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Swimmers of '42

Swimmers of '42

July 1942. "Rupert, Idaho. Dressing after swimming." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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No sign of sunburn among'em

We swam a lot when I was about that age, mostly in pools and sometimes the lake. It didn't take long for my fair skin to get a case of sunburn, so if I didn't wear a T-shirt, I'd be in bad shape after a couple of hours. Seems like I'd spend my summers with varying degrees of blistered shoulders, red ears and cheeks, and, of course, a red neck (which some might argue is more of a trait). These days, my dermatologist loves me!

Longevity at 86.

I was born July 10, 1942 and I'm still going strong. These 12 boys are around 12 years old so I'm just curious what the chances are that any of them are still with us today at about 86. Hopefully 1 or 2.

Check the oil

That's no swimming pool. That's a grease pit!

Those feet

I would suspect that the foot anomaly is explained as a wet bathing suit wrapped in a towel.

[No, that's his foot in a sock, as tterrace explained below. - Dave]

Woman swimmer

When I was these boys' age, more than 25 years later, most pool or lake activity with other kids was about horsing around, but also swimming. Most adults did a lot of standing around in the water, chatting and cooling off (and relieving themselves too, I am sure). So when a serious swimmer of the adult woman variety appeared -- and there was always the rare grown-up lady who would snap on her bathing cap then cut out far away into the water -- you would stand aside with respect, as I'm sure these lads are doing. (I do acknowledge that they are in line for the ingenious diving board.)

I suspect

they are swimming in one of the many irrigation canals in and around Rupert, probably frowned upon by local officials.

A Second Right Foot?

Follow me here...I see his his right arm, between his jeaned legs, tying his left shoe. But do I also see another socked right foot over his arm? This is not some cheapy-creepy 1950's post-nuke grade-B sci-fi movie, so what gives?

[Left foot with shoe being tied, right foot with just a sock, right shoe waiting to be put on. -tterrace]

Yea, but my eyes still see right trousered leg connected to right shoe. It's all perspective, I suppose. Still bizarre looking.


How fit all these guys are! The 'swimming pool' leaves much to be desired, but who cares?

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