Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 6, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 7


Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 6, 2021 



[Nyerges is a writer and teacher of self-reliance topics. This article is part of a book Nyerges is 
working on about his youth, tentatively titled “Out of the Loop.” For more information, go to]

On average, about 10 people die from drowning every day in the United States. About 20% of 
those deaths are children under 14 years old. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I almost became one 
of those statistics.

I was the youngest of five boys and all of us had a history of attending the Boy’s Club down on Villa Avenue, just west 
of Los Robles Avenue where we lived. Since a bus stop was located just across the street from our home, we could 
easily hop on the bus and take the approximately two mile or so ride closer to downtown Pasadena, exit on Villa, 
and walk to the Boy’s Club. 

I enjoyed the Boy Club and the complexity of life that occurred there. There was a small train that could be ridden 
around the back 40, there was the art classes, the metal shop, the wood shop, and the game room. Every summer, 
they held a Tom Sawyer Day with numerous special events. And there was the swimming pool, which was the center 
of social life at the Club in the summer. When the Boy’s Club was still fresh and new to my young eyes, it was exciting 
to walk down the long corridors, enter the noisy locker room, and then enter the pool.

On this first time swimming there, the pool area was a cacophony of men, women, boys, girls – I presume that the 
Club opened the pool to anyone and everyone who wanted to swim there on the hot days of the early 1960s. It was 

I was there with one or two older brothers, and some friends of theirs. I was told to stay in the shal-low part of the 
pool since I didn’t know how to swim. Since I had never been in a deep pool be-fore, I assumed that I probably didn’t 
know how to swim and so I agreed to stay in the shallow side. 

The pool was very long – I remember about 150 feet by perhaps 50 feet – though this is just a memory-guess. The 
shallow section was where you could enter by means of these cement steps, where you just walk into the water. And 
for me, that meant the water would come up to my waist in the shallowest section. Once I was in the pool, it was 
very crowded. I didn’t know anyone, and my brothers and their friends were off somewhere having a good time. So I 
just walked around, and noted that the pool very gradually got deeper as I walked westward. So eventually the water 
was up to my chest. I walked back into the shallow area, and back to the deeper part of the shal-low area. How far 
out could I go before it was too deep? 

I tried to look into the water, to see the bottom, but it was not easy. For one, there were a lot of people moving around 
in the water, and so the water was not still and clear. So I just kept walking. Suddenly, the shallow section rather 
rapidly became deep, and even though I could feel my feel slipping out from underneath me, there seemed to be 
nothing I could do to prevent going under. I went under, and I don’t recall if I panicked or not, but I remember flailing 
and trying to get my head above water. It seemed like an eternity and I felt that everyone who was good in the 
world had abandoned me.

As I flailed about, suddenly a hand grabbed me and pulled me into the shallow water, and I could touch the ground 
again. The man looked at me with concern – actually, he was an older boy, older than me, perhaps only 14 or 15. He 
looked at me and asked me if I was ok. He told me to stay in the shallow water, and then he disappeared. I stayed 
in the water, and looked around for a bit. No one seemed to have been aware of what just happened. And the boy 
who saved me seemed like a god in my eyes. He was a handsome black boy, obviously in good physical shape, and I 
remember the neat trim of his hair, and his serious expression. Now he was gone, and there was no one to tell about 
how he rescued me, no name to put to the deed.

After I got out, I never saw the boy again. He either merged into the crowd, or he’d departed. I told one of my brothers 
what happened, and he just said “Oh,” as if maybe I was making it up. I never told my parents.

The Boys Club of that day was like a United Nations gathering. About half of the boys who went there were black, 
and the Latino and white boys were more or less equally divided. Asian boys were a minority. The Boys Club was a 
good introduction for me to the world as it is, and whenev-er I encountered overt or subtle racism, I often thought 
back to my many interactions at the Boys Club, including the camp adventures in the San Bernardino National Forest. 
Bad behavior came in all colors, as did good behavior. The nameless boy who saved me from drowning that day 
didn’t know me, and didn’t hang around to receive any praise. He did not ask my name, age, race, or re-ligious when 
he saw me flailing in the water. He did a good deed and he moved along. I learned more from him that youthful day 
than I ever did from the vast majority of preaching preachers, and philosophizing philosophers, and other teachers 
who purported to tell me how to live my life. 

It’s sad that racism is still such a viable part of the American way of life. I still look forward to the day when we can 
treat everyone the same, based on the quality of their character, and what they do, and not on their origin or racial 
characteristics. Though it is obvious that we have a long way to go, the solution lies not in some governmental edicts, 
but in the choices of individuals to go beyond their mostly mental barriers, and get to know people outside of their 
own groups. In that sense, my active participation in the programs of the Pasadena Boy’s Club was one of the most 
positive form-ative experiences of my life.

In time, I spent a summer with my older brother learning how to swim. We went through the swimming program 
from rank beginner to the highest rank, which took us nearly to the end of summer. My brother and I were the only 
two students who stuck with the program week by week, five mornings a week, until the very end, until we could do 
every stroke forward and backward, stay under water a few minutes, and have no more fear of ever drowning. The 
cost of the swim-ming program was a few dollars for each week, for five days of instruction of about an hour and a 
half each class. It was perhaps one of my parents’ best investments ever. 

Going out of Business… Under New Management…. New Lower Prices….How about we got rid of our 
last cook and hired a new one! We lowered our beer prices we found that no one wanted $7 beer.

Here are Super Facts about Sundays Super Bowl Game…

‘It has been said, after all, that Americans eat more than 1.2 billion chicken wings, 11 million slices of 
Domino’s pizza, 11.2 million potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, and all sorts of other 
delicious but caloric fare, especially when their teams lose.

Um, 11.2 million potato chips? Or, is that 11.2 million 
pounds of potato chips? That’s still just a pound of potato 
chips for every 30 Americans - not that impressive. 1.2 
billion chicken wings, on the other hand - that’s 4 for 
every American, seems like a lot to me. There are only 
2 drumsticks per chicken so that is almost 600 million 
chickens. That’s impossible!! Or is it?

But hold on, I have more. Now these are mind-boggling.

We know a lot of beer will be consumed, but how much? So much that we would need five Rose Bowl 
Stadiums (not to mention bathrooms) to hold all the beer. My research tells me 325 million gallons of 
beer. Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall? How about 30 million bottles at 12 oz! Speaking of Pizza, 
the 11 million pizza slices would cover the Rose Bowl 22000 times! For me I’ll go with Village Pizzeria 
in Sierra Madre.

Get them early. That is, buy your avocados early because we will go through 80 million avocados to make 
all sorts of Guacamole. I like mine spicy and chunky!

No matter what you decide to eat or drink, be responsible. Super Bowl Sunday is also in the top five of 
DUI arrests.

Stomachache? You better believe it. Anti-acid relief pills sales double the following Monday.


Chiefs 30 Bucs 28 You read it here first.

Join me this Sunday at 9 AM for my podcast

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: