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My Blog

Summer Tans

Good morning everyone.  The forecasters are predicting rain again.  I am not sure what will happen....they have predicted rain for a number of days and nothing has happened...but I am not complaining. The weather has been a bit funny this summer.  Cooler than usual.  If I were young again, I wonder what I would think about it ?  Since Memorial Day I have passed the pool in our town and noticed very few people there.  This is the pool that used to be jammed packed to the rim with people.  I think the weather has a lot to do with this...or summer swimming has  not peaked yet.  It made me think about when I was young. We never had any elaborate pool growing up...just the old standard blowups that were filled with water.  I splashed around like a little fish, played with my plastic boats and squeezable plastic fish that blew water out of it's mouth.  Later, as the years went, by we got one of those larger pools that stood maybe 2 feet high. This one had a wire circle that was considered the wall and there was a blue liner that went inside and there were these clamps that snapped on the top.  It was one really long coil-like tube that had a slit in it. I remember how difficult it was to get in done at one time.  You would always get so far and then the beginning would start to pop up.  When you assembled the pool you definitely needed a partner to help.  Our next door neighbor had one as well.  During the summer we would take turns going back and forth to each others house to swim. We played games in the water.  You know the kind.  We would take turns holding our breath underneath the water to see who could do it the longest.  We would throw things like pennies under ,and see who could find the most.  We swam all day long, with mothers or grandmothers every so often, sticking their heads out the windows to tell us to put on suntan lotion. 
Eventually, I outgrew the 2 foot pools and graduated to the park swimming pools.  There were 2, but neither were close.  You needed to ride your bike a bit to get to them.  One was at Riis Park near Naragansett and Fullerton and the other was Blackhawk Park, Ii as on Lavergne Ave and  it was in the opposite direction from Riis Park down Fullerton heading towards Cicero Ave  Blackhawk was closer, but in was indoors, but I  loved water, so I made the bicycle ride.  When I finally got to be a  teen, I then decided that the beach was the way to go.  So I would board the Fullerton Ave. bus and ride all the way to the end and then walk the rest of the way to the Fullerton Ave Beach on Lake Michigan.  As I got even older, I graduated from that beach to the North Ave. Beach, and when I started to drive it was the Oak St. Beach. 
Now I must say, I spent my teen years mostly at the beach.  It was as though you thought you might win a prize if you had the best tan in town. 
I know that when I was young, Coppertone was the lotion that was used, I eventually graduated to  Tropical tan lotion and finally around the age of 15 I began to use baby oil with iodine in it.  You would shake it up and slather it on.  It was what I used for the best tan ever.  One of my neighbors was married, and she would try tanning in the yard while she was home with her kids. When I would come home from the beach, I remember comparing our tans by putting our arms next to each other over the fence. 
What we didn't do for a tan back then...I remember, trying to get an early start on a tan one year as a teen.  My mother had bought this sun lamp, and I used it one day.  You had to put on these teeny little glasses  on so the light didn't burn your eyelids, and then lay under it.  Well, I hate to tell you what happened, but I must...I fell asleep under that dumb thing and when I woke up I had the worst sun burn I had ever experienced in my lifetime.  I stayed up in the attic apartment for about a week.  Covered myself in Noxzema, that was a cream that many used for sun burns and walk around without clothes, because the burn was so bad  that nothing could touch your skin.  I remember trying to sit or lay down on anything was a nightmare. And then, to think that after all that suffering, I peeled and never received a tan from that.  First and last time using something artificial. 
Funny how things like a sun tan can preoccupy a teenagers mind.  I remember dating a young man that I was in the theater with.  We co-starred in a few plays together and naturally began dating.  Well he was also consumed with the idea of having the best tan...only he had read somewhere to use olive oil and vinegar  I always laughed because when we would go to the beach and lay down on our beach towels, I always told him he smelled like a salad.  He would always respond with "Well, you smell like a newborn baby!"  Hmm...which of those statements sound more endearing? 
By the time I was in my teens,  they put in this large 4 foot pool in the back yard.  It was my little cousin's pool.  Boy, things were changing.  They were just little tikes and had a 4 foot pool...At their ages I was in a blow up pool.  Anyway, I got to go swimming in there as well, it was nice to have the big floating blowup lounger and just float around and then those little tikes would always go under the water  and turned it over on me. 
Years went by and I married, and of course went through the swimming pools with my girls....then they had things like filters and chemicals to keep the pools clean.  They would swim at our house and then later they had a friend who had a very large pool and they would go there.  Seems that pools were always part of my life...but mostly the sun tanning.  Whether I was in or out of the pool, it was the tan in the end that counted. 
As even more years strolled past, I eventually was in a pool again with my granddaughter, swimming around playing games, We now played things like I was Ursula and she was Ariel from the  little mermaid.  Hours and hours were spent outdoors under the sun, tanning away. 
Now that I am older, I love the sun, but the sun doesn't love me as much.  I am always getting sun stroke or heat stroke.  I now know to put on the SP sun tan lotions, I wear large brimmed hats, I repeatedly water myself down.  Now I always wonder whether it is the age the medicines, or that finally I have no longer a need for getting a tan?  Maybe one or all of the above contribute to it. 
I now hear my granddaughters talk about their tans and how great it is....I see history repeating itself.  I tell them stories about the dangers of a sunburn, the talks now about skin cancers because of too much sun exposure.  They seem to roll their eyes...I guess I might have done the same when I was a teen if they told us that, but back then there was nothing to worry about that the adults knew except to not get sun burned because of how painful it was.  
And now, you can even buy a tan.  Back in my day, who would have ever thought.  Of course you can go to a tanning booth....no way....that is just like that sun tan light I had years ago, only difference I guess is that you are monitored there.  And you can buy lotions that you lather on....not to go suntannng...it literally changes your skin tone.  Or you can now get sprayed.  Who would of ever imagined that you can go somewhere and have someone spray your tan right on for you. I am not quite sure which is worse, the tanning or risking the burn ,or the chemicals that are sucked into your body? 
I might look more like a lily these days, but that is just fine with me. 

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