Until very recently, if you had asked me about the mythology of what small boys keep in their pockets, I would have been inclined to dismiss it as literary cliché and nostalgia. What modern boy, after all, covets marbles and decrees that random kerbside junk is somehow Treasure?
This one, it seems.
Harry discovered the true magic of pockets – with their seeming infinite capacity for holding Important Things – when he was given a fleece jacket with roomy, zipped pockets on each side. When I pulled it out of the laundry basket last week ready to wash it, it weighed a startling amount. Careful emptying of a single pocket revealed the list of treasures above, dictated by Harry as being;
An old fruit gum: “For my snack, if I need energy”
Pebbles: “For my collection”
A golf ball, found in undergrowth the previous weekend and carried around for 5 days: “For Grandma”
Marbles, source unknown: “For a game I am planning about lions”
A single, small Lego piece: ‘I always like to have Lego in my pocket”
Stray feather: “For you, because I know you like feathers and I always collect them when I find them”
Random rubber objects with sequins attached to them: ‘Just in case I need them for something. And because you like sparkly things”.
Squashed pine cone: “In our game it was the school bell and I was ringing it to mean the end of playtime”
I was struck not only by the sheer magnitude of stuff which he’d collected (and you can imagine the shower of dust, soil and fluff which fell out with it all…), but also the considered evaluation and justification of each item. They’re currently carefully collated in a shoebox, waiting for the fleece to be dry so that they can be restored to their rightful place. Or discreetly thrown away.
Boys… a wonderful, awesome mystery.
(p.s. What’s the strangest thing you’ve found in a pocket? And to mothers of daughters; are girls the same? )