Retro Bathing Beauty Firecrackers

Bathing beauties of a Fair Haven neighborhood in 1965
Photo/Sally Van Develde

Back in the summer of ’65 …  the heat was on in Fair Haven, and some pint-sized bathing beauties were set to walk the walk, if the suit and the bathing cap fit. In the spirit of the season, call them little firecrackers. Celebrity neighborhood sparklers. Whatever the name, they were set for a good, simple backyard game. This one was easy — the suited up line-up. On cue, they struck the pose and gave a big “Cheese!”

It didn’t take much for this gaggle of little girl neighbors on Parker to make their own simple fun, even if it just meant a good old fashioned line-up for the Brownie camera.

Back in the day, when beach clubs were still somewhat affordable, these neighbors and best friends opted for a dip in the ol’ backyard, above-ground pool. Yes, they were popular and actually considered quite cool in the Rumson-Fair Haven area, once upon a time.

Oh, this dynamic foursome found lots to do over their fences and without electronics. They played kickball and hopscotch in the road and called, “CAR!” when neighborhood parents driving their Chevy and Ford paneled station wagons and sedans looked out for them, too. After all, playing in the street (dare I say) was, yes, quite common then.

And when dusk hit, doors opened and moms yelled, “Dinner!” or rang a bell, all scurried home, unless, of course, they were already inside, like this crew sometimes was. There were those dress-up days, when these girls got into one mom’s make-up and decided it would be groovy to put red lipstick on their eyelids as a makeshift eye shadow, and kinda missed the mark on the lips.

Going home then meant a surefire shriek from mom at the sight of some little horror story ghoul girls scribbled in red with gigantic heels and mini dresses that doubled as little girl gowns.

But, a dip in the pool erased it all. OK, sometimes it stained.

So, everybody in the pool? Step aside for these gals of the summer of ’65!

Recognize them? And how about those bathing caps? What was your favorite suit of the era? Just about every one is covered here … the bikini (who’s that gal?), the standard one-piece with buttons, and the flouncy, skirted one-piece. You?