Saturday, July 02, 2011

Mermaid Tales: Cold and Hot

I realized it’s been almost a year since I told a Mermaid Tale. (Plus, a few people have started asking when I would do another one.) So, today, I’m telling you about the Cold and the Hot of being a mermaid.

Mermaids at Aquarena Springs swam 364 days of the year. The resort park was closed only on Christmas Day. That means we swam on the blazing hot Texas days and on the days when the catwalk to the volcano was iced over. The water, however, stayed the same. The show area was spring fed so it stayed a constant balmy 74 degrees. (That’s what the visitors were told, anyway. We measured it a few degrees lower.) We didn’t mind swimming in the winter, though, because the water was warmer than the outside temps.

Inside the volcano were two hot rooms, one for the males and one for the females. As soon as the mermaids finished their ballets, they swam up and hurried into the warming room, which was kept at about 130 degrees. Trust me, you dry and warm up fast in that heat. Then we’d go back in the show area to do our picnics…then back into the warming room.

In the summers, we’d change into bikinis and go lay out on the training platform in the sun (I don’t recommend sunbathing now that we know the damage that can do, but back then we didn’t know about it.) Not long after I left, they apparently stopped sunbathing on the platform since there were complaints from folks gliding overhead in the gondolas about our lack of dress (as in, bikini tops untied so we didn’t get strap marks across out backs). In the winter, we’d hurry across the catwalk, steam rising from our bodies since we were hotter than the outside air.

Once a girl entered an area where she could be seen by the public, she had to be in costume. That meant in a one-piece bathing suit with a sarong, lei, plastic flower in her hair, and a smaller lei on one ankle. Once again, warmer in summer than in the cold of winter.

While we jumped in really cold water every day, multiple times, I rarely came down with a cold. Looking back, I’m not sure I ever had one cold during my years as a mermaid. I credit that to the warming room.


  1. Must be such fond memories.And I bet any woman who was once a mermaid feels a sense of loss now that she's just a mere maid. (wink)

    Enjoyed the tale, as usual - it has been a while!

    Happy 4th weekend to you and yours, Helen! <3

  2. Love your mermaid tales, Helen. The warming room sounds lovely, but 74 degrees is cold for me for water. I like it 90.

  3. Love these tales.
    Couldn't believe it's been a year since the last one. Time is going too darn fast.

  4. 74 degrees is cold, but when you're in it every day, you acclimate. And on the 100+ degree Texas summer days, it felt great.

  5. And now people would crowd around those platforms hoping to see you girls in a state of 'undress!'

  6. Yay! Another mermaid tale. Sounds like there were a few compensations for mermaids. Love he sound of that warming room in the winter. You have to post a picture of you mermaids. I bet you have some tucked away.

    Being outside like that, 364 days a year, is actually very healthy.

    When I lived up in Wisconsin, we had a group that did sauna and then go jump in the 65 degree pool. I thought they were nuts until I tried it. I have to admit, there's something special about nights with heavy snow falling around you as you run through the snow to the heated pool. I had a blast. Loved the Glühwein, laughter and fun.

    Good memories.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  7. Very fun tale. I have no doubt you girls were envied by young female visitors, and of course, had to stay in costume. Quite a life! Thanks for sharing.

  8. What fun! I love your mermaid tales. Why did you leave?

  9. That's quite the temperature difference!! I'm surprised no one ever got sick!

    Happy 4th! :)

  10. Jean, I swam there to pay for college. So, I quit once I'd earned my M.A.

  11. I adore your mermaid stories.

  12. Oh, I'm so glad I didn't miss this tale. Happy 4th, Helen.

  13. Awesome story. I wouldn't be a good mermaid. Terrified of deep water.


  14. I still think you had one of the coolest jobs I've ever heard of. Sounds like SO much fun.

  15. Misha, the show area was only about 30 feet deep.

    Overall, Miriam, it was indeed a fun job.

  16. Yay! How I've longed for your mermaid tales...and this was a satisfying one - so many details. Did you get all wrinkly? Probably not - that is a hot water thing I think. I would love to spend all day in the water. definitely my element. Thanks you dear mermaid (or are you a mer-m'a'am now?)

  17. Cool story. I wouldn't complained if I were i that gondola >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  18. My first reading of a delightful Mermaid story! I'm pea green at the sound of that warming room (we're freezing here!)

    Judy, South Africa


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