Three sisters split up after a difficult childhood. A nudist club brought them back together .
To visit the Avatan Nudist Club in East Bethel, Minnesota, 30 miles north of Minneapolis, you drive through the front gate and check in with a receptionist at the office. She may or may not be wearing clothes. You undress next to your car. Then, perhaps in the company of a pair of friendly nude tour guides, you walk down the road that surrounds the camp. You pass the main hut, a swimming pool and the members’ well-kept summer huts. Naked people are playing, fixing a roof, setting up a golf cart. Most of the camp is quiet. People come and go during the summer, some staying for days, others for months. Life here is slow and peaceful.
At the first left corner of the road, a trio of domestic trailers stands side by side in a clearing. Three sisters occupy these trailers as neighbors each summer – Nanette, 68; Denise, 63 (with her husband, Al); and Juliette, 56. (They asked to be identified only by their names, because Avatan prohibits members from sharing their surnames with each other.) The sisters eat together, help each other’s trailers or spend time with neighbors, as the doctor who wrote a book on bird watching while he was naked.
The sisters are naked and close. One has to do with the other. Twenty years ago, they felt distant from each other, the result of growing up in the chaos of a family ruined by drinking, cruel words and bad memories. At that time, Nanette, Denise and Juliette saw each other only on holidays. They say it seemed to be better that way.
Today, living together on Avatan on most weekends during the summer, they see each other a lot – more than most brothers – and they have a different relationship. Removing their clothes and living with each other helped them to lose their pain. Nudism, they say, saved his family.
Denise and Al kept it a secret from their families when they started exploring nudism in their 40s in the mid-90s. They tried beaches or optional clothing ponds around the city and then discovered Avatan. “It was like the Garden of Eden,” says Denise.
Three months after the first visit, they bought and set up a trailer. Being naked in a nudist community freed them from anxieties and shyness about their bodies. “I could be naked now, and I wouldn’t feel judged,” says Denise. “I gained that comfort in myself through nudism.”
Source: Os Naturistas
Original publication 23 October, 2018
Posted on NatCorn 12th April 2021
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