It goes back to River Park on Chicago's Northwest Side, Albany Park, and somewhere around 1946. The Chicago Park District provided recreational opportunities practically for free, and about that time, I attended a tennis class. It might have cost $1.00 and probably included a free, brand new tennis ball. The racket, if I remember correctly, was someone else's. A big, heavy wooden club, old fashioned, with cat gut strings, fraying. "Step into the ball." "Keep your eye on the ball!"
I would hang out at the fieldhouse looking for any kind of a game, day after day, the whole summer long. In between games, I would drift over to the new swimming pool and watch the young lifeguards, teen aged girls in one piece swimsuits, flirt with the opposite sex. They were so grown up! I was about nine or ten, and intensely interested and puzzably drawn to the opposite sex by forces that I didn't really understand. Pretty innocent stuff, by today's standards. The outrageous movie of the day, or that era, was "The Outlaw", with Jane Russell.
Now, "The Outlaw" was first released in 1943, and apparently was too much for the censors. That was the year that my little sister, Linda Beth, entered the world, and I was seven years old. Precocious, in some ways, I don't really think I was leering at Jane, way back then. More likely, it was the re-release in 1946.
Well, nostalgia gives way, to "Breakfast is ready...." 50 minutes to the contest. I'll be back, probably.