Saturday, April 19, 2008

What I Didn't Learn in Kindergarten

It was summer, 1958. I was 13 and about to enter St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School as a Freshman in September.
All that summer and for years to come, I made for the beaches .... or at the very least the sunny backyard ... oiled my body with lotions and potions guaranteed to burnish my skin to a nut-like brown. At the local beaches, I spread my blanket, arranged my gear and prepared to read and watch the boys. Well, wasn't that the purpose of the tan? To get the look, to catch a boy.
Sunbathing was critical to getting the look of summer. You know, that dark and luxurious tan that played so well against summer whites: shirts, shorts, and sundresses.
Here's an excerpt from an article in the Los Angeles Times that ran on July 20, 1958 entitled, A Warning To Sunbathers:

"For most of us sun-bathing is not only pleasurable but beneficial as well. There are an unfortunate few people, however, who sustain some degree of damage to their skin as a direct result of excessive exposure to the sun. This damage for the most part is temporary......"

Hmmmm. Temporary?

Or perhaps we were just preparing for a later life phase:

Solar Keratoses.

Who knew?

Why didn't they tell?