The personal entries of 5 bathing beauties


Glenda Butler: Born 1939. I was too young to be a war bride for WWII or even Korea, and too smart to be a war bride for Vietnam. I guess I was bound to be either one of those helmet-headed blondes who moved to the suburbs in 1961 and thereafter suffered from chronic housewife anoxia, or a first string hippie, or a bra-burning feminist, or a martyred social worker struggling for the rights of the oppressed, or a cashier lady who worked at the Piggly Wiggly until I saved up enough to retire and go see the pyramids.

Elsie Welfland: Born 1933. I witnessed the invention of plastic, the monkey in the Sputnik, the Genesis and Apollo. My favorite foods were frozen dinners with little peas and astronaut meat and reconstituted potatoes. We ate all together in the parlor in front of the TV; the room was dark and we all sat close enough so that I could touch my husband with one hand, my daughter with the other, and put my foot on my son’s back. He liked to lie on the floor with his face too close, even though I told him not to. In 1971, my son went to Vietnam. I don’t know who came back.

Sophie Bernard: Born 1934. Started dancing the day I heard Elvis. I don’t know if it was the music or just the excitement of doing the wrong thing. That is something I’ve always been wild for, doing the wrong thing. Smoking, driving too fast, sleeping with women, throwing money around. I’m looking forward to this reunion.

Mary Wright: Born 1940. I couldn’t wait to get back to the land. I planted and tilled and watered and baked and birthed for 20 solid years. My son looked just like Howdy-Doody; I can’t tell you how much I loved that. He made me laugh from the day he was born. I grew the biggest squash ever in the history of Acorn county. That picture is hanging in the grange museum, even to this day.

Opal Sanders: Born 1936. My name was originally Ofelia Sandoval, but no way I was getting into that contest with a name like that. We moved from Texas, but told everyone we were from Oregon, which was far enough away that no one wanted to check it out. I swam 5-6 hours a day. I can still see the legs, the bubbles, the sun breaking through the water.



1 Response to “The personal entries of 5 bathing beauties”

  1. 1 Trucie August 1, 2006 at 3:45 am

    This is a beautifully crafted piece, Teresa. Gentle, but it gets under your skin – well done.

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