The preface “Portsmouth, Ohio” of the book Dreamland, written by Sam Quinones, tells the story of Dreamland, and why this pool was such a great place to be. The pool is a reminder that everyone can get along and be the same in one place. It’s the kind of place where you can go to feel a part of something, and not feel judged for where you work, or who you are. The pool was a dreamland to these people. It was the size of a football field. It could accompany hundreds of people. This was where people grew up and got to know others from the community. It was a hangout place for teens, spa day for adults, and funhouse for the little kids. It was the town’s pride and joy.
Dreamland was where all of the teenagers and kids would hang out while their parents were at work. When families would come, they would sit out a towel, get comfortable, and tan in the sun. It was a well-rounded place where people could sit and relax, or they would go and have some fun. It seemed like the place people would go to get away from all the stress of a normal workday, or struggle of after-school drama. But, there could still be some dramatic times at the pool as well. The insignificant “three foot rule” was never followed as Dreamlands manager, Chuck Lorentez would walk around the pool with a yardstick trying to get teens to keep their distance from one another. It was not very successful because many of the teens got their first kiss, or even lost their virginity in the grassy areas of Dreamland.
Dreamland was the place that got people involved in the community. There was a swim team for the pool named the Dreamland Dolphins who practiced every morning and evening. Since there was so much space for so many people, everyone could come and enjoy the fun. This pool washed away class distinctions: “in a swimsuit, a factory worker looked no different from the factory manager or clothing shop owner”(pg 2). In Portsmouth, many people did not have to type of money to just have a pool in their backyard, so the pool was the place where everyone could go to be with friends and family outside of their busy lives.
Sadly, for one small period of time, the pool was segregated. It became a white only pool and the name was changed to “Terrace Club” even though Portsmouth was a “largely integrated town”. This was changed back when a young African American boy who was kept out of the pool, drowned in the Scioto River, where he was swimming. Even after the pool was integrated again, it still didn’t feel the same for the people who were segregated out but came back. Things eventually started to go back to normal. The community was able to be brought back together at the pool again.
This place seemed like a dream, people were able to see past their day to day problems and just forget about all of the worries of life for a moment. You could come to relax with your family or make a new friend with the kid that lives a few blocks away. Either way you look at it, Dreamland was a great opportunity for this town, and was able to bring the community closer.
Quinones, Sam. Preface: “Portsmouth, Ohio.” Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. 2015. Bloomsbury, 2016, pp. 1-4.