by CHEFFIELD LORCA
My assignment: Go to a newly opened West Coast nudist camp and interview sunbathers. Who says so? My publisher. Scared to death. Must shed clothes and inhibitions. Three martinis on the jet flight fortified my resolve.
I got the feeling of being in some Scandinavian countryside as I motored down the Pacific Highway near Malibu Beach, California, heading in the direction of the Stonewall Manor Naturist Park. The ocean roared and the jagged rocks rose out of the sea in beautiful formations a sight to thrill the Easterner who thinks he’s seen everything!
As I rounded the many bends with steep mountains rising along the highway, I saw a sign that said: “Four miles to Stonewall Manor. Keep right.”
I arrived at what looked like a wooded retreat deep in the woods of Southern California. A specially built gate informed the visitor to ring a bell and someone would come to greet him. I waited only a few minutes when a girl in her late teens drove to the gate to meet me in a new station wagon. She introduced herself and I showed my identification.
“Oh, we’ve been looking forward to meeting with you. I’m happy to see you came on a sunny day. Everyone is out in full force!”
We drove to the main area of the camp and I thought the sight of so many lovely, tanned young people was thrilling. But how would I manage to convey to the outside world the joys these sunwor-shipers experience? Why do they shun convention and come here when so many of the majority of Americans consider nudists to be eccentrics?
I met the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Todd Lefler, a middle-aged couple who said they wanted the press to see for them-selves how nudists in their retreat behaved. They invited this reporter to take off h is clothes and check them with the main cabin. “You’ll get the feel of our camp better if you are one of us/’ Mr. Lefler said.
Well, I was reluctant to part with my duds but in the interests of objectivity, I consented. When you first strip and enter the nudist world, you expect the naturists to stare at the newcomer but this did not happen. Much to my relief! In fact, as you can suppose, if I had walked fully clothed out into their midst as they swam and frolicked over the grounds, I would have been really conspicuous—the last thing I wanted to be!
I was invited to sit with six couples and their children. Among the men were business executives for the aerospace industry and others were salesmen, a teacher and a young medical student.
They were sipping lemonade and enjoying the swift breezes that drifted across the surrounding mountains from the Pacific, only a few miles away. The scene was indeed like an idyll. I could easily see why anyone with a feeling for life and vitality in his veins would love the life of the nudist!
A Mr. Everette, 26, of Stockton, was an appealing conversationalist and told me much about gymnosophist ideals. “I hope that more outsiders like you come to nudist camps because I believe many people are afraid to visit one. We’re friendly people and won’t bite!” he said, smiling. “I used to go nude in the privacy of my home; my wife and kids, too. But we wanted to share our happiness in living this way with others, or even in a community of nudists where we could play together and come on weekends and holidays/’
Marjorie and Bruce Clark were another couple who sought the freedom to explore nature with others. They had one 14-year-old boy at home who they said was “too shy to join us here but he’ll be coming out soon!”
Nudists love the vigorous sports that build strong bodies and alert minds. I counted 17 teenage boys engaged in a tumbling and wrestling session and they were having the time of their lives competing with each other!
A few nudists wore sandals and kerchiefs and nothing else! The combination was always odd looking for we ordinary outsiders wear clothes not for function alone but to cover our parts up arbitrarily.
A splendidly developed boy of 15 volunteered to show me around the camp; we stopped to play horseshoes and watch a virile game of tennis. Not for an instant was there any evidence of immoral activity of any kind in the activities I observed. Nudists were not preoccupied with the sexual sights that usually attract the ordinary person’s attention on seeing naked persons. This, I felt, coincided with the popular preachings of those nudist films that nudism is concerned with the body as a wholesome instrument and not the object of sexual desire.
Daniella, a 10-year-old blonde girl with sky-blue eyes, took my hand and introduced me to her playmates. Little children only 2 or 3 were having the time of their life digging their shovels into the sandboxes and making mud pies. What an excellent way for human beings to learn to socialize with others, I thought!
That night the Stonewall Manor Natur-ist Park had a folksong contest and a twin-brother act, Jimmy and Phil, two robust and handsome teenagers, twanged their instruments and sang familiar country and Western folk tunes to the delight of an appreciative audience of 200 California nudists.
A fireplace spread its orange glow all over the walls and the sight was unforgettable. This was a fellowship of people who know well the pleasures that living close to nature can bring. I wanted to share in their happiness because it was a contagious thing.
The next day came and with it I was given a rousing farewell by camp officials and, dressed in my stuffy sport coat and slacks, I drove away, anxious to one day come back to this wonderful land of the sun!
THE AMERICAN SUNBATHER
ISSUE: Number 1, March 1967
Publisher: American Sunbather and Nudist Review