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Junior lifesaving prerequisite: Swimming the width of the Mississippi River

Del Anderson of Ogden, Utah, shared this photo of his mother, Kathryn Little, when she was 12 years old. As an active member of the Hannibal YMCA, she fulfilled the requirements to earn a junior lifesaving certificate by swimming across the Mississippi River.

The children were accompanied by an instructor in a row boat. They went across the river, had a picnic lunch, then swam back to Hannibal. The year would have been around 1927, before the lock and dam systems were installed on the river to control the flow.

My own mother, Mary Louise Robinson, was just about the same age, and told a similar story. In addition, my mother told me that her mother, Kathryn Robinson, was an instructor at the Y, who swam across the river with her. I have a photo from my aunt's scrapbook of four young women and a rowboat on the river bank.

What I want to know is this: Does anyone else have a similar story passed down through their family? I would love to have more details of this life saving training course, and my grandmother's involvement.

Does the Hannibal YMCA have an early scrapbook that might offer details?

If you have any information, please click here to start a conversation. Thanks.

Below, see the photo from my aunt's scrapbook.

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