I took ethnography from Prof Wolcott at the University of Oregon.
During the second term, we had to do our own research
With a group we were unfamiliar with.
A woman did truck drivers at a truck stop in Coburg.
A man did buskers around Saturday Market in Portland
And I did nudists.
But where could I find them? They were hidden.
I asked the bookstore if they had any nudist Volleyball magazines
like Hawkeye read on M.A.S.H. They said “certainly not!”
I asked the Eugene Register Guard if they knew anything.
They showed me their file on a guy who owned a porno shop.
And then I called American Sunbather’s Society in Kissimmee, FLA.
“Certainly,” they said, “they would be glad to send me information.”
(It was the fastest turn-around on a research requests to date!)
They sent me books, maps, campgrounds, and clubs.
There was a nudist club in Eugene, or near it,
I called, explaining I was a graduate student at U of O and
wanted to do ethnographic research on nudists.
They said “Come Ahead”, and gave me directions
telling me to look for orange colors which led the way.
Part of ethnographic research is that you become
a “Participant observer” That meant I had to participate.
Fortunately they were in the midst of preparing for a
National gathering right here in Eugene.
Lots of work for me to do.
At the weekly review we turned in notes written in interviews.
Professor Wolcott would ask, ” When will you take your clothes off?”
and “Do you need the name of my dermatologist?”
And so, when I went to interview that week there was
a work party digging trenches for vacation trailers expected.
In Germany, my research said, nudism was a health activity,
therefor no smoking, drinking or meat and you worked.
In France you were required to dress or undress
in separate dressing rooms for men and women.
The thought being that you were more enticing
When dressing or undressing than when you were nude.
Now I could tell you how freeing it is to work without clothes,
I could tell you how normal you feel undressed,
Especially when others are undressed too, but you know that.
I will tell you we were a landed, clothing optional club
with tennis courts and a large swimming pool.
So I interview. I was supposed to find out operating rules
That nudists knew but others did not.
I found out that some came into the club from
Skinny dipping experiences (and driving home nude).
Some came because they were overweight
and sans clothing was more comfortable.
To experience driving home nude, with my bathrobe handy,
I decided to drive back to Eugene in the clothes God gave me.
It was exhilarating. I carefully avoided truck drivers, higher than me.
When I got home I put on my bathrobe and went inside.
And the phone rang.
“We know what you did”, the caller said, (The Willamette-Tans!)
“We have witnesses that you broke through the gate when you left.”
What? You know I have a new Suzuki Samarai. Come look.
They did. No scratches were found and I was exonerated.
“Guess it was someone else.” “But you left in such a hurry?”