Note: I have just updated my popular article about how to do well with money. - Eolake
NUDE ENGLAND SURPRISE
The mission was to get me out of the New York City pollution for a few weeks so I could clear my lungs. I also needed to clear my head by removing myself from the noise and distractions of the city that never sleeps. The mission coordinator was my younger brother who still had a few weeks of summer left before heading back to college. Mission financing came from our parents who provided the 1965, 4-cylinder Ford Mustang. Yes, Ford really bothered to put a wimpy 4-cylinder engine in that great muscle car. Anyhow, it was moms car and she even provided gas money.
It was 1969 and the spirit of the Summer of Love was strong. Some of our friends had just returned from a music festival in the Catskill Mountain region with stories of free love and people wandering naked through the woods and bathing together in lakes and streams unashamed.
My brother and I hit the road and drove through the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains. We had a loose agenda but our first stop was a friends strawberry farm in Bath, New Hampshire. The only times I saw these folks before was in NY City, the last time being several months previous, in late winter. They bought this rural farm several years before and were growing strawberries, sunflowers, and marijuana. The strawberries were their cash crop and the sunflowers shielded the marijuana plants from the eyes of law enforcement officials. Actually, the local police department consisted of a chief of police and one patrol officer, both of whom knew of the field and visited the farm regularly to replenish their stash.
Our plan was to stop for a day or two to visit and score some weed for our trip. What we got was far more enjoyable and mid-expanding than pot.
Bath, NH was a small community, I think the population at the time was under 500, and everyone knew everyone. Whenever there was an event or even just a happening, everyone knew about it including the students at the very liberal private college not far from Bath. The arrival of the strangers from out of town (my brother and I) was big news and a few of the students came by the farm shortly after we arrived to meet us. There were several very attractive young women in the group who welcomed us warmly and invited us to join them later at the swimming spot. The old swimming hole on the Ammonoosuc River was the kind of place that everyone local knew about and only they knew its whereabouts. Our hosts at the farm nodded knowingly, suggesting that we accept the invitation. OK. We will see you later, we told the collegians.
After they left, we told our hosts that we didnt pack swim suits for this trip. Thats OK, suits are optional at the swimmin hole, they said. Now our interest was really piqued.
A little family history before continuing with the story; my brother and I shared a room for many years in our parents house but always dressed and undressed discreetly. Our mother believed in the Victorian ideal of purity, modesty, and plenty of clothes. So, in all those years of sharing a room, we had seldom seen each other naked.
One of the farm workers volunteered to be our guide to the swim spot. We parked our car in a field by the side of the road, scrambled over an old stone fence, and ran through the field for about a quarter mile towards a line of trees. We could hear the river before we could see it, a smooth flowing sound beyond the tree line. Our guide pointed to a spot in the line of trees and we passed through to wonderland. There were at least 100 naked young women and men swimming or lying in the sun on the rock ledge above the river. People were relaxing, conversing, tubing down the river, jumping into the river from the rock ledge all very normal activities but done completely in the nude.
We recognized some of the young women we met at the farm, now undressed and looking fabulous. They said the water was fine but a bit cold and invited us to jump in with them. It took my brother and I a split second to shed our mothers Victorian ideals along with our clothes and join them in a leap from the ledge into the cool, inviting waters of the Ammonoosuc. We spent the next several hours swimming and lying in the sun, aware of our bodies but not shy or ashamed. The spirit of the Summer of Love reigned and everyone enjoyed the kinship, completely naked without any inhibitions. Even to this day, it stands out in my mind as one of the best days of my life.
My brother and I spoke of the experience a few times after that. We no longer had a hang-up about being naked in front of one another and, thinking about it now, it was probably one of those experiences that helped us form a healthier, more open-minded view of nudity.
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Happy 14th, DOMAI!
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