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Get Back in That Pool
September 08, 2011

I was visiting my parents on Labor Day when my mother asked me a question that seemed to come out of left field and not related to the prior conversational topics.

“Why did you give up swimming? You used to like it.”

Yes, that is certainly true. I loved swimming as a kid. I took all the lessons I could and made it through the junior lifesaving level. The only thing separating me from being a lifeguard was the senior lifesaving class and the opportunity.

Well, life intervened. My eyesight. It deteriorated, not in a major life-altering way, but in a studious student sort of way.

I couldn’t see well enough to continue on the swimming path.

I gave it up.

My life changed a bit, but as a teenager, you are doing so many different things that giving up something like that does not seem like such a big deal.

So more than 40 years afterwards, my mother asks out of the blue, why did I give up swimming?

I told her what I thought was obvious.

She agreed, but asked whether I could get some sort of goggles that would allow me to get back into it.

I said I expected there was, but I hadn’t thought about it.

What brought that on? I don’t know. At her age and after a major medical issue I expect it’s part of the life review and regret process.

Numismatics is one thing I did not give up as a teenager and it made all the difference in my life.

I know there are people out there who gave up coin collecting like I gave up swimming.

Do they think about coming back?

I hope so. Naturally, I hope that their sense of regret is sharper than mine is about swimming and they jump back into the numismatic pool.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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