The 1970’s were a decade full of changes. Tired of the war in Viet Nam, America began to bring her soldiers home. Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison were replaced by, egads! the BeeGees, and Americans publicly showed their thirst for blood by making Jaws a box office smash. Morals went in the toilet with the younger generation accepting the notion of Free Love in place of the chains of marriage, and divorce became an everyday occurrence.
While all these headliners were taking place, my best friend and I were blithely going about our business of growing up. It wasn’t easy to be a teenager in the 70’s. Though the media played on the decline of morality, inducing even more people to discard old-fashioned ideas about love and marriage, my mother was firmly entrenched in her views. She had very clear ideas of feminine roles verses the male’s role in the scheme of life. A women cooked, cleaned, raised the children, and still looked like a fashion model when her husband came home from work. Men went to work, came home to eat and read the paper. Their only household duty was to take out the trash.
People constantly marveled over my mother’s ability to run the household so efficiently and still look beautiful for her man at the end of the day. She was a paragon of all a woman should be, absolutely stunning in appearance, and witty as the occasion may call. The fact that she had five children to raise while being this paragon of virtue, only made them crank the pedestal a notch higher. What no one knew was that she didn’t do it alone. I was the only girl out of five children. How much work is taking out the trash when divided between four sons and a husband?
Needless to say, I took up the cause for Women’s Rights. Being only a teenager, my activities didn’t do much to make an impact on the country as a whole, but it sure rocked my mother’s world. It started with an argument over blue jeans. Mother didn’t feel blue jeans belonged on a young lady. So at the age of twelve, I still didn’t own any. She finally caved in when she realized she might put a damper on other’s opinions of her up-to-the-minute fashion sense. I remember them well.
They were low slung hip huggers, with cute little red frogs embroidered on two very dear little square pockets, placed just so, on the front. Uggghhh! I didn’t want to be cute. She refused to buy me another pair of jeans, claiming one pair was quite enough for a daughter of hers. So I proceeded to wear them every day. I knew she would have fits if she thought someone might think she couldn’t afford to buy me clothes. I then painted huge peace signs and bright smiley faces all over the seat and legs of the jeans. Mother nearly had a coronary when she saw my artwork. I knew she hated it, just as I knew it was only a matter of days until she broke down. She would never admit to abhorring the peace signs, because not only would that seem unhip, but somehow it might be construed as a political statement. I was right about her breaking down. She threw them out, her excuse being that the frog embroidery was wearing off.
My best friend during those years was a girl named Joni. I met her when we were trying out for little league cheerleading, that being the closest thing to a sport my mother thought appropriate for girls. Joni was a skinny, homely girl with long, stringy, dirty blonde hair. The straightness of her hair emphasized the ski slope that was her nose. She was extremely shy, looking at the ground most of the time. When she did manage to look up, her eyes were the first things a person noticed. She had the most beautiful, emerald green eyes, framed in long dark lashes. Her skin was like that of a porcelain doll. To look at her as a skinny awkward teenager, no one would have guessed at the ravaging beauty she would become in just a few short years. That she and I became friends was a miracle. We were so very different from each other. I suppose my aggressive, rambunctious, outgoing ways complimented her quiet, demure, and passive ones. During our friendship she became a little more like me, and I learned to be a little less aggressive.
By the time Joni and I were fifteen, we shared high school classes, were on the cheerleading squad together, and spent numerous hours giggling about boys. Once she opened up, I discovered she was hilarious. I can’t count the times I had to borrow her clothes because I laughed so hard I peed myself. She introduced me to coffee drinking, cigarettes, and how to steal a nip from her mother’s stash of alcohol.
I had never really been around alcohol. My mother and stepfather entertained quite frequently, but we kids were not really permitted to be around. Most of the guests drank beer, though I discovered later that dear old Mom had a fondness for gin. So the day Joni offered me a drink, meaning more than lemonade, I was shocked. Wouldn’t her mother notice? Her mother, Peggy, didn’t really drink either. She had a few unopened bottles in a glass cabinet, kept merely as a token of hospitality should she invite guests over. How were we going to get to the contents inside of the bottles if the seals hadn’t been broken?
