Kids have always been…well, a little more open and free with their thoughts on things like the need to wear clothes. With summer upon us, people begin to think about things like the lake, the town pool, or for the little kids, the wading pool. If the kids are little enough, they can get away with swimming in just their underwear, and nobody cares. Of course, later on, things are a bit different…at least for the girls. The boys could practically swim in the underwear most of them wear today, because boxers look a lot like swim trunks.
To little kids, however, I’m not so sure that it is just swimming that makes them think that clothes are strictly optional. It seems to me that just about every kid decides that the moments after a bath are the perfect moment for them to become a little streaker. Back in the seventies, when I was in high school, some of the students even tried their hand a streaking. Of course, most of us either didn’t dare, or weren’t so inclined to running around naked. Little kids, however, have no such inhibitions…in fact, being in the buff is pretty much their favorite thing. I can’t say that I would like to be so free again, but little kids do have a great time trying to get away with as little clothing as possible.
I have known several parents who have talked about their own little streakers, and it would seem that at some point, every parent finds themselves with one of these little rebels. It’s hard not to laugh at them, even as you are trying to catch them. One of the funniest things though, is when your little streaker decides that the best time to make a run for it, is when you have company at the house. Even though many of these parents have been in the same position, they still can’t help but laugh when it is someone else in that position.
Of course, as they get older, most kids stop the full streak habit, but for many of them, it is real easy to stay in the partial streak mode…especially the men. I mean really, and be honest here, how many men still love to sit around the house in their underwear? More of them than will want to admit it, I’m sure. I guess the truth be told, there is a little bit of the Streak in all of us, but some of us just don’t ever outgrow it.
You’ve seen them…hollyhocks. They are a flower that some might even consider to be a weed, and they sure grow like one. They seem to grow well in yards or alleys…with little water or with plenty of water. The fact that their flowers are abundant the length of their stalk, and that the buds are as abundant as the flowers, is I suppose what attracted us to them. Of course, we were taught never to pick the flowers in someone’s garden, so the fact that these flowers were often in alleys made them more readily available. Whatever it was, my sisters and friends and I used to pick these flowers and then because of their very short stem, found that they didn’t make very good bouquets.
It seemed such a waste to pick these pretty flowers, just to throw them away, so we tried to find something to do with them…finally inventing the Hollyhock Doll. It wasn’t one of the summertime things we did for very many years, nor was it one of the coolest summertime things we did as children, but while I was walking along the trail near my house, and saw some Hollyhocks behind a house along the trail, the memory of our summertime school holidays and the making of Hollyhock dolls came to mind again.
Of course, it wasn’t just a memory of making Hollyhock dolls, but the chance to look back in time a little bit to a time that was so much more simple, that really drew me to the pretty flowers. As we grow up, and responsibilities force their way into our lives, the simple days of childhood get pushed to the background of our memories. Gone are the days of laying around in the backyard, sun tanning, and the afternoons spent at the local swimming pool. Now we get up every morning and go to work, take care of the responsibilities life has handed us, whether they be our children or caring for elderly parents. Our time is no longer our own to do with as we please. That freedom we had as kids is such a fleeting time in our lives, and yet none of us could wait to be grown up. Now we just wish we could go back and be kids again…for a little bit anyway, because no one really wants to relive their childhood, but rather just go back for an occasional visit.
Thinking back, the next day as I once again noticed Hollyhocks at the edge of the parking lot at work, I couldn’t resist the urge to pick the necessary parts of the flowers for the purpose of making just one more Hollyhock doll. I picked a flower and a bud, and brought them home. It took seconds to put them together, but the memory of the summertime fun we had, has lingered for days. It never was the Hollyhock Dolls that defined summer for me as a kid, but they were a reminder of the summertime fun we had as kids. I guess that’s why the flowers have always held a place of honor in my memory files.