Memoirs of my June 2000 trip to the Eastern Naturist Gathering, Eastover Resort, Lenox, Massachusetts, USA
Eastover was wonderful. I was there Monday thru Thursday (alas-- I had to leave on business.) I arrived late Monday; in time for dinner. The weather was clear, sunny and bright. I was "more comfortably dressed' in no time. Dinner was in The Pines. George W from Pilgrim found me and I joined him for dinner. I was making new friends in no time. I love the Solstice. You can do so much in a single day. There was time left for volleyball before the long shadows fell.
Tuesday was volleyball heaven. After breakfast and some browsing at the bazaar I joined a pick up game of nude coed volley ball. Fortunately I did not spare the sun block. It was bright and sunny with a breeze that kept us from roasting. I played for hours and had a ball. I believe that same day we took on the Staff and swept them 3 games to none. They were good sports as always and dinner afterwards was excellent. After dinner, doused with Off to ward off mosquitoes we took the hay ride down to the camp fire. It was jokes, songs and merriment for three quarters hour while some roasted marshmallows on a roaring fire. A little generosity with my bug spray (which I was liberally giving away) won me a beer. What more could a guy ask for?
That night my friend Jane arrived and we signed up to get a bag lunch for our trip to The Ledges. The next morning was cooler and overcast but we headed out about 10 figuring the clouds would blow over and give us a good day. The ride was longer than we anticipated. The sky stayed overcast but not threatening. The water level was high when we got there. Our "beach front" was rather limited and the water was rather cold. Those that had arrived earlier were pulling up stakes to head back. We figured we would take one quick dip (We couldn't go all that way just to look) and have our lunch and leave. Still we were with naturist and they were friendly and the conversation pleasant. Our patience paid off. By 2pm the clouds had passed over and the sun was burning bright. It was warm enough to hazard another longer swim and then bask on the warm ledge. Then we were ready to make our way back to Eastover.
We were back in time to join a discussion on naturism going on in The Pines. We talked about our fears and concerns about talking to people about naturism. Some feared how they might jeopardize their jobs if their employer found out. Others felt that they might face elder abuse if they practiced naturism at home because of a live in in-law. We each had some concern whether it involved our children or our neighbors or our parents or someone else. Morley, of NAC, shared with us his experiences of being a teacher and being an active advocate of naturism. And I guess that showed us it can be done. We can be naturists without being 'in the closet'. We still have to use good judgement but we don't have to fear reprisals. I think we all became a little bolder after this day.
Dinner followed and was delicious again. Not only that, my friends Maureen and Peter from New Hampshire and Karen and Paul from Toronto had arrived. Now, it had been a year since I had last seen Karen and Paul and even though we correspond often by email I very much wanted to catch up with them as only talking together can. We had dinner together; again under the sky, and talked about our families and our triumphs and trials and how naturism has tied us together.
Soon after, our own musical-opera troop was to perform a musical review at the recreation hall, Tally Ho. We hurried down for good seat. Lead by Larry L and Paul K. they entertained us for more than an hour with music by the satirist Tom Lehrer. It was Marvelous! I could hardly believe I was almost singing along as they acted out such memorable greats as: "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.", "Who's next?", "An Irish Ballad (sing rickety tickety tin)" and "Be Prepared".
After the musical the disco came alive. As the DJ cranked the music people of all ages, from fully dressed to mostly or fully nude slid onto the dance floor. And it all worked. We were all together free to dance and be ourselves together. I guess being free to shed our clothes and still feel comfortable and complete and whole and safe is part of what draws us together. Together, we textiles, nudists and naturists overcame our fears, anxieties, and phobias. But the sense of acceptance ran deeper than that. If we had fears of what illness would do to our bodies or what aging would do to our sense of acceptance or how someone else's gender preference would put us off we faced it there. We got beyond that even without realizing it. And as I saw one woman, dancing with four of her friends, slowly, very slowly, choose to transform herself from textile to nude I realized that she too had found her place in naturism. As the room got warmer Jane and I stepped onto the patio and continued to dance in the night in the wonderful freshness of a summer rain.
The next day was hard for me because I knew it would be my last. I had to leave early on business. That day was sunny and bright. Breakfast was by the pool and I met Karen and Paul again. Paul gave me a copy of "Going Natural" the magazine of the FCN, Canada's naturist organization. As I flipped thru it I saw a picture of a lady and her daughter-- The same one's I had met at dinner with Paul and Karen the evening before. The story was titled, Still A Naturist One Year Later. It attested to the fact that naturism has staying power in families.
The afternoon turned hot and I decided to forgo more volleyball in favor of the pool. Karen and Paul and I swam in the indoor pool first. The water was quite warm. The wall at the shallow end was fashioned into a rustic waterfall the width of the pool. Still, the weather was just too nice to stay inside. Karen and I went to the outdoor pool which was just a shade cooler. My friends Jane and Chris joined us. It was just then I remembered something and asked if they were willing to go along. Since my last vacation I had a single use underwater camera with some film left. They all agreed it would be alright for me to take pictures of them swimming and diving and that's what we did. It was fabulous and we had a ball. Most of the pictures were taken from 4 to 6 feet down looking up as they skimmed along the surface. I hope they come out well.
My week had quickly come to an end. There were many good byes to say. Still, it was finally time to say fare well. I gave Karen a fond hug good bye and departed.