Cumberland Times-News

Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum

July 24, 2008

There's always something new under the sun!

The popular press has been devoting a good bit of space in recent weeks to the new swimsuit, introduced by Speedo, which supposedly has contributed to the record-breaking times posted in the Olympic tryouts.

Unlike the postage-sized trunks of the male competitors and the bikini-bra outfits of women in the past few years, the new suit extends from just above the ankles to a hair-covering hood, and includes tight fitting sleeves. It is a sort of full-body corset.

Bathing suits are a modern invention. Men have been successfully propelling themselves through water for thousands of years, stark naked or stripped to their skivvies. Ladies, for the most part, didn't swim, or, like Queen Victoria, went to extremes to protect their modesty.

She enjoyed a dip in salt water, but she went from her summer palace at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, in a cabana on wheels. When she had been pushed to the right spot of ocean, she opened a trap door and lowered herself into the water, where she splashed happily in a tiny space, out of sight of all humanity.

Legend tells us about Leander, who swam the Hellespont to reach his sweetheart, Hero. Greek and Roman soldiers learned to swim as a survival skill. Roman gentlemen visited the public bathers, where, in addition to hot and cold tubs, rooms for massage and sweating and pomade, there was a natatorium, or swimming pool. Supposedly there were separate, but similar, accommodations for their wives. But the historians say nothing about bathing suits.

By the opening of the modern Olympics in 1898, men's swimming had become a spectator sport, and rather loose garments, reaching to the knees, replaced the earlier underwear. They were of knit, not woven, fabric, providing a degree of elasticity.

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Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum
  • Happy 200th to St. Paul's Lutheran congregation Today is the 200th birthday of the Lutheran congregation in Frostburg!

    On Aug. 14, 1808, 24 people joined in a communion service in the New Church, a log structure on the edge of what is now called the Prichard Farm.

    August 14, 2008

  • Quality, attitude of people make 'Burg special A note in the newspaper a week or so ago mentioned that Oprah Winfrey was looking for "the best small towns in America.'' Frostburg is the best one I know of - but unfortunately Oprah asked for photos or videos supporting the nomination.

    August 7, 2008

  • There's always something new under the sun! The popular press has been devoting a good bit of space in recent weeks to the new swimsuit, introduced by Speedo, which supposedly has contributed to the record-breaking times posted in the Olympic tryouts.

    July 24, 2008

  • Ward and his mansion stand proud in 'Burg I've had questions recently - not for the first time! - about William Ward and the house he built at 73 W. Main St. here in Frostburg.

    July 17, 2008

  • July 4th: Finding our beliefs Independence Day, like Christmas, is one of the few national holidays that has not been moved to Monday, to provide a four-day break for working people. It holds its own as the Fourth of July.

    July 3, 2008

  • Berry-picking brings back many memories Last week I went to Wiley Ford to pick strawberries. I came home with enough for several packets of frozen berries, for three jars of strawberry jam, generous spoonfuls of fruit on my breakfast cereal and shortcake with real whipped cream.

    June 26, 2008

  • Ambulance service has key community role The Frostburg Area Ambulance Service is currently asking for our help in raising money for the protective clothing that new government regulations require.

    June 19, 2008

  • Planet continues to change; Big One on horizon? In a year that is not yet half over, 2008 has already written itself into the record books for extremes of hot and cold, rain and drought, tornadoes and floods and earthquakes. Our planet Earth has been in a constant state of change.

    June 12, 2008

  • In tennis, individuals face each other as equals I'm not a sports person, but I like to watch tennis. During the three big summer tournaments - Paris, London and New York, played on three different surfaces - my TV is on, and I check the newspaper for details that I have missed.

    June 5, 2008

  • Arts are obviously alive in Allegany County Last week I had the pleasure of attending the spring concert of the Allegany Community Symphony Orchestra. The program was free, and nicely varied, and the instrumentalists were competent.

    May 29, 2008

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