim teams.
In addition to the large Wean pool, the smaller Edwards pool downstairs also is closed.
Shari Harrell, executive director of the YWCA, said, ''This past week, had people stop in who could not make this event wanting to see the pool. Most wanted to stop by and just remember when they came here or worked here.''
Many people said they learned to swim at the YWCA, as did their children, she said.
Harrold said she worked at the YWCA when efforts were made to raise money for a new swimming pool.
''Everything is altogether different today. I am sorry to see it go but it is going for a good reason,'' said the 14-year employee who worked at the control desk and met many of the YWCA clientele.
''I was in charge of all the purses that came through and I had to check everyone in for the different classes. I sold bathing suits, nose plugs and swim caps,'' Harrold said.
Brenda Goswick of Southington said she taught swim lessons starting in 1965 and learned to swim at the YWCA in the 1950s.
''I worked here when I was in college and in the 1970s and when the built the new addition to the pool. I taught everything from water babies, life saving, Red Cross learn to swim to school classes,'' she said.
Goswick said she also helped in the fitness room, worked with the YWCA-sponsored volleyball team and taught roller skating on the hardwood floor downstairs.
''It's hard to see the pool go but I have seen the renderings of what is planned which look great,'' she said.
Mary Ellen Pilgrim of Warren said she remembers the family swims and birthday parties held at the pool.
''My children learned to swim here when they were babies. My mother, who is 95 now, learned to swim in her 50s and was in what they called 'the Terrified Class' at the time my children were swimming here,'' she said.
Pilgrim said she remembers the charts on the pool walls that were marked and recorded how many miles people swam.
Katylu Herriman, a former YWCA board member, said she remembers being a Y-Teen Club adviser in 1961 and later working at the YWCA starting in 1972.
''At that time they had 1,000 Y-teens in Trumbull County of junior high and high school girls who came to the YWCA and the pool,'' she said.
Herriman was providing old swimming pool tiles for people to write names and share memories. A memorial collage of pictures and items people brought in will be buried in a time capsule in the new building.