It was a hot summer day when my wife Vickie and I decided to drive over to Muir Beach to sunbathe. Why Muir Beach? Because a large cliff protected it from the often-cold wind of the sea, making it the warmest beach around the Bay and it was ‘Clothing Optional’ which suited us both. Vickie packed a lunch of salad, cold chicken and beer; it was going to be a wonderful day.
The drive over from Alameda and along the winding road connecting Highway 101 to Highway One took less than an hour in light traffic. The parking lot was only half-full when I dug out the picnic basket, blanket, and together, we started down the dirt path to the beach. After about thirty-five yards I suddenly remembered I’d left my smokes in the car. “Honey you stay here with the basket, I’ll go back and get my cigarettes,” I said turning around and starting back up the trail.
About halfway there I spotted a young woman coming down the narrow path. Looking again I couldn’t believe my eyes; it was one of the flight attendants from Overseas National. We recognized each other at the same time. “Sandy, what are you doing here? I thought you lived on the East Coast.”
“I do, but I’m out visiting my sister who lives in Sausalito. She mentioned this was a neat beach – you come here often?”
“Yeah, my wife and I love it because it’s warmer than the rest of the beaches around here. Come on, I’ll introduce you right after I get my Marlboros.” Sandy followed behind me to the car, then back down the path to where Vickie was patiently waiting. Making the introductions we chatted for a few minutes; I mentioned to Sandy that Muir Beach was actually two beaches in one. The left side was for people with bathing suits; while on the other side of the rock outcropping was a nudist beach. Continuing, I added we were going to the nudist side and I was sure she’d would be much more comfortable on the clothed side.
The three of us then proceeded to the fork where the trail split. Waving good-bye to each other, little-miss-perfect-hostess-Vickie said, “If you get hungry, we’ve got plenty of chicken; you’re welcome to share with us.”
Thanking us, Sandy started off to the left; I was glad she opted for the clothing side. After all, as a captain I wasn’t sure how it would look if the company found out I was nude on a beach with one of our flight attendants, even with my wife along as chaperone. Vickie and I found a nice spot, spread our blanket, and peeled off our clothes thereby joining the rest of the nudists for a pleasant day in the warm, yummy, sun.
Looking around it was obvious the sun-worshippers weren’t any different than those on the other side of the rocks. Kids built sandcastles near the water’s edge – couples strolled along the shoreline, while others snoozed or read books as they got an all-over tan. Perhaps we were a bit friendlier to each other because we were all members of the same club – nudists with nothing to hide.
We’d been tanning for about thirty minutes and I was getting hungry. I suggested we break out the chicken. Vickie dug into the lunch basket when whom do I spy splashing her feet in the water as she walked along the shoreline? It was Sandy with her bathing suit slung over her left shoulder; our eyes made contact at about the same time.
“Hi Dave – hi Vickie; do you mind if I join you?” She was smiling and heading our way.
“Oh hi Sandy, you’re just in time; we’re going to have some chicken. Do you want a glass of wine?” Vickie responded.
“I’d love one. It’s hotter here than over on the other side.” I poured her a frosty cold glass of Chardonnay. “Thanks,” she said, taking a big swallow.
“Sorry, we don’t have any beach towels for you to sit on.” Vickie said as she scooted over a little, she was using her sarong as a blanket.
“That’s okay; I can sit on my bathing suit.”
Vickie dished out the plates (She always carried extras) and we all dined on chicken and my wife’s super-delicious potato salad, washed down with the chilled white wine.
Sandy raised her glass in a toast, “You guys sure know how to live.” We talked about the airline and various amusing things that happen on charters. Vickie used to work for the airlines so it was a fun lively animated conversation. It was also fortunate we’d brought a large bottle of wine.
After lunch I had to pee. Since there were no facilities close-by, I excused myself and headed out into the light surf. The water was ice-cold as I tip toed gingerly into the bay and gradually got up to my waist; the water was freezing! As fast as possible I did a turn-around and headed back towards the ladies.
