Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bathing Suits and Swimming Pools

Elizabeth Zelvin

Bathing suits have been on my mind as a blog topic ever since last November, when writer KB Inglee ended a long post on the Guppies e-list about the New England Crime Bake conference, how much she learned, and how the scheduled events were so much fun that, she wrote, “Next year I am not bothering to take my bathing suit.” The reason this leaped out at me is that I learned at my mother’s knee always to take my bathing suit.

Yep, among the pearls of wisdom (“Everything I need to know”) I learned from my mother was that winter or summer, rain or shine, you never know when you might need it to take the perfect unexpected swim. She wasn’t talking about just hotel pools. In my mother’s hierarchy of needs, a lake was better than a pool, a bay was better than a lake, and the ocean trumped everything. As far as I know, she never joined the Polar Bear Club at Coney Island (though she did grow up in Brooklyn), but even at the age of 95 she was still stroking away, her white rubber bathing cap bobbing. She needed a cane to get in and a helping hand to get out by that time, but she wouldn’t have missed her swim for anything.

I remember seeking out the pool when I arrived early at my very first professional conference (on women and alcoholism in the late 1980s, long before I started writing mysteries) and making two friends there, women who were also conference presenters, hours before the opening ceremonies. Conferences can be intense, and even when I’m too wrung out for the exertion of a swim, I can unwind in the Jacuzzi—for which a suit is also necessary in a very public hotel.

My favorite pool in the world is a huge, spring-fed pool at what is now called the Weis Ecology Center in Ringwood, New Jersey. It’s known as the Highlands Pool and is open to the public,
and if you think of pools as bright turquoise and smelling of chlorine, you have a surprise waiting if you ever visit it. Last time I swam there, the big drama of the afternoon for those with the stamina to swim to the other side, where the woods begin,
was a engrossing spectacle of a snake eating a bright green frog: “nature red in tooth and claw,” as the poet says. Cousins have had a house there since the 1950s, and I wouldn’t dream of visiting without a suit before October 1, when the pool is closed for the winter.

A memorable hotel pool is one at which I spent many hours hanging out at the Hôtel Ivoire in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Sixties. (There are gorgeous, palm-fringed beaches on the Ivoirien coast, but the ocean is too treacherous to consider swimming in.) I took my husband back there to visit in 1986, and they’d not only expanded the hotel but added a wraparound pool that allowed swimmers to circle the hotel’s two towers amid the tropical foliage.
At that time, our local Ivoirien friends liked to spend the afternoon at the pool at any of the resort hotels that had sprung up in the interim. Abidjan was considered a vacation destination for the French, who were very much into topless sunbathing. I remember my African friend’s tart comment: “They came and made us put on our clothes; now they come and take their clothes off.”

Côte d’Ivoire, which has suffered two civil wars in the past ten years, is no longer a paradise for tourists. But if I ever happened to get back there, would I make sure to take a bathing suit? You bet I would. You never know.


Hemden said...

Wow, your post made me nostalgic. Really miss my private pool which is nothing but a lake behind my old house. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

Gloria Alden said...

I want to go swimming, Liz! Unfortunately, it's snowing outside, and I don't belong to the Y. :-) I do have a large pond behind my house, but I won't be swimming in it anytime soon. Darn!

Anonymous said...

I loved your comment re the double edged sword - put clothes on, take them off... etc... Reminds me of so much of what is happening in our hallowed halls in Foggy Bottom currently!! Thelma straw

Cathy Newman said...

Yes, buying a bathing suit can come in handy. I remember my childhood, having to go to rivers to swim without my mother's permission and eventually being punished for that. But, swimming sure is fun even though I am a bit older now. Lol!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!
By the way, how can we communicate?

Feel free to visit my homepage Cheap Jerseys

Anonymous said...

Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of.
I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Also visit my homepage:

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
There's a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks

Stop by my web-site :: Abercrombie

Anonymous said...

Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand
your stuff previous to and you're just too great. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you're stating and the way in which you say it.
You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise.
I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really
a great site.

my site :: Louis Vuitton Outlet Online

Anonymous said...

hi!,I really like your writing very so much!
share we be in contact extra approximately your article on AOL?
I require an expert on this area to resolve my problem. Maybe that's you! Taking a look ahead to peer you.

Feel free to surf to my page ... Abercrombie & Fitch

Anonymous said...

Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I had written and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog.
I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I'm still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for newbie blog writers? I'd genuinely
appreciate it.

Here is my web site; Look At This

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I've joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I've shared your website in my social networks!

My page ... Louis Vuitton Outlet

Anonymous said...

Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on
sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read
articles from other writers and practice something from other websites.

Here is my blog post ... Gucci Sito Ufficiale

Anonymous said...

I constantly spent my half an hour to read this web site's articles or reviews all the time along with a cup of coffee.

Review my weblog; extra resources

Anonymous said...

I've been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site. Studying this info So i'm happy to show that I've a very excellent uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I so much no doubt will make certain to don?t put out of your mind this website and provides it a glance on a continuing basis.

my site: continue

Anonymous said...

Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of info on your blog.
Im really impressed by your blog.
Hello there, You have performed a fantastic
job. I will certainly digg it and for my part recommend to my friends.
I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

Here is my site - Louis Vuitton Pas Cher

Anonymous said...

I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I really hope to check out the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own blog now ;)

Stop by my weblog ... Chaussure De Foot Pas Cher

Anonymous said...

Very descriptive article, I loved that bit. Will there be a part 2?

Here is my web site - Nike Air Jordan

Anonymous said...

Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She put
the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her
ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this
is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

Feel free to surf to my blog: Wholesael NFL Jerseys

Anonymous said...

I really like looking through a post that can make
people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

my website :: Sac Louis Vuitton Pas Cher

Anonymous said...

Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your
blog posts. Anyway I'll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

my webpage: Louis Vuitton Outlet

Anonymous said...

No matter if some one searches for his essential thing, so
he/she wants to be available that in detail,
so that thing is maintained over here.

My web-site Read This

Anonymous said...

If some one wishes to be updated with hottest technologies afterward he must be go to see this web
site and be up to date every day.

Feel free to visit my web-site - More Help

Anonymous said...

Does your site have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating it but, I'd like to send you an
email. I've got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

Look at my page;

Anonymous said...

Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one
and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments?
If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can
advise? I get so much lately it's driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.

My web-site ... Nike Air Jordan

Anonymous said...

I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This article posted at this website is really good.

Look into my web site ... Michael Kors Outlet (

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any user
discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about here?

I'd really like to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

My web blog - Sac A Main Louis Vuitton

Anonymous said...

Hello Dear, are you really visiting this web page on a regular basis, if so afterward you will
without doubt obtain pleasant know-how.

My web blog Nike Trainers ()

Anonymous said...

We're a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable info to work on. You've done an impressive job and our entire community will
be thankful to you.

Feel free to visit my blog; Cheap Air Max

Anonymous said...

Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with
us so I came to check it out. I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this
to my followers! Great blog and fantastic design and style.

Stop by my web-site ... Tory Burch Flats

Anonymous said...

My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .

net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on a number of websites for about a year and
am concerned about switching to another platform.
I have heard great things about Is there a way I can transfer all my
wordpress posts into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

my website - Gucci Sito Ufficiale **

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day.
It will always be exciting to read through articles from other writers and practice something from other web sites.

Here is my web page Nike Blazers Shoes

Anonymous said...

For most recent information you have to visit the web and on the web
I found this site as a finest website for newest updates.

my web blog: Mulberry Bags ()

Anonymous said...

Greetings! I've been following your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

my web site: Air Max Pas Cher ()

Anonymous said...

Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I to find
It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I'm hoping to give something again and aid others like you helped me.

Here is my webpage Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags