In my wife’s ongoing efforts to purge the house of all useless miscellanea, she stumbled upon this curious item: Anthony’s Pool Construction Guide: The 20 Steps from Plan to Plunge. It’s a charming little booklet published in 1972. Anthony Pools – known today as Anthony & Sylvan Pools – apparently gave the 24-page publication to all new customers.
For corporate collateral, it’s surprisingly candid.
From the introduction: “To some people the 20 construction steps are a marvelous adventure; to others they can be a great big headache …
“You will lose some privacy; you could lose some of your patience; you may even absolutely lose your mind.”
The guide further cautions: “Strangers carrying outer-worldly tools will appear on your premises and, heavens – one may even knock on your door and ask to use the bathroom.”
Customers couldn’t say they weren’t warned.
From excavation to new-owner orientation, each step in the construction process is whimsically illustrated. In one scene, cheerful rubber-booted workers are blasting shotcrete into a Mount Rushmore-like formation; in another, they’re playing tic-tac-toe in fresh cement. The building inspector is portrayed as a pinch-nosed grump.
The information contained within its yellowed-with-age pages is detailed, humorous and helpful. It almost reads like What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Swimming Pool Edition. The guide even compares pool ownership to being a new parent: Like a baby, swimming pools are temperamental at first and make gurgling sounds.
While the guide is refreshingly frank about those small annoyances that occasionally happen during construction, it confidently reassures homeowners, “… you’ll be loving your glittering, glamorous Anthony pool for many, many happy years to come!”
I can only assume that Richard and Dorothy Stilling did. In 1974, they hired Anthony Pools to build a 20,000-gallon inground pool in their backyard. I know this because they filed their records between the book’s pages.
I don’t know how long the Stillings lived in the house my wife and I now occupy, but I’m glad they built a pool. Almost 40 years later, it’s still glittering and glamorous. We’ll enjoy it for many, many happy years to come.
Off the Deep End is an occasional blog from PSN senior editor Nate Traylor.