Collette Remsen may be coming to a swimming pool very near you

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Collette Remsen always attracts a big crowd when she shows up as a mermaid.Meeting a mermaid for the first time can be flabbergasting.

Collette (Bush) Remsen gets that reaction all the time when she goes to any event that includes a body of water.

“Parents go ‘Wow!’ Kids cling to me like glue,” Remsen said. “They want to know where they can get a mermaid costume.”

That is because Remsen has all of the qualities you could possibly want in a good mermaid. She can swim like a fish, she has long and flowing tawny, blonde hair, she has a personality like the Little Mermaid all grown up, and she has a spirit of generosity as big and wide as the ocean. She is already influencing a new generation of mermaids.

What’s more, Remsen is a Lake Oswego woman with roots that go way, way back in this fair city. She is truly a homegrown mermaid.

“My grandparents, Chad and Evelyn Remsen, gave so much to Lake Oswego,” Remsen said. “They had a grocery store here in the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s. I want to keep the Remsen name alive in Lake Oswego by doing more and more charity events here. I want to be a good representative of this city so people will remember me like my grandparents. That will be a lot of work. I may not achieve it, but I’ll try!”

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Splash! It is a joy for Collette Remsen to be a mermaid. She has loved mermaids ever since she was a little girl.Remsen’s career as a mermaid started in a very simple way a year and a half ago. She was asked to become a mermaid.

“I met Rebecca and Jeff McKay at Roloff Farm. They’re pirate re-enactors, and they asked if I wanted to be a mermaid,” Remsen said.

That was all the motivation she needed.

“As a little girl I loved mermaids, I loved dragons, I loved anything that was mythical,” Remsen said.

Fortunately, being a mermaid jived perfectly with Remsen’s career as a social event planner with Fred Meyer, Inc. She signed up with the Northwest Mermaid Association and her life has been more awesome than ever. People naturally want to reach out and touch a mermaid, and Remsen loves to meet them at events of all kinds, especially charity events. A big highlight for Remsen was appearing on the Fred Meyer “Rockin’ Roses” float in the Grand Floral Parade in Portland during the Rose Festival.

Remsen is always ready to add some variety to her act. For the Jingle Bell Run she wore long white hair with blinking lights (top that, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) and for the Shamrock Run she was a leprechaun mermaid. For costume day at the Roloff Farm she wore a yellow and orange tail.

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Posing prettily at poolside, Collette Remsen is planning to take her mermaid act right to the altar at her wedding ceremony in the spring of 2013.Remsen exudes joy in living her fantasy life, but being a mermaid is no day at the beach. For one thing you have to be a great swimmer to be a mermaid, which Remsen, a licensed lifeguard, certainly is. The toughest part of her act, though, is the costume, which forces her to keep her legs closely together, making walking on a pool bottom extremely difficult, if not excruciating. Also, she even has to really muscle up the tail over the lower half of her body.

But once a mermaid is in the water, everything is OK. Remsen loves swimming with her sister mermaids in the Northwest Mermaid Association, especially synchronized swimming.

“We have 40 members now,” Remsen said. “We want to set a Guinness Records for the most mermaids in a mermaid association.”

Remsen will realize her biggest fantasy of all on her wedding day next spring. Fittingly, she will be getting married to a good fellow named Donald Harvey, a pirate re-enactor. Originally, they planned for just a mundane Hawaiian wedding. But now they will have something quite different. Remsen is letting her imagination run wild.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: JEREMY HARRIS - Donald Harvey, a pirate re-enactor, will be dressed as a pirate next spring when he and Collette Remsen, Lake Oswego's mermaid, get married.“At the altar I’ll be dressed as a mermaid and Donald will be my prince,” Remsen said. “After we say our vows, I’ll have to give up being a mermaid, so I’ll slip out of my mermaid costume and be wearing my wedding dress. I wanted to go all out. This makes me happy and it’s fun. I always wanted a wedding that would symbolize the life I wanted.”

But fear not Lake Oswego mermaid lovers. Remsen says she will be given, “Mermaid Tears.” Once she swallows them, her tail will grow back and she can again swim with her sisters.

And thus, like a fairy tale with a happy ending, Collette Remsen will live happily ever after as a mermaid.

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by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - A certified lifeguard, Remsen goes underwater to demonstrate her skill. She says being a great swimmer is absolutely essential for any mermaid aspirant.

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