Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C ~ Camponella Swim Party




These are the continuing adventures of a Swedish immigrant during her first year as an American. She boldly went where she'd never gone before...please come along on Adventures in America.

For this story to make sense, I think you need to know a bit about the neighborhood I used to live in, and the neighborhood we lived in our first year in America.

In Sweden, we lived on a dead end street, which was an off-shoot of another dead-end street. Kids lived everywhere. If you wanted to play with someone, you knocked on a door and asked. No arranged “play dates”.

The neighborhood we moved into used to be a “regular” neighborhood, but had now been zoned commercial, and there were very few kids around. In fact, appalling to me, we had parking meters IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE.

However, we did manage to meet one family who lived diagonally from us. They were a large family, don't recall how many kids, but at least the two youngest still lived at home, and The Nutritionist made sure that we'd become friends. She invited them over to play.

It was a hot day, and we had one of those pools in the backyard that has the hard sides, and if you have a pesky little brother, all he has to do is push one of those sides down to drain the water. Of course, he had two older sisters who were equally pushy (Ok, I'd never call Swissie pushy, but you know me. PUSHY.) He did not get away with that more than once.

So here we are, the Camponella (names have been changed to protect those who prefer not to be nude in public) kids are over, it's summer, it's HOT. A kind of hot that Swedes rarely experience, and though we had glorious air-conditioning (oh my, what a wonderful invention) my mother liked for us to play outside.

I can't believe that when I went through the albums I found a picture of that exact afternoon. As you can see, my little brother had to be, um, edited for the sake of my PG rating...


The pool beckoned. I was going to loan a suit to the older daughter who was probably somewhere near the age of me and Swissie, but the little brother couldn't lend a suit because DataBoy was 2 at this time. So of course, as normal Swedish folks, we said, “You don't need a bathing suit, just take your clothes off.” In Sweden, kids don't really wear bathing suits until they're quite a bit older, as I recall, 6 or 7. (The Swede will probably correct me, but remember, these are MY recollections from over 38 years ago...) They were appalled. And went home.

I don't remember if we ever got to play with them again, but we probably did. I'm fairly certain The Nutritionist made amends with Mrs. Camponella and explained the cultural differences and all that stuff. However, I don't think they ever used our pool.

P.S After going through the photo albums, choosing pictures for my series, I found lots of pictures with the Camponellas, so we DID get to play with them again.  Inside.

32 comments:

Chris said...

I love a trip down memory lane and your story reminds me of my days as a child. I can remember a wadding pool made from canvas [it held the water for a good day or two] and if the garden sprinkler was near by we would spend hours running and jumping through the water. Showing my age here.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. gosh no clothes - no worries in England .. when we were small. Interesting that it was taboo at that stage in the States ..

I'm not sure we had a pool .. perhaps later on for my younger brother .. but sprinklers and loud screams of joy as we played around.

Getting to know you .. is appropriate here - establishing the norms for a new country! Fun .. just wish it was warm enough for that here! Cheers for now - Hilary

Carolyn Branch said...

Love your title. And I agree, Life is good. Your photo and swimming pool story could almost come straight from my memory box. Small children aren't always required to wear swimming suits in my corner of backwoods Missouri.

Fun post. I'll be back.
Carolyn@carolynpaulbranch.com

Rowena May O'Sullivan said...

I love your trip down memory lane. I remember days like that here in New Zealand. We used to play on the streets, playing tennis, riding our bikes and would just move off the road if a car came down and then take over the road once again.

And bathing naked? Hmmm. Don't recall doing that, but I'm sure I did as a wee young thing. Of course, if you saw me naked now on a beach or in a pool, you'd probably find most people reaching for their towels and running as fast as they could!

Dani said...

We are not Swedes and it was what my parents said too. We lived out in the country so if you were a boy you just wipped it out to pee. And to play in the pool... I've let my littles go stark-naked. Loving your adventures!

