When Fraternity Snoqualmie first came into existence, the members faced many challenges, as does any new venture. “What do we need in the way of facilities? How will we recruit new members? How will we pay for everything?” But there was one additional obstacle to overcome; an obstacle faced by every nudist group that has ever existed. “What?! Nudists?! These people are planning to run around naked?! Decent people just don’t do such things!”
Clearly, there were two ways to go. One way was to try to keep the existence of the park a secret, hoping that no one would ever learn just what went on up on the hill. The other way was to be honest and straightforward. “Yes, people of Issaquah and vicinity, we are nudists. We believe in this lifestyle and we want to be your neighbors. We will shop in your stores; with our tax dollars we will support your schools and highways; and we will not attempt to force our views upon you. Please give us an opportunity to show you that we do not pose a threat to the community.” Wisely, the members chose to follow the second path.
But choosing the option of honesty and openness meant that the club would be closely watched. There would have to be a set of rules and regulations consistent with community standards. In fact, the rules would have to go a step further, imposing restrictions over and above those required of other groups. By today’s standards, the early rules might be called “overkill.”
When you read about the old rules, you might be inclined to smile and even to chuckle a little. But please be kind to the memory of the founders of the club and remember them with respect and not with ridicule. They were entering into unfamiliar and uncharted territory. In time, as the presence of nudists in the region gained acceptance, attitudes would moderate and the rules would change.
No set of rules and regulations can be worded in such a way as to cover all possible situations and there is always room for interpretation and enforcement. Depending upon who was on the board, the interpretation could be relatively permissive or very restrictive.
The FS rules as well as the early rules of all nudist groups throughout the nation, reflected society’s emphasis on “family values,” with a clear preference for married couples and families. Compared with most other nudist clubs, FS was quite tolerant toward singles. Nonetheless, there was a quota on single men as well as a dues penalty. In 1959, the quota was 2 single men for every 5 married couples. There was no quota on single women. Annual dues were $30 for a couple, $30 for a single man and $8 for a single woman.
If a member couple went through divorce proceedings, both spouses were dropped from membership. Either or both spouses could reapply for membership after the divorce was final. Fraternity Snoqualmie was a “first name only” club. It was a punishable offense for one member to reveal the last name of another member. Furthermore, it was a rule violation to inquire as to a member’s name, address, telephone number, or occupation. Members could reveal their own last names, but even this was discouraged.
Alcoholic beverages were prohibited at the camp or at any club-sponsored function. No mention was made of illegal substances. Enforcement of this rule varied. Some board members felt that residents should be exempt from this rule. Others went strictly “by the book”; even going so far as to reprimand members for bringing casserole dishes and picnic supplies to the park in used cardboard liquor cases. “Next time, use a tomato soup case!”
Nude dancing was prohibited. It was never clear as to what minimum amount of clothing was required. Also, it wasn’t clear why the rule was really needed. “Dancing is acceptable and so is nudity, but the two together exceed the limits of propriety,…well, you see, nude dancing is naughty but clothing makes it OK. Oh, yes, of course, nudism is almost as acceptable as wearing clothes but not qui…oops! That doesn’t sound right!” This was another rule that the more zealous board members enforced to the letter and beyond. One day a teenage girl had a radio playing in the old clubhouse. Standing alone in the middle of the room, she shuffled her feet and swayed her nude body in time with the dance tune being played. “No nude dancing!” rasped the voice of a board member. “But I’m not dancing WITH anyone!” the girl protested. “It doesn’t matter!” the board member snarled, “dancing is dancing!”
“There shall be no excessive display of affection.” This was a well-intentioned rule, but one with which the strict constructionists had a field day. “This means ‘NO BODILY CONTACT!’” May a husband apply suntan lotion to his wife’s back? “Well, maybe, but not in a suggestive way! And only to the middle of the back!” Is it all right for a newlywed couple to hold hands as they walk across the lawn? “Preferably not, and don’t look lovingly into each others’ eyes!” It’s springtime and two couples haven’t seen each other since last summer. Is a slight embrace acceptable? “Certainly not!”
“There shall be no discussion of politics, religion, or other controversial topics.” What can we talk about? “The weather!” An ad hoc committee was formed to look into the club’s affiliation with an organization with some political overtones. At a general membership meeting, the committee chairman started to present a report on this organization. “No discussion of politics!” a board member snorted. “But this is an official, formal report of a committee,” the committee chairman replied, “that rule pertains to casual discussions on the lawn.” With a stern look, the board member fired back, “The rule doesn’t say that!” The president agreed. “No report!”
But the champion of all rules was one which said, “A man and woman who are not married to each other may not wander out of sight of the main activity area unless accompanied by a third person.” We don’t know if this rule was ever violated. Fortunately, we are running out of space. This rule doesn’t deserve any further comment.