To my way of thinking, Joni was not only hilarious, but also a genius. She pulled a bottle from the cabinet, and went to her mother’s sewing box, rummaging through its contents. When she found what she was searching for, she held it up triumphantly. I didn’t understand how a straight pin was going to help. Fascinated, I watched as she ran the sharp point around the bottle cap, cutting an almost invisible line through the label. Well, that was really smart thinking and all, but wouldn’t Peggy notice the level of vodka missing? Of course not, we would just refill it with plain old tap water. We got away with it for a while, until we became overconfident in our abilities of deception. We never stopped to think what would happen if Peggy actually poured a drink for a guest, who wanted it on the rocks. Ice water, that’s what happens.
About midway through summer of that year, we were experiencing the usual boredom that most kids suffer when the thrill of summer wears off. Joni and her brother, Greg, lived with their mother in a quiet mobile home park situated away from any residential areas. Most of the other tenants were either elderly couples, or newly weds. There were a few young families on the other side of the park. The particular evening in question, Greg had gone off to visit friends for the weekend, and Peggy was working the night shift. By the time darkness rolled around, we were having trouble finding anything to talk about, which in itself was unusual. These were the days before anyone had access to a thousand television stations, before gaming systems, and before computers. We called a few of our friends, mostly guys with cars, but no one was home. We were stuck in the house with nowhere to go and nothing to do... Until Joni came up with the bright idea of going streaking. Yeah, that’s what I said. She wanted to run naked down a public street. Even I was shocked.
Joni had changed a lot once puberty hit. I remember saying our goodbyes on the last day of school. We wouldn’t be seeing each other for a couple of weeks because she was going on vacation. My family was due to leave on our vacation just as she would be getting back. So, sadly we said goodbye and promised to tell each other everything the other had missed while away.
I was not prepared for the vision that met my eyes the day we finally got together. Joni had changed from the Ugly Duckling to a gorgeous swan. Her hair was cut into a shorter style, very becoming to her facial features, and it was dyed a bright blonde! The color was perfect for her skin tone. She was finally wearing some make-up. I had tried forever to get her to use it. Now, she had gone and done it on her own. What made my eyes pop out of my head was the transformation of her body. It just wasn’t fair! She left school a skinny, flat-chested stick figure, and came back from vacation the model of every red-blooded male’s ideal woman. Curvy can’t begin to describe her shape. Now, she wanted to bare those melons to the world!
My own transformation had taken place the year before, except mine wasn’t so dramatic. I was little and petite in all the right places, but I was more athletic looking, with the exception of my long hair. I had curves and a decent set of my own, but Joni’s were more on the order of indecent! I never saw anything so big that wasn’t manmade. I was in awe. There was no way I was going to get naked, and run down the street next to a blonde bombshell.
Finally she talked me into it. After all, it was late at night, almost midnight. Who was going to see us? Certainly no one we knew personally. So getting in the spirit of things, I went with her to her room to get ready. We rummaged around in her closet looking for silly accessories to wear over our nakedness. Finally we settled on some old Easter hats she had worn as a child. They were the kind with the little elastic thread used as a chinstrap, and they were made of white straw. Mine had a ruffled brim, pink satin ribbon around the crown and was adorned with sweet little daisies. Hers was very similar except the brim was wide and flat, and the ribbons trailed down the back of her neck.
We decided to undress at her house, and only wear robes to our destination. We didn’t want to spend too much time undressing and dressing in the open outdoors. The only trouble with using robes was that Joni didn’t own more than one. I chose an old hand crocheted poncho, the kind seen on ten-year-old kids. It wasn’t very long, so I had to stretch the yarn fringes to cover my butt. Walking without giving ourselves away was going to be extremely difficult. Every streaker knows a good pair of sneakers is important. I didn’t have any sneakers with me, and Joni’s feet were bigger than mine. So, I had to settle on the brand new leather sandals purchased at the shore. I wasn’t too worried, though. I was a runner on the track team, and was sure that our short sprint would pose no problems for my footwear.
The mobile home park was situated just off of a minor highway, close to the turnpike exchange. Along the highway leading to the exchange, was a strip mall just large enough to house a flower shop, laundromat, and a little general store. We chose that as our location of operations. We quickly disrobed and de-ponchoed, leaving our coverings piled in the shadows. Then we scurried around the back to the other end of the building, peeking around the corner in our silly Easter hats. Cars were whizzing by on the highway. We looked at each other and grinned. Then we made our dash along the front of the mall, laughing hysterically.