Brian Miller said...

ha....we went nude at an early age as well...dont remember when that line is that we stopped....or at least the intentions changed...ha....def brought back some of my own memories tina

Ida Chiavaro said...

Cross cultural differences like this always make me giggle - what an adjustment.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just swim naked - why not? You guys were in the backyard after all.

JoJo said...

Europeans have a much healthier attitude about the body, and sex too. I wasn't even allowed to have a two piece.

Jolie du Pre said...

The United States is ridiculous about nudity. We are such prudes. I travel a lot, and nudity is no big deal in many of the countries I've been to, such as France. (It's no big deal for French mothers to swim topless in the Mediterranean Sea with their children.)

tom gillespie said...

lovely and evocative.. a beautiful post

Jennifer said...

This was so much fun to read! We live in the country and the naked thing is really no big deal for little ones. I grew up in the ciy, however, and it was very different there. :)

Jeremy [Retro] said...

hey if it helps... i am neked reading your post... :)

Jeremy [Retro]
AtoZ Challenge Co-Host
Oh No, Let's Go... Crazy

LuAnn said...

Enjoyed this post. I had a little pool like that many moons ago.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

It's so wonderful that this A-Z Blogging Challenge is giving you time to reflect on those times from the past. I loved the backyard pool pic!

Laura Marcella said...

Hi, Tina! Old photos are hilarious, aren't they? What a fun trip down memory lane! Where you lived sounds like a great place to grow up.

Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Frances Stiles said...

I love going through old family photos! Such fun~

myriteofpassage said...

There's nothing like being an expat to make you remember the past in such vivid detail. Thanks for sharing your story.

Molly Page said...

Your photo album looks like it's a treasure chest! Can't wait to see more discoveries as we make it through the alphabet.

Robin said...

So many things to adjust to here in America. Play dates. A parking meter in front of your house? That is just crazy. I would hate living in a highly commercial area. That would be particularly difficult after living on a dead-end street that was always filled with kids. Gah. That pool story was priceless. And loved the ending.

Inside. Hahahaha.

Jo said...

Cute story, oh those cultural differences.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Silvia Villalobos said...

Play dates ... we never had them either. Parents did their thing, we did ours. Not a lot of pools, but we went to the lake. Always with a swim suit on. :)

Banker Chick said...

Wow, we Americans so uptight about nudity! What a fun remembrance.

Sue McPeak said...

Fun Post, Pushy! Kids are kids, and cultural differences aren't ususally an issue when it comes to play. I'd say ya'll were pretty lucky to have a pool. I'd been there wearin' my cotton big girl panties...no problem showin' of my flat top...and that's not my hair style, I had pigtails.

In Texas we often cooled off at the windmill tank and the main reason our friends didn't join us was my younger brother. He watered the tank right through his tightiwhites. It didn't seem to bother the cows, tho.
Sue~CollectInTexasGal
AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

Andrea said...

Phew! Glad you were able to make more memories after that with the C's

Amy "Lyre" Turner said...

Ah, pushy kids draining the pools. Fortunately, I had minimal encounters with such kids as I was rarely in those kinds of pools. Didn't really know any nude swimmers, but then, most of my swimming was at public pools!

What an interesting memory!

queenofenglish said...

Americans can be a little uptight about nudity. Wonderful memory!

Rhonda Parrish said...

LOL Cultural differences are funny things, aren't they? I enjoyed this story, and the edited photograph from your childhood.

~ Rhonda Parrish

stacybuckeye said...

Thanks for trying to de-Puritanize us :) The idea of loaning bathing suits does gross me out :)

P V Ariel said...

Swimming swimming, good.
i like it, as Ida said the difference is cross cultural.....LOL
Keep inform
This pic is lovely too lol
best

loverofwords said...

Very European. I remember running around on a farm in upstate New York in the nude (I was 4-5) We never thought anything about it.

Rachel said...

That must have been so awkward! I always wore a bathingsuit when I was little. I had a pink and purple one with a little skirt around it, which my mom claims I loved. I don't think I was ever really a kid who tried to go around without clothes though.