Of all the songs on the jukebox at Summerville’s long-gone Curve Inn Pool, songs like the Byrd’s “Eight Miles High” and Bobby Fuller’s “I Fought the Law,” my favorite was “Gloria” – not the Van Morrison original but a cover by an obscure Chicago band, Shadows of Knight.
Somehow the Knight’s lead singer Jim Sohns’s gritty growling imitation of a Northern Irishman trying to sound like an American fit the funky working class vibe of the Curve-Inn, which you could join for the entire summer for a measly eleven dollars. I can’t remember if the swimming facility at Miler Country Club featured a jukebox, but I’m absolutely positive you wouldn’t find anyone there perched on the rail of the high dive with the adjectives “sweet” and “sour” tattooed on each of his pectorals. In fact, those were the first homemade tattoos I ever witnessed, the equivalent of stick drawings compared to colorful tapestries you see sprawled across the epidermides of hipsters nowadays.
Summerville coach and administrator Olin McCurry owned and operated the Curve-Inn, and he was there six days a week overseeing the establishment, shirtless and sporting one of those pith helmets bwanas wear in old Tarzan movies. I can see his son, little more than a toddler back then, also shirtless and waddling behind him. I think the McCurrys were neighbors of ours when we lived on Laurel Street. I remember Laura McCurry, who was a few years younger than me, conversing with my mother like an adult at the tennis courts as I rode my bike around and around the metal nets.
My most memorable summer at the Curve Inn was the summer of ’66. I had a so-called girlfriend named Francine Light, who had delivered me a note two days before school let out for the summer asking if I’d be her beau. I had been admiring her from afar forever, so I was thrilled. I remember walking her to the school buses that afternoon, my hair parted on the wrong side so it would hang over one ear, which no doubt looked ridiculous, though daringly out of dress code.
The problem was that I was so shy I rarely called Francine that summer, and when I did, I couldn’t figure out what to say. She came to the Curve-Inn a couple of times with her little brothers in tow, but all too soon wearied of my awkward non-engagement. I remember sending a message via a female friend to tell Francine I loved her, but the friend came a couple of days later to report that Francine didn’t love me back.
[cue Herman’s Hermits] “Why does the sun keep on shining?/Why does the sea rush to the shore?”
In reality, by no means did that crush-gone-wrong darken my summer. We played Marco Polo, devoured Zero candy bars and Cokes, perfected our cannonballs, back flips and gainers.
Oh yeah, and got an earful from that jukebox standing among puddles in the shade of the pavilion.
G – L – O – R – I – A
 By the way, when I saw Springsteen on the front row of Gaillard Auditorium in The Darkness on the Edge of Town tour in ‘78, the Boss began with a cover of “I Fought the Law,” and I recognized it two chords in.
 Cool quote from Sohns, “The Stones, Animals, and Yardbirds took the Chicago blues and gave it an English interpretation. We’ve taken the English version of the blues and re-added a Chicago touch.”
 Forgive my pedantry, but epidermides is preferred over epidermises as the plural form, though both are acceptable.
 More pedantry: If any former students are reading this, note how I have broken a grammatical rule – it should be “older than I” – so I don’t come off as a constipated, um, pedant.
2 thoughts on “The Curve Inn Pool, Make Me Feel So Good, Make Me Feel All Right”
Hey man. This post sure takes me back to the summer of ’66. I’m pretty sure the first rock concert I went to was that year at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium. The McCoys, ? and the Mysterians and, wait for it, The Shadows of Knight! I always thought their version was even better than the original. I don’t remember anyone else ever mentioning their name since then so I’m glad they’re still in our collective memory. Sadly, the jukebox at our local pool did not have a copy of the song on it but I do recall plunking quarters into it playing Paperback Writer and Rain over and over and over. That, and falling in love over and over and over as well.
Hey, Bill. I had another reader say he saw The Shadows at the University of Arkansas opening for the Outsiders who did “Time Won’t Let Me.” I’d love to have seen ? and the Mysterians. “96 Tears” is still one of my favs. Hope all’s well with you and Dana. Cheers!