When I was ten years old, I wanted, more than anything, to be a hippie. It was 1968. I wore horse blanket ponchos, high boots (rain boots, but I could pretend), and was graced with a head of blond frizzy hair which I teased out into the biggest triangle I could muster. I painted an entire wall of our basement with psychedelic flowers and peace signs and rainbows. I believed in free love and wished desperately to witness the scene in Berkeley's People's Park.
For Christmas that year I wanted, more than anything, "Fun Flowers." This was a miniature factory-in-a-box that included a little cooker, like a waffle iron only with flower-shaped stencils cut into the metal plates. It came with bottles of brightly colored liquid plastic, probably toxic. You poured the liquid into the flower -shaped cutouts in the cooker and the plastic hardened as it cooked. Then you glued together flower parts in creative ways. It was the commodification of flower power.
That year was the only time I ever snuck a preview of a Christmas gift. One night when my parents were out of town, I carefully unwrapped one end of a big box under the tree. Eureka. Fun Flowers. I loved the kit and made many flowers over the next few weeks. Eventually, I even moved to Berkeley.