By Escott Brostrom, Rock Island, Illinois
On a hot summer sunday afternoon, my wife and I had been invited to a swimming party at the home of some friends. With our two children in the care of my grandmother, Cherie and I felt as free as the breeze. As I stood on the diving board, I paused to look up into the serene sky. But then a frantic voice rose above the party din.
At the far end of the pool a woman was screaming. “the baby!” I heard her cry. “he’s at the bottom of the pool!” No one was doing anything to help. People just stood and stared at her. Confused, I searched the length of the pool and saw what I thought might be a motionless form beneath the water.
I dived in—and a baby was there. I hurriedly swept him off the bottom and soon laid him on the deck. He’d turned blue…no breath. I began CPR. Dear God, help me do it right. At last the little boy coughed. a short breath came, then another. He would live.
An ambulance was called, for safety’s sake. While we waited, I couldn’t help asking the others, “Why did you ignore the woman when she said the boy was drowning?”
A friend answered, “None of us understood her, scott.”
“What do you mean? Even at the far end I could hear her yelling about the baby.”
“But she’s Mexican. none of us understood her Spanish.”
“Spanish? I heard her yell in English.”
“We didn’t. All we heard was Spanish.”
“It’s true,” said the woman’s daughter. “Mama can’t speak a word of English.”
“And I don’t understand a word of Spanish,” I said.