By Daniel D. Ziegler

"This lifestyle has so much to offer children in terms of self-
acceptance and feeling good about themselves."


Kaye Conklin of Ceresco, Michigan who grew up being shunned by her
mother and spent a lot of time as a child playing by herself."As a child,
my mother never held me, I never sat on her lap and she never told me
that she loved me. At the nudist parks I see a healthy interaction
between adults and children, particularly between parents and children,
and it's fun being a part of that. Most of the places we have gone, there
have been lots of kids and many activities for them. The fact that nudism
is family oriented is definitely the attraction for me. My first experience
at a nudist park," she continues," was seeing a heavy-set man lying on
a lawn chair and this little boy came running by just laughing and playing
having a good time. For some reason this sticks in my mind."

That memory and others of Sarita’s and her husband Jim’s first visit to a
nudist park is still fresh in her mind. "I had no problem taking off my
clothes. Even though we never really practiced nudity around the house,
when Jim first mentioned the idea of us going to a nudist park, I had no
problem with it." She adds laughingly, "I never knew there was a nudist
community--I guess I led a sheltered life--but if Jim wanted to go," she
continues, " I had no problem with it. I was never afraid of undressing in
junior high like a lot of girls. It was never a big deal with me."

Sarita has never been self-conscious about her body nor is she shy
about telling others about nudism. "I tell everybody," she says. "A few
people have given me a hard time, but I don't live my life for anyone
else. I think Jim has told all the guys he works with and when you walk
into our house you can tell we're nudists. We have a sign that says
'Party Naked' by the hot tub."

When talking to Sarita, it becomes very clear that the attraction for her
is that social nudism is family oriented and that the presence of children
is so evident. "Maybe it's because of that part of my childhood that I
never really had or because we don't have any children of our own, that
I'm drawn to this lifestyle that places such importance on children. In
fact,” says Sarita, who joined her husband in bicycling and who belongs
to five bowling leagues, "it's one activity in which children do play such
an important part.

"The kids that are included in this lifestyle are well behaved. They're not
snotty. They say 'please' and 'thank you.' I think they are raised
differently because they're closer to the families. They have that close
communication. The interaction between kids, and between parents
and kids, is wonderful. That's what I like. Very seldom do I see a parent
interact with a child in an abusive manner. In society you see that all the

Child-like, but not childish, Sarita is full of energy and adds vitality and
freshness whenever she's in a group of people. She has a way of
getting around and speaking to everybody and leaves no one
untouched by her smile, her laugh and her sparkling eyes. "Sometimes I
feel like a space cadet," she says, "going from table to table and not
finishing a conversation."

A space cadet, she is not. She has very strong values, a definite order
of priorities and a deep appreciation for living. And, Sarita, who as a
child decided that she was going to grow up 'being somebody' and
have a quality life, is very confident about voicing her opinions to non-
nudists and nudists alike. "Life is too short to waste yourself away." she

Sarita is very vocal about her feelings of including children in all the
activities at a nudist park. "This lifestyle has so much to offer children in
terms of self-acceptance and feeling good about themselves. Kids are
our future and should be included. If the activities or someone's
behavior is not appropriate for children, then you shouldn't be doing it
out there." She is definitely looking forward to the summer months when
many more children attend and she can help out with their activities.

In the fourteen years that Jim and Sarita have been married, they've
been through a lot. Jim has undergone surgery, radiation and
chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease-which showed up less than two
years into their marriage. Sarita herself has sought therapy to deal with
childhood issues that were seriously affecting her life. "We've obviously
had a lot of stress in our lives just keeping Jim alive-and we find at the
nudist parks we can totally unwind and relax with the friendly people. We
just love the people. In fact," she adds with her infectious laugh, "It's so
hard getting dressed and going home." When they do go home, they
are missed by those who they've touched with their friendliness, and
when a weekend goes by that they can't be at the park, invariably
someone will say, "Where's Sarita and Jim?"

Sarita feels that the nudist lifestyle, particularly because of the
friendliness of the people and the involvement of children, has been very
beneficial to both of them. She sums up her feelings about nudism this
way, "Nudism has helped me in dealing with a lot of my childhood
issues by helping me find a family again." Making one last point, as if
the words themselves spoke from the deepest part of her soul, she
unhesitatingly adds," Children are the most important thing you can

A note: This article is based on an interview from a series of interviews
I conducted with people, who like myself, participate in social nudism.
While working at Turtle Lake Family Nudist Resort, Union City,
Michigan in 1993 and '94, I began doing the interviews and writing
subsequent articles to better inform the public about this often
misunderstood lifestyle that has such a profound effect on people’s
lives. A total surprise to me was that the interviewing process itself had
a profound effect on the persons interviewed, as well as on myself.

As for me, I have been deeply touched by each of their stories as they
shared their pain and their healing, and I have come to realize that the
nudism experience has an even greater effect on the lives of the
people than I had previously imagined.

As for the people I interviewed, looking back, through the help of the
interview process itself, each now feels that nudism miraculously
came into their lives as exactly what they needed when they needed it,
as if the Universe knowingly handed them each a gift. And perhaps,
more importantly, uncloaking their souls, through the interview and
article, has had a similar healing effect as did initially baring their
bodies-a new and more confident person has miraculously emerged.

That I have been privileged to be part of this process, has been a gift
from the Universe to me. ddz
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Reclaiming Acceptance of our Original State