Short Swimsuits

Seth Pollins’ (fiction, ’09) article, “The Short Swimsuit: A Personal & Historical Account” is up at The Rumpus:

I: Nostalgia

My father wore a short swimsuit. I have a goofy picture of him, circa 1970: he’s on the beach holding his infant son (my brother, Scott), and he’s wearing a short blue swimsuit with white piping and a nifty snap at the waist. This was the Golden Age of short swimsuits—an epoch that lasted into the eighties. As a child, I experienced the end of this epoch. I have a picture of myself, circa 1983: I’m on the beach in Stone Harbor, and I’m wearing a short red swimsuit with a white and blue stripe down the side.

Every summer, my family spent a good two weeks in Stone Harbor—a tradition that spanned my own, and my mother’s childhood. The tradition ended in 1987, the year my parents divorced. That fall, I moved into a small apartment in East Petersburg, PA with my mother and younger sister, Katie. I spent my afternoons, after school, locked in my room, listening to my mother’s Beach Boys albums, and dreaming about summer. My greatest, and only hope, was that my parents might get back together, and this hope was imagined as a return to Stone Harbor.

Even now, as an adult, I comfort myself with Stone Harbor nostalgia. I remember a post-beach meal at Green Cuisine. I was flanked by my mother, my father, and my brother who was holding our baby sister, and before me sat a giant blueberry smoothie. I desperately had to pee, but I just couldn’t bring myself to abandon the table—so I sat, fidgeting, unspeakably happy in my short swimsuit...[Keep Reading]…

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