Kari W.

I remember attending Cindy’s birthday party. She was a friend from church and her parents wanted to give her a swim party but didn’t own a pool. So, they rented a place for the party. I don’t recall where, but there was a tall fence surrounding the pool and a picnic table to the side. I remember the names of all my friends who were there because we were all friends from church. I have no memory of adults near or around the pool. We were all swimming around and playing. Most of us were in the deep end of the pool. The boys decided it would be fun to dunk me. They pushed me below the water. I pushed myself up to the surface to get air. I tried to get a breath, and was pushed down again. I was a bit panicked because I didn’t really get a breath. I returned to the top of the water as soon as I could. I could hear laughing as I came up gasping for breath and found myself shoved back down, yet again. I think I was dunked three times before I realized that I had to get away from the boys. I attempted to swim away from them under the water.

As I swam away, there was this realization that I could breathe under water. I was astonished and relieved at the same time! I couldn’t believe that someone hadn’t told me this was possible. I was excited and almost giddy. I started to swim toward a warm, glowing light that I saw in the distance. I was totally at peace with no fear of drowning because I could now breathe.

The next memory I have is me sitting on the end of the bench of the picnic table. One of the boys said, ‘I thought you were out of the pool; I saw you up under the steps and pulled you out.’ I remember sitting at a picnic table with all my friends around me. They were leaning toward me on their elbows and kept asking me if I was all right. I said I was fine and got a bit annoyed that they kept asking.

I don’t remember the rest of the party or even how I got home that night. I don’t know the exact date. I am guessing at my age, and not ever talking about this to anyone, I’ve pushed it back in my memory. I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble and didn’t want people to think I was nuts. But since then, I spoke to anyone who was playing the pool dunking game. It was no game to me and brought back the terror I first felt when I couldn’t get a breath. The intense memory of unchanged events even over time and the learning of others’ experiences has helped me realize what happened to me years ago really happened and wasn’t a dream.

I have tried to locate some of the friends who were present, but I moved from Roswell almost 40 ago. I have not been able to locate anyone who was there to see what they remember.