by Bree L.

Emotionally absent, that’s what I was while either drinking or thinking about drinking. When I got sober there came a time when I wanted to make my 9th Step amends to five daughters. The last part of the amends was to ask if I’d overlooked anything and ask if there was anything I could do to help heal our relationship. All went well with the children until I came to the last and oldest daughter, 35 year-old Karen. 

“Yes, there is something you can do, mother. Come spend a day with me at Glen Eden,” she said. Karen is a practicing nudist who attended Glen Eden, the nearby nudist colony.

Like a Garden of Eden with many, many Adams and Eves

“I’m not going with you. This is your deal. You are on your own,” my fiancé said. There was no negotiating on this topic and I really couldn’t play the “If you really loved me”  card. In all honesty, it was my responsibility to go, not his. Knowing it was my place to go to any lengths, we set a date.

The entrance to Glen Eden was through a small store selling an extensive array of suntan lotions next to a check-in desk. Karen and I registered and were soon met by Sue and Larry, muscular, tanned, wonderfully friendly, 50-ish (my vintage) and wearing large beach towels. We were escorted through a back door to their golf cart. 

“From here on it’s clothing optional,” Sue announced as they dropped their towels onto the leather seats and sat down. I quickly became the one towel-wrapped soul as we began the grand tour. Sue and Larry greeted everyone along the path, pointed out the tennis courts, the showers and the restaurant. No one wore clothes: Neither the tennis players, the bathers, nor the diners. All were tanned and toned in various degrees. Many less toned than tanned. There were hats and sneakers but no clothes. 

photo credits available upon request to [email protected]

“What brought you to Glen Eden?” Sue asked.

“It’s a mother daughter togetherness day,” I said.

“Then you’ve done this before?” Hard to see where she got that idea. I was eggshell white-wrapped, holding tight to my trusty towel.

“This is a special treat,” Karen said.

We bounced along in the golf cart. The leather seats were hot and sticky. I wanted to sit on my towel but that would mean disrobing.

“What does your husband think of your being here?” Larry asked.

“My mother’s not married,” Karen chimed in. “She’s engaged.” Luckily Karen knew the rule about unattached women. It supposedly contaminated the desired family atmosphere.

“This is lovely,” I said as we jostled along, just like a Garden of Eden with many, many Adams and Eves. 

She knows the lengths I will go to heal our wounds

“This is where the tour ends,” Larry said pulling the cart up to the pool. I looked out to a medium-sized pool, overflowing with swimmers and bathers. A badminton game was in play next to the pool’s fence. 

“There’s a couple of chairs,” Karen said as we made out way across the lawn. I stumbled along carrying my overflowing beach bag, my hat and my book while holding fast to my towel. Karen, tanned and slim, sprinted ahead to reserve chairs. My towel became burdensome and slowly slipped down. There were no cat calls or pointed fingers. I expected comments or at least stares but no one cared. 

“Make sure you put on plenty of lotion,” Karen warned. Absolutely, there was more of me in too many places and no camouflaging towel. I did note that I wasn’t the fattest seal on the beach. So I slathered down and sank into a book, while balancing between being overly inquisitive and comatose. It became business as usual.

We went to lunch at a small restaurant. No one was clothed except the fry cook, who wore an apron. Throughout the day, I laughed and repeated my mantra, if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, which wasn’t completely accurate but it kept my vision at eye level.

After completing the nude 9th, my relationship with Karen is now at an all-time high. She knows the lengths I will go to heal our wounds. That trip to Glen Eden was the beginning. I had the opportunity to figuratively walk in Karen’s shoes (that is, only her shoes). 

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