Sometimes, life plays a dirty trick by shining a beacon of exposure in our direction. In my case, the exposure came in the form of accidental nakedness.
Mom pulled David and me in a wagon down our dirt road in Welch Hollow. The vibration tenderized our hineys and made it fun to say shaky ahhhs. Our chorus blended with the wagon wheels as they rhythmically crunched over stones.
We reached Dad’s cousin’s house and saw another family with children outside visiting. The adults sat in folding chairs, hiding in the shade of a huge maple tree.
“Giggy, come on over,” they called.
Mom pulled us across the road and parked our wagon.
A large galvanized wash basin sat in the driveway, surrounded by laughing and shrieking kids. It sloshed with water warmed by the sun and a little pee. David and I took off our shoes and socks, and rushed to join them.
I hopped in and out of the tub with my bare feet, getting wet up to my knees. The other kids wore bathing suits, and had a lot more fun splashing each other and taking turns pretending to take a bath.
I ran over to Mom and tugged on her arm. “David and I want to get wet all over. Can we take off our clothes and play in our underwear?”
“No. It isn’t appropriate in mixed company,” answered Mom. “Anyway, we can’t stay too long. I have to get supper ready for Daddy.”
“I want to pretend to take a bath.”
“Stop your whining or we’ll leave now.”
I heard that line a lot. I knew Mom meant it because I tested her a few times. I sat by the driveway, pouting. An older girl (age seven) walked over and squatted in front of me.
“I think they keep extra suits in the garage,” she said. “That’s where I got mine.”
I took an indirect route away from Mom’s line of vision. A folding clothes rack made of wooden dowels (like the one in our bathroom at home) displayed several bathing suits. I picked the prettiest one with faded polka dots.
The garage had no door and no private place to change. I ducked inside a lean-to against the outside of their garage and stripped off my clothes. I stood holding the suit, figuring out which opening was the head-hole and which were for feet, when Mom’s voice reached me.
“Mary Barbara, I said it’s time to go home.”
She must have been calling for a while because other voices joined in, and some were getting close. I was naked as a blue jay and a far cry from being appropriate for mixed company. I grabbed my discarded clothes and hid behind a pile of stacked boards and assorted junk. The calling became frantic, and so was I. If they’d stay away, then I could put my clothes back on.
“Mary, are you in here?” whispered the girl who told me about the bathing suit. “If you are, you better come out now.”
I crawled out, holding my clothes in front of me. Finally, I could change before anyone else saw me.
My underpants weren’t pulled up yet when she screamed, “I found her! And she’s bare-naked!”
The exposure should have served as an embarrassing lesson. Unfortunately, I was doomed to repeat accidental nakedness at a couple later dates.
Now it’s your turn: As a kid, did you have an accidentally naked experience?
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