Near Drowning

In the summer of 1963, I was 8 years old.  My mother took me out for a day at the beach at Coney Island.   I was a lover of the water and a good swimmer.  Although my mother warned me to stay away from the shore on that particular day because the waves were so high, I found a time when she was busy talking with a friend to go in the water.  The waves were quite large that day pushing me over several times.  I turned around to see if my mother could see me and saw that she had a concerned look on her face and motioned for me to come in.  All of a sudden, a huge wave covered me.  I began to try to scream and felt the water going into my lungs.  I heard the loud voice of a woman telling me to calm down, hold my breath and swim towards the light.  I opened my eyes in the salty water, looked up, held my breath and started swimming towards the light.  In what seemed like an eternity, I reached the top to air.  The waves were comming continuously as the voice continued giving me instructions on how to get out of the water.   I was instructed to lay (float) on my back and let the waves carry me in.  Another huge wave came in and I floated right out to shore.  When I reached shallow enough water I ran out to where my mother was and started throwing up water.  The lifeguard on duty was just running up towards me and told my mother he had seen me go under.  He told me I was a very lucky girl because I had been under for a few minutes.

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