It was then I spotted the two uniformed policemen heading right for our space. Looking around, everybody had magically covered themselves with towels, bathing suits or something. Vickie became aware of the officers about the same time I did and Shazam; she grabbed the corners of her sarong wrapping it around her. The only two people remaining on the whole beach that didn’t have any clothes on were Sandy and I!
The cops were nice – almost apologetic. It seemed an old lady who lived up on the top of the cliff had complained and they had to issue a couple of citations; we were nominated they explained. The policeman handed us the tickets advising us to next time continue down about twenty-five yards, that way we’d have a chance to get dressed before they got there. Our location had made us the ‘sitting ducks’ for the cops.
After they departed everybody stripped back down to the buff except the three of us. People came by and said. “We should have – blah, blah, blah. And, why didn’t we, yaketta, yaketa. This was in the mid-seventies – the days of women’s lib. Sandy was hopping mad; she said she was going to fight it. “They have no right. They can’t do that to us,” she ranted on and on.
I too was a bit unnerved, but for a different reason; I was thinking of my airline pilot’s license. It had a moral turpitude clause; which can mean anything from embezzling a bank, to fighting, to peeing behind a bush, – to maybe going nude at the beach? Jesus Christ, could I lose my license? Quieting Sandy down I agreed to pick her up the following week so we could both go together to see the Judge. I swore her to secrecy, not wanting anyone in the Company to know of this incident. She promised she wouldn’t breathe a word to a soul.
The courthouse was located in that beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright building in Marin off Highway 101. A receptionist gave us directions to an office down the hall. The room was small and could have been part of a law library. I opened the door for Sandy and she stormed in with attitude, ready to do battle. I had hoped she would just remain cool and not antagonize anyone until I could size-up what exactly was going to happen and what was going to be our punishment. A pleasant man about my age in a suit and tie introduced himself as an assistant district attorney and held out his hand to both of us.
“Now, let’s see what the officers wrote up. Do you have your citations with you?”
We each produced our tickets and handed them to him. He took a moment to study the forms before saying, “Muir Beach? Yes that’s Missus Talbot; she’s the little old lady who lives at the top of the cliff. She puts her binoculars on and calls the police about every weekend demanding they do something about those terrible nudists. We have to respond or she calls the mayor.”
“What’s it going to cost us?” Sandy demanded.
Shut-up Sandy, I thought.
“Cost you? I don’t see why it should cost you anything; you weren’t really doing anything wrong. Your only crime was being in the wrong spot at the wrong time. I’ll tell you what – next time why don’t you go down to the far end of Stinson Beach like I do? It’s got a good beach and Mrs. Talbot can’t see that far.” Holy mackerel, the D. A. was a nudist, too!
“You mean this isn’t going to go on our record or anything,” I said.
“I don’t see why it should; she’s just a nuisance caller. Why don’t I just tear-up the tickets and you can forget about it,” he said with a grin.
Sandy stood, up and gave him a big, ear-to-ear smile as she threw her arms around him in a hug. I thanked him and shook his hand. He seemed genuinely pleased that he wasn’t going to have to bring the law down on these two would-be sex offenders; it was a win-win for everybody.
About a month later I was in the cockpit with my crew waiting to board passengers for an all night red-eye from Kennedy to Frankfurt. The cockpit door opened and Jane, the senior stewardess, entered. “Anybody want any coffee before we start boarding?” We all ordered what would be the start of about fifteen cups to get us to Frankfurt.
A few minutes later she came in with a tray containing our coffee and packets of cream & sugar. As I reached for mine she said, “Hi stud, I hear you like to go around with your weenie wagging?” I almost died.
Responding with as much stiff-upper-lip snobbishness as I could muster, I countered with, “There’re a lot of people willing to assassinate a gentleman’s character over nothing.”
“That’s not what I hear – Studly,” she smilingly replied while making her exit and closing the door.