The Bathing Suit

Judi Meirowitz Tischler

Swimming is our Family Sport. My three kids love it as do their children. Some families bike, hike or play football together. We swim. My parents, brothers, and I grew up without much disposable income, swimming was a good choice, requiring no equipment other than proper swim attire. Even that can be improvised or dispensed with altogether.

We prefer lakes. Ocean is ok but too much to contend with especially the sand and the absence of shade. Pools, in the colder months are a poor substitute. We are not fond of chlorine and smelling like laundry. Swimming in a lake feels like an adventure, especially if an occasional fish glides by or tadpoles and frogs show up near the shore.

I traveled abroad in my 20’s. Having gotten her first passport, my mother joined me for a week. It was summer and of course in planning our time together we each packed a bathing suit.

Mom splurged and got an expensive one at an upscale New York Department Store. We rented a car and laid out a three-day road trip. Our goal was to see some countryside and to hit two lakes a day. Using a paper map, it was easy to see the lakes and their proximity to the roads. It went swimmingly. For the rest of my mother’s life, we fondly recalled our only vacation together as mother and daughter.

Not all swimming adventures go as smoothly.
In my 30’s I was married to a clergyman with a stodgy congregation.
I was the mother of a four-year old and we moved into our new community during a heat wave. The town’s tourist material boasted a lake.
Daughter in tow, I found what I would generously call a shallow swimming hole. It would have to do.

Into the water we went. We splashed around and played in the mud.
I had not yet been introduced to the congregation members but someone had spotted us. An emergency meeting of the Board of Directors was called. It was reported that the Pastor’s wife was seen at the lake in a green two -piece bathing suit. “We can’t have this level of immodesty representing our congregation”, was the rallying cry.

The item described was barely a two- piece: no cleavage, no belly button but two pieces nonetheless. This scandal followed me throughout my husband’s tenure. I heard that it was retold when considering his replacement years later.

Now in my 70’s, I live in an empty nest that is too large to maintain, but I have no plans to downsize. It is a three-minute walk from my front door to the lake. This summer I have been going early in the morning. A few other older ladies gather at that time. Confidently attired in our one-piece suits we grin and say: “Good Morning”. Gracefully someone steps forward to be the first. In she goes, up to her knees, then to her waist. Each in turn, we plunge beneath the surface and with a kick and a stroke emerge in the deep water. No one peers at us, no one reports us. We can float free and belly up, grateful for a beautiful day.

This entry was posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Attitudes about aging, Older women connecting, Our bodies, our health, Traveling and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Bathing Suit

  1. Diane Rausch says:

    Awe the Pharisees of judgement… A innocent act of joy with her child turned into judgment… Hopefully today the majority won’t be quick to judge but to see the beauty as GOD does..Woohooo for her continuing to be herself and enjoy the joy of swimming

  2. How wonderful the author did not let other’s opinions, or time, diminish the joy of swimming, something that has given her such pleasure, many experiences, and beautiful memories over the years of her life.
    Gail Braverman

  3. Marilyn says:

    Such a lovely story. Many thanks for sharing such beautiful memories. It brought such a feeling of nostalgia to me. Swimming is also my favorite pastime. It was a wonderful way to begin the my day.

  4. Jan Johnson says:

    Interesting that the parishioners concentrated on the bathing suit instead of the lovely time spent between mother and child.

  5. Pata says:

    Lovely story.

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