Published July 24, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Today Pegman takes us to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Feel free to swim around the area using the Google street view and grab any picture you choose to include in your post.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.

Many thanks to K Rawson and J Hardy Carroll for hosting this challenge every week. Facilitating a weekly commitment that often requires more effort than meets the eye. I doff my swim cap to you, Karen and Josh. 

Great Barrier Reef

While the photo is from the Pegman prompt, I confess, I swam far afield. As often happens, the research trail leads where I least expect. The ideas came to me while swimming. Like the protagonist in my story, I’m a water baby. I considered what my goggles allow me to clearly see, such as the watery ceiling when I flip turn. So I considered the history of swim goggles and ended up with the following story. 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150


            Anna helped her daughter take off her wet clothes. “Gertie, my little pollywog, whatever am I to do with you?”

            The child shivered. “I wanted to swim and I couldn’t find the ocean.”

            Anna bit her lip and wrapped a warm towel around her. “A horse trough is no substitute for the sea, liebling.”  


            Anna Ederle’s heart swelled as tickertape floated over her twenty-year-old daughter who waved to adoring fans lining Manhattan’s streets shouting, “Trudy! Trudy!”

            Slathered with lanolin and olive oil, Gertrude had conquered the English Channel in 14 hours and 31 minutes, beating records previously set by men.

            The press sang her praises. President Coolidge even invited her to the White House.

            Yet, she’d dodge the accolades in favor of a long swim. Anna grinned, remembering Gertie’s words when her brother pulled her from the horse trough.

            “When I’m in the water, I’m not in this world.”



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30 comments on “WATER BABY

  • I am so familiar with your habit of extreme research, that while you surprise me frequently, I am not surprised that you find a different twist in the ordinary. As you are a water baby yourself, I expected a great story. You didn’t disappoint. I also remember this picture of you, my little water baby.

    Liked by 2 people

  • I loved Gertrude Ederle when I was a kid. I learned about her in a book about the Battle of Britain where one of the characters looks out on the heavily mined channel and remarks that “Even Gertrude Ederle couldn’t swim this now.” Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      Gertrude is a new hero to me, joining the likes of Florence Chadwick who set a record the day I was born and Diana Nyad. I love to swim but will never go the distances they did. 😉 Thank you.




  • Masterfully written. You really knocked it out of the park this time, Rochelle.

    Thanks for the shout out on prompt-hosting, but you’re the one who deserves a gold medal. I don’t know how you manage from week to week. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Karen,

      Like Gertie, when I’m in the water, I’m not in this world. As soon as I read those words I knew where I was headed. Glad it worked. Thank you for your kind words. 😀

      Friday Fictioneers started out very small, I’m old. I think Madison said there were initially 8-10 participants. It averaged 20-30 when I joined. By my second year as facilitator we hit three digits. A lot had to do with catching the eye of Word Press. Each time they did an article about their favorite blog challenges, including FF, my following increased exponentially. Now we remain on a page they deem as favorites. (Now if I could just get all of those ‘followers’ to read my books…;) )

      You never know when Pegman just might take wing. It’s a great idea, even though I don’t adhere to location. 😉




  • Another well-written glimpse into history. I really wish I was that comfortable in the water. After being pushed into a pool aged ten, I didn’t learn to swim until I was a mother and feared for my children. I’m still not happy out of my depth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Liz,

      I’ve always adored the water. We joined a club when I was in first or second grade. I loved going off the diving board into the deep end. The lifeguard saw that I couldn’t swim and kept sending me back to the shallow end. My mother, who was terrified of water, immediately enrolled me in swimming lessons. I shall always be grateful to her for that.

      On the other hand I’m terrified of heights.

      Thank you. Shalom,



  • It’s interesting to consider the formative years in a famous person’s life isn’t it? What drove them? How did they get there? I love the way you bring such things to us. Loved the last line in this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Eric,

      Swimming is a subject near and dear to my heart. When I found Gertrude Ederle along the research trail, I couldn’t resist. The last line is a misquote from the lady herself and went straight to my heart. She captured the way I feel when I swim to a T. Thank you very much.



      Liked by 1 person

  • You knocked me over with this, dear Rochelle. I am still swimming oops reeling under the impact of your masterful writing. And like you i too have a fear of heights. As usual your stories, the way you weave slices of history onto them are a treat. a big Christmas treat, only that unlike Christmas, this comes unfailingly every single Friday, oops make Wednesday. Thanks again, Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Neel,

      I was once in a support group where we were asked to share our fantasy of what we someday wanted to do. Most in the group said sky diving. I said scuba diving. Go figure.

      Now with Pegman my stories show up more often. Oh the lure of those 50 extra words. Your comments, as always, make my head swell to twice its size.Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle


    This piece works on so many levels for me. So simple yet so deep. From conquering water troughs to devouring the English channel. Your graceful prose brings tears to my eyes, Thank you, Rochelle, thank you. For moving me. For teaching me how to swim.


    Liked by 1 person

  • Wow, Rochelle, one of my favourite pieces that you’ve written. You fooled me at first; knowing that you’re semi-aquatic, I thought the first section was about you, then I twigged that you were teaching us something new again. Gertrude is a heroine about whom, I’m sorry to say, I had no prior knowledge. Thank you.

    If you find yourself with 4 minutes and 22 seconds to spare, PLEASE go to youtube, type in “Victoria Wood swim the channel” and watch the clip about a fictional 12 year old girl attempting to swim the English Channel. The late Victoria Wood was an English comedian, actress, singer/songwriter, screenwriter, director and an absolute national treasure. The humour in this sketch might not cross the Atlantic intact, but the pathos should.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear JS,

      Before doing the research for what would become this story, I hadn’t heard of Gertrude Ederle either. Now, I’ll never forget her. If there had been horse troughs where we lived when I was a child I might have gone for a swim myself. 😉 Aside from having no aspirations to swim long distances, I related to Gertrude. Swimming is what calms me and bolsters my mood when nothing else can. I’m glad you like the story so well.

      I did watch the video. That was hilarious…although, sad at the same time. The ending left me with a lump in my throat. I might have to check out some more of Ms. Wood’s videos. Thank you for sharing that with me. And thank you for such a lovely comment.




      • One of the things I like about flash fiction is the way we pick up new knowledge without trying. Your stories often have that beneficial side-effect.
        I’m delighted you enjoyed the clip. Humour and sadness seem often to sit side-by-side side and Victoria Wood had the skills to write and act in a way which captured that brilliantly. Even she wasn’t infallible and some of her comedy specials didn’t quite match her usual work. However, the overwhelming majority of her sketches and the scenes in her sit-com (Dinner Ladies) are hilarious.
        Probably the best example of her serious acting is her role in Housewife, 49, a film for TV. It’s based on a detailed diary kept by a British housewife through World War II. Victoria won a BAFTA (British equivalent of Emmy) and shattered the illusions of anyone who’d seen her purely as a funny lady. If you get to watch that, have plenty of tissues to hand!


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