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Boyhood

Discussion in 'Free Fire Zone' started by jemimas_special2, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. jemimas_special2

    jemimas_special2 Shepherd

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    I had visited the Tattered Cover yesterday, and stumbled upon this book for my son called "The Mammoth Book of Boys Own Stuff" by Jon E. Lewis. From what I've read so far, this book incorporates everything boys need to know and do before they grow into manhood.

    When I think of boyhood, my mind overflows with thoughts of bows and arrows, cardboard houses, nailing things together, homemade volcanoes, collecting baseball cards, carpentry, and exchanging facts on cars.... is it safe to say that boyhood without such experiences will have no pleasure in recollecting in manhood? As Jon has expressed in his book, boyhood is about exploring the world, and your place in it...

    This thread was designed to share some of those experiences, and your approach on boyhood as you've matured.

    I welcome any thoughts on:

    1. How to make a water bomb
    2. How to make a simple bow and arrow
    3. Piratology
    4. Morse Code
    5. Carpentry (yes tree house's included ;))
    6. Stories with a compass
    7. Swimming games
    8. Good manners
    9. Knots
    X. DIY Volcano
    XI Pen and Paper games
    XII Card games
    XIII Books you read by the age of 10 or 12

    Have fun with this, and remember any feedback you can share will be rewarded with salutes and rep!

    As a young man, I can recall reading Jack London's "Call of the Wild", and C.S. Lewis "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe"..... loved these books as a kid. These authors sparked the idea of adventure and a new world.

    all the best to you rogues,

    Jem
     
  2. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    1. Water bombs...um, we made bombs alright. Not all of them ahd to do with water.
    2. Bows and arrow! Oh my we had a fun time with our bows. The arrows were as straight as, well, an arrow, to our simple minds.
    3. Piratology is just a funny word.
    5. Carpentry we used to do a lot...forts, traps, catapults...you name it we set it's design structure back 100 years
    9. Knots...still one of my favorite thing to do is until hopelessly knotted ropes, cords, strings...anything
    13. Books...at 10-12 I read everything our library had on Gen. Custer, Crazy Horse, and Great Lakes shipwrecks.
     
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  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Looking back at growing up is always fun. It seemed a much simpler time. Our own dgmitchell prevailed on me to start a blog with just those thoughts in mind. Anyone interested can read some of my past by going to Random Thoughts

    If you feel so inclined, leave comments there, since I'm not sure they are really needed here.
     
  4. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I've read some of Lou's Random Thoughts, great site. I never bothered to learn much about "bow and arrow" construction as a kid, I had firearms and knives instead. A cousin was a bow guy, but for hunting and all his stuff was pretty professional, I never got into bows.

    We didn’t play "pirates" we played cowboys and injuns, or cowboys and outlaws, and stuff like that. But there were two games I played as a youth (pre-teen) which would have the schools sending both me and my parents to court if not jail. Mumbly-peg and stretch-em. Both of these games were played at school in the recess yard, and under the eyes of our teachers. Nobody got killed, and only a few games of stretch-em were lost in the "ultimate" fashion. In the normal game, you would "stick" your knife just outside of the other guys foot and he would have to put his foot on the other side of your knife and keep his foot there while throwing his own outside of your foot. This proceeded until one of you lost your balance and fell over, and you lost or your foot was impaled and you won.

    You won if the other guy missed his shot and stuck you in the foot or boot. I had found and purchased a lovely lock-back 4" stiletto for these two games, it was wonderfully balanced for throwing. These days you couldn’t leave it in your car within a mile of a school without getting in trouble, but I carried it in my pocket until I went into the Navy in ‘68.

    In mumbly peg, a tent stake (or other peg) was stuck in the ground, and the contestants made their own knives stick in the ground using more and more complicated delivery methods. The first one who couldn’t get his knife to "stick", or had a "leaner" was the loser and had to pull the peg out of the ground with his teeth while saying "you win, you win, you win". This mouthful of peg caused the "mumble", hence (as I understand it) the game’s name. One time our grade school principle (a Mr. Heinz), saw us playing and came over in the middle of a game, claimed he was pretty good as a kid, borrowed my stiletto for a few throws, and showed some skill.

    Since I grew up in Montana we also had a great many gophers to "get rid of". They were really a Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, not a gopher or a prairie dog, just a pest.

    At any rate a few of my friends and I also took our .22s to school so that we could go hunting "gophers" after school without going home to retrieve our rifles. When we were in "grade school" we were always in the same classroom for the entire day, and we would just stand the rifles in a corner of the room until school was over. When we moved into Jr. High and High school we had lockers to put them in since we would be moving from room to room and carrying them around was too much of a pain in the butt.

    In the late fall we would also bring our shot-guns to school so we could go bird hunting when the season opened. On the Hi-Line in Montana it was Hungarian Pheasants, and Sage Hens. But deer, antelope, duck and goose hunting was an organized affair with our parents and grandparents, generally on week-ends so no firearms at school for those hunts.

    I had a great old WW2 German "Marsch Kompass" my uncle had appropriated in Tunis when I lived on the Hi-Line, but there was no real need for one. We had the "largest isolated mountain range" in America to our north by about 40 miles and that thing (Sweetgrass Hills) was visible all the time so you knew where north was. If you went south you ran into the Marias River in twenty miles so south was a known quality as well. To the east, you couldn’t see them easily, but the Bear Paw mountains showed up if you walked east far enough. No compass needed in daylight or moonlight. Since traveling in blizzards or such was foolish, a compass was silly. Knowing how to use one was Cub, Boy and Explorer stuff that we just enjoyed doing to get our badges. The same with Morse Code, and knots.