Once we reached our scant clothing, we pulled them on, barely able to remain standing, we were laughing so hard. One of the cars passing us, during our sprint, had run onto the shoulder of the road, swerving in time to keep from running into a ditch. Giggling, we started to walk across the pavement of an empty gas station parking lot. Suddenly, two headlights were shining on us like spotlights at a theater. We looked at each other in shock before we both yelled “Cops!” and took off running in opposite directions.
My heart was pounding as I made a dash for an exposed corner to a backyard in the trailer park. I was even more unnerved when I realized the police had gotten out of their vehicle and were giving chase on foot. I reached the corner of the exposed yard, intent on dashing through a gap in the bushes. Thwump! I was suddenly on my face in the grass, wind knocked out of me, bare butt and feet waving in the air, minus one sandal. In my hasty get away, I hadn’t seen the wire cable fence rising two feet from the ground. Panicked to the point of near hysteria, I scrambled on all fours and crouched in a tiny ball, trying to make myself invisible among the row of bushes lining a trailer. I reminded myself to take deep, calming breaths.
I chanced a peek out of the bushes, raising my head high enough to see out over the street in front. Here came Joni, flying past, hat ribbons waving in the air. Apparently, her robe only had one working button, and that was at the top. So the rest of the garment was trailing and billowing behind in her wake. In that brief second of time, I saw her arms pumping madly, and her breasts bouncing crazily in rhythm with her feet. No sooner had she passed, than an officer sprinted by, glowing flashlight in his hand making weird shadows ahead of him. I could tell he was thoroughly enjoying his exercise. He sported a grin from ear to ear. I had to cover my mouth to stifle the hysterical laughter threatening to expose my hiding place.
With no warning, the loud annoying yip yap of the trailer owner’s dog was ringing in my ears. Oh, man! This was just getting worse. The back door of the trailer cracked open, and a female voice asked me what I was doing. I didn’t have time to be embarrassed. So I said something brilliant. I told her to close the door because the cops were chasing me. Giving thought to it later, I can’t believe she didn’t just pick up the phone and tell them where to find me. It’s even more astounding that she didn’t seem bothered to have a near naked girl in her backyard, hiding out. She just quietly closed the door, after a muffled “Oh!”
I waited several minutes, watching for the return of the police. I had no idea if they had managed to catch Joni. I didn’t really know my way around the trailer park, so I didn’t know how to get back to her house, especially in the dark. I was terrified I’d have to sit virtually naked, in a stranger’s yard, until daylight. The fear of sitting all night far out weighed my embarrassment. I timidly knocked on the woman’s door, which set the dog off again.
I gave her a hurried whispered explanation of what had happened, being sure not to mention Joni’s name. She had to live there, after all. Thank God the woman had a heart. She grabbed my arm and yanked me inside. The embarrassment finally took hold of me. Here was this woman, looking the very image of Helen Roper on Three’s Company, and she was too busy laughing herself silly to be of any help. I stood with my back pushed against the door, trying to fend off the dog, which had taken an interest in my nudity. I couldn’t move my hands fast enough to keep his wet nose from intruding into private areas. While I was squirming away from the dog, and Helen was guffawing, her husband came out of the bedroom door to my right. I suppose he got an eye full, because he slapped his hand to his eyes, and asked what was going on. Helen attempted to inform him, between belly laughs, of my dire situation, while he felt blindly along the wall with his free hand, in an attempt to find his way to their living room.
When Helen had finally gotten control of herself, she wiped the tears from her eyes and pointed me to the phone. Holding my breath, I waited for Joni to answer. Needless to say, I was immensely relieved to hear her voice. She hadn’t been captured and booked on a streaking violation. I promised her I hadn’t given her identity away to my helpful protectors. Joni asked me to watch for her. She would bring me my clothes while pretending to walk her dog.
I stood vigilantly by the window, as did the laughing Mrs. Roper. This was just too good! There was no way she was going to miss out on seeing who my partner in crime might be. Joni came as promised, carrying my jeans and t-shirt in one hand, while grasping the leash of her German Sheppard. She was dressed as any other teenager taking her dog for a walk, with one exception. Perched on top of her head was the Easter hat. Despite my embarrassment, I started giggling again. She was flaunting her escape in the face of the grinning policeman who had chased her. I opened the door to take the bundle of clothing, when behind me I heard, “Oh, my God! That’s my papergirl!”
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