My Turn: Remembering a nudist colony
It wasn't the best of ideas, but somehow it just happened.
We were on our way upstate to a resort hotel, which was, in fact, more of a boardinghouse with a porch and a pool. In the '70s, anything that took you out of New York in the summer was considered a resort.
We were traveling with another couple who were more my husband's friends than mine. I hadn't asked too many questions about the place as I was glad to get away for the weekend.
When we arrived at the hotel, I realized to my chagrin it was a hippy nudist camp. At that time, it was cool to do daring things like take off all your clothes and sit around the pool, pretending you don't notice anything unusual about the situation.
The couple running the place were faux yoga instructors who were, in fact, cashing in on all the crazy fads of the times.
We had to decide whether to unpack, strip and join the others at the pool or leave. We decided to stay. After all, this was an adventure. I was much younger then and wasn't as concerned about how I looked. The trouble was that the other couple weren't so fortunate in their body parts. The male counterpart needed to lose a few pounds, to say the least, and was a tad squeamish about exposing himself to public scrutiny.
We cajoled and pleaded until he was embarrassed to say no. In retrospect, it would have been wise for him to bolt -- and we should have, too.
We proceeded out to the pool area scantily covered up. My friends and I were from another generation and more modest, no matter how well you were put together.
Men and women were sitting and standing around, trying to look very cool and blasé.
What a disappointment. There is nothing more unappealing than nude bodies exhibiting their flesh in an unimaginative surrounding. Flab and bulges were the most unappetizing sight your eyes could see. What the point of the whole thing was, I couldn't fathom. The novelty was wearing thin very rapidly.
The notion that your body is your temple and nothing to be ashamed of somehow didn't hold up. Ruins was more like it.
Men were sitting around in assorted poses, trying not to appear to ogle the assorted breasts on display. All were examining the available wares before them, trying not to get caught seeming too gauche.
There were married women looking around to see if they had been cheated in their choice of a mate and those who were more interested in displaying themselves than in being a voyeur.
Bare feet revealed bunions and corns; legs with varicose veins were seen on both species. Men -- probably shoe salesmen trying to look hip -- wore their hair long and in ponytails.
The view from the rear as the women walked by was another story. Giggly behinds shaking like Jell-O as they strutted about. Big ones, little ones, wrinkly ones, all shapes and sizes. High, shelflike buttocks and low-slung glutes pulled down by gravity. If nothing else, it was interesting to note the variety of configurations man had been endowed with.
Flat stomachs were few and far between. Men who had overindulged for years in their eating habits were rampant. They had no place to hide their blown up bellies.
The women were a little more appealing, having dieted themselves into an acceptable appearance. On the sidelines were young women with hairy legs and armpits, flaunting the back-to-nature movement.
At dinner that night, there was definitely an improvement in eye appeal. The guests, with their bodies clothed, looked almost desirable.
A buffet was served with a variety of vegetarian dishes and an assortment of tasteless grain casseroles in keeping with the current notion that this was healthy food good for your spiritual life. Also, it was cheaper for the owners to serve.
The evening mountain air was lovely as the aroma of pot wafted by as you strolled around the grounds.
We decided to check out the next morning, having had enough of the spectacle, and proceeded to the next adventure -- a dude ranch, the exact antithesis of our last folly.
I was almost crushed by a horse as he decided to lie down and take a rest before I could get off. The horses in their natural beauty were definitely more desirable than the shapes we left behind.
Another fiasco in the making but too long to expound upon in one telling.
Maxine Stone,Great NeckReading between the (age) lines
Some things change, and some things do not change. I noticed a big change in my life.
Suddenly, people were so polite! They were opening doors for me. They were offering to help carry my packages.
Usually New Yorkers are known for their pushy, aggressive mannerisms. I was surprised at this new development. One day, I looked in the mirror. This was the raison d'être, or reason to be for everything.
There was a line between my eyebrows. There were lines from my nose to my mouth. There were fine lines everywhere; but these lines didn't look so fine to me. We know everyone ages, but when did it happen to me?
Of course, there are "senior moments." In the middle of a sentence, you lose your train of thought. I studied for my second master's degree at an advanced age. It took me longer to study, but my approach to the subjects was wiser and more experienced. My mother lived till 92, but will I?
There are so many illnesses peculiar to old age. Macular degeneration of the eyes is common. When you are listening to someone, there is an explosive silence that erupts like a ball of dust. You lose your hearing.
When is it time to hand over your car keys or your finances for someone else to manage?
The most feared disease of all is the Big A -- Alzheimer's. Where did you leave your car keys? You went downstairs to get something. Why did you walk downstairs? You walk into your walk-in closet to find your gray Nubuck shoes. You search the closet. When you walk out, there are those shoes on the bed. You forgot you already took them out. Is it normal aging or dementia? Is it leading to Alzheimer's?
Dr. Oz shows on TV a normal brain and an Alzheimer's brain. The Alzheimer's brain had a hole in it. The tissues were actually worn away.
Sometimes, your balance is off. How many people do we see with canes or walkers? Some people will stay sharp and even drive a car into their 90s.
We're living longer and healthier. Science, technology and education changed our behavior. We are displaying optimal nutritional habits that help us survive many diseases and give us a better quality of life.
Every stage in life presents a new challenge, and we learn to cope with it. One thing is for sure -- old age is not for sissies.
Lillian Lippman, Merrick