Nudist camps have existed for at least a century or two. Fat and thin, young and old, handsome or ugly — people gather behind walls in a garden setting and disrobe.

What do you bet most of them don’t tell their friends and neighbors where they are going?

As I understand it, most camps have rules. They do not attack each other. Gawking is frowned upon, touching is prohibited unless both parties agree and so on.

Most nudist camps are in warm climates or open only in the summer. On the Wisconsin River we have our own nude beach. But, rules were broken and children had to be blindfolded when boating on that part of the river. State officials have clamped down on the site, though it’s not clear whether the new rules all together will prevent people from disrobing on the sandy banks of the Wisconsin River.

Some years ago, “Himself” and I toured with our son, who was stationed in Germany. In Munich I set out alone to visit the six monuments of that wonderful city. I saw a small church and was told there that a woods behind the church had a path leading to the first monument on my list.

I asked if was safe to walk through the woods and was assured I would be fine. About a block into the woods, I came upon two rather hefty elderly women sitting on a blanket talking and having a picnic. They were stark naked.

The ladies greeted me with a smile. I walked on in a state of shock, came to the monument, browsed around a bit and continued on. I asked an elderly Englishman if he had the time and we began to chat. He told me that I must see the Englisher Garden just up ahead on the right. He said he had no idea why it was called the Englisher Garden. A few minutes later I walked into the garden where I came upon a group of volleyball players, all nude. Well, it was something to see. I had to stop and look, so I pretended to be a fan.

Every thing shook as the players jumped and ran about. When I continued on I discovered there were many nudes in the garden, men and women just sitting around, reading or playing in the river that runs through the garden.

The next day I introduced “Himself” and our son, Tim, to the garden. A topless woman came to sit next to my husband on a bench. The poor man looked up and down and off to each side, only occasionally stealing a peek at the woman.

We left feeling shocked and appalled, but strangely freed. After all, Adam and Eve were nude. But then, they were also alone and not in the Englisher Garden. In France it is common for women to be topless at the beach and children to be naked.

The bikinis all over the world leave little to the imagination. Frontal nudity in movies used to be prohibited, now it is seen in many movies. On TV, and other places, we hear about going “commando” which means without underwear.

Some young people wear their pants so low you can see their underwear which, at least, proves they are wearing it. Some people even put nude pictures of themselves on the Internet. We used to refer to being naked as wearing our birthday suits, because that is how we all arrived on this earth.

I personally never have had an urge to go “starkies” as the Australians refer to it, but some people do. Some middle-aged women, of all sizes and shape, have even put out nude, discreetly-posed-for calendars for charity. However, I don’t think I’ll suggest it to my card club ladies, charity or not.

– Donna, a former commercial writer, radio and television personality, is a wife to Himself, a mother and a grandmother. Donna is also a watercolorist.

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Nudism is NOT about seeing or being seen. It's about de-stressing, relaxing, and returning to innocence. It's about accepting yourself and others for who you are, how you act, and what you say, rather than what you look like, wear, or own.