When I was around 5, we were staying at a motel in Oxford, Alabama. It probably was around the time of my grandfather's funeral. My father and I were in the swimming pool, while my Mother was in the room. I couldn't swim. The phone rang at the room, and my Mother called out to Daddy to come to the phone. He left me in the pool. I was walking around the shallow end, and then I decided to walk toward the diving board, not knowing there was also a deep end. I slid under the water. A man grabbed me by the hair and pulled me out of the pool. I do not know who the man was, other than I think he was in the military. My parents rushed out of the motel room to find me on the side of the pool. They thanked the man and wanted to give him a reward, but he declined. God knows who he is, and He put the man there that day at that time.
After that experience, I was scared the water. Daddy tried to teach me to swim. We would be in a pool, and he would tell me to jump in the water, and he would catch me. I would do what he said, and he would move out of the way to see if I would swim. I wouldn't. I lost trust in him catching me, so I decided that swimming was not something I could do.
When I was 14, my parents decided to send me to USC to learn how to swim. I took weekly classes one summer at the pool behind Longstreet Theatre on the USC campus. I was the oldest kid in the class. The others were between 6 and 10. I lied to some kids about my age, because they laughed about me being bigger than anyone else. I learned how to dog paddle, but I couldn't master the art of turning my head to breathe, so I didn't go very far in the class. The instructors wanted us to learn how to dive. The low diving board was not a problem, although I wasn't very keen on doing anything more than just jumping in the water. But then came the high platform. Climbing the ladder was like going to an execution. I was coaxed by the instructors to jump off of the platform. I did and went to the bottom of the pool. The idea was the swim up to the ladder by the pool after going into the water. I got disoriented and couldn't find the side of the pool. One of the instructors had to dive in and save me.
After that experience, I decided that swimming was not important. I have been in the water since then but always on a flotation device like an air mattress. No more deep ends for me.