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August 2009
Skinny Dipping!

Here we are in the dog days of summer. Where do we begin? Back to Grandma's garden.

That garden encompassed more then Grandma's "lil" piece of gardening heaven. So much of what we did as kids back then didn't only happen in the fields and woods of Somerset County, New Jersey… I'm sure everyone is familiar with the Jergens® name.

Readers who have been following my column will recall past adventures of skinny-dipping in the ponds and streams around Grandma's. So now, there I was, in the early ‘60s, living in the Stephen Crane housing project in Newark, NJ, on a hot summer night desperately seeking a way to cool off.

Well, just a short distance from The Village lay the answer – the Jergens Lotion property with an ornamental pond on the grounds. Just the ticket! Of course, we had to sneak under the gate to get to the pond and we also had to keep an eye out for the night watchman. But that was all part of the adventure. Ah yes, that pond, the lily pads, and the goldfish awaited us.

It was time! Off came the clothes – relief from the heat – and into the pond we jumped. Unfortunately it was short-lived. It was only a matter of minutes until we heard shouts from the night watchman. Uh-oh, time to make a hasty exit!

Out of the pond, clothes clutched in hand, running naked for the gate, the watchman in pursuit… Of course we made good our escape. Being young and fleet of foot it was easy to elude the watchman, who probably carried an extra fifty or more pounds. Besides, I don't think he really wanted to catch a bunch of naked kids who were just doing what comes naturally. We were just having some fun cooling off!

Our skinny dip trips to the pond were always well planned and we never attempted to sneak into Jergens every night. As many trips as we made to that pond we were never caught. Yes, the joys of youth back in the early ‘60s growing up in the sweltering city of Newark - never a dull moment!


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