    Knots were something I learned without knowing I was learning "knots". If you grow up on a farm/ranch with livestock and especially horses and cows you better know how to make a good knot. Boy Scouts taught me some of the different ones, but I knew some without even knowing their real names. Square knots, sheep shanks, bowlines, and double half-hitches were just "knots" that were used.

    Now as to water bombs. The Hi-Line is classified a desert area in geologic terms, and water is a treasure, not a toy. So I didn’t get to enjoy the thrill of a water bomb balloon until I was long out of pubescence, and by then much of the allure didn’t exist.

    My maternal Grandfather was an "old world" Norwegian carpenter/cabinet maker, and my Dad was an accomplished carpenter in his own right, so my "playhouses" never happened, and since we had no trees really, no tree houses. I did excavate a great number of "caves" and other dug-outs in dry river/creek banks. Do those count?

    Swimming was, a Scout activity in both the Marias River and swimming pools. But they were things we had to go distances to do, the river was about 20 miles south and the Tiber Dam reservoir (now Lake Elwell) was the largest body of standing water in which to swim, and the nearest real "pool" was in a different city for years and years. So not too many "games" in the water really, unless you count water skiing, I learned to do that behind a beautiful mahogany Century inboard with a Ford Interceptor engine with three dueces as a "pull boat". That was fun and could be a game since it could pull about six skiers without breaking a sweat.

    Good manners? If you wanted to survive until your teens, you learned those post-haste in the fifties.

    The other "bombs" however I am guilty of, and some of them would have been very deadly if exploded in the true open. Back in the fifties chlorine bleach like Purex came in glass one gallon jugs. And a friend of mine and I were always trying to make those things into the best "explosions" we could come up with. The very best we attained was done in our shared alley; back when we burned our trash in open 30 and 50 gallon drums. Bryce and I had taken a glass jug out of the trash, put in about a pint of gasoline (stolen from Dad’s lawn mower stash), and a cup of Mom’s Purex. Our plan was to see if they would mix, and what would happen when we dumped it out. As we were shaking the mixture together the jug started to sort of "heat up", and hiss out of the screw on top, so we threw it in the garbage can which happened to have burning trash in it at the time.

    A "wonderful" explosion ensued, blowing a "mushroom" cloud about 30 feet in the air, bulging the steel barrel a bit, and scattering trash all over the place. Our Moms made us both clean the area of all the crap and after a "sound talking to" (complete with lower extremity impact for emphasis), we decided this wasn’t a good plan. I was never taken with "pen and paper games" if you mean something like Tic-Tac-Toe, or hangman. So no reply there.

    I grew up knowing how to play both draw and stud poker, I don’t remember when I learned them but I played with my fraternal Grandfather until he passed on in 1960 when I was 11. He also taught me "Black-jack", and Craps.

    Books by age ten. Huh, I wasn’t interested in "books" until I screwed up in sixth grade and attracted the ire of Mr. Heinz when I was ten. He thought he would punish me by making me read a book over a two week period and give him a written report. He picked Twain’s; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and I haven’t stopped reading for both enjoyment and information. That summer I read Ivanhoe, and Leatherstocking Tales as well since he recommended them.
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Great stories, Clint. I grew up in a city, but I was also familiar with both "stretch" and mumbly-peg. My uncle (he was only 14 years older than I) gave me a nice stainless steel folding knife when I was 8 or 9. We played a lot of stretch for several years.

    We also made bows and arrows out of tree limbs, and sometimes managed to fasten tin can lids on the tips to make them sharper. Our war games tended to be cowboys and Indians (I had an imaginary palomino), or war (usually based on some WW2 movie we saw).

    Books were a constant companion from 2nd grade on. I belonged to a book club that delivered monthly, and I also was permitted a subscription to Mad Magazine from about age 10. Books are always on the Christmas list for each of my grandchildren.

    I also learned poker as a kid. My parents and relatives always played when we got together, so I learned by osmosis. My cousins and I still get together on occasion and have a poker night.

    Good times, generally, growing up.
     
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  6. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Hey Lou, I shouldn't have stated that I wasn't interested in books exactly, that was sort of wrong. I hadn't read anything which was really "fiction" of worth, like Twain and Cooper. My folks had started a "book club" for me as well, but I don't think it was monthly, bi-monthly sounds about right.

    It was from American Heritiage (I think) and all hard-cover books of about 250 pages or less dealing with historical personages in the biographical form. Walter Reed, Elizibeth Barton, Edison, Lindbergh, Florence Nightengale, ect.. By the time I stopped getting them every other month I had about forty issues, and I gave them to my oldest son to read as he went through his first six years of school, he kept them and gave them to my grand-daughter. Grace is still reading them, not a bad investment from the fifties I guess.

    I had to hide my MAD magazines, like a Playboy or something. Getting a subscription would have been far outside the realm of possibiltiy!

    My Mom was a real bridge player, I only barely got into that game before she passed on in the seventies. She was a tournament level player, even though she never advanced beyond the district level in the Northwest. Still a great game, too bad my ex-wife hated it, her parents were/are great players.
     
  7. jemimas_special2

    jemimas_special2 Shepherd

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    drift...

    Thank you for sharing your experiences in boyhood. Knots were one of my favorite things to learn as a boy. I would visit family in Washington state every summer for ten years straight! Plenty of farm duties to be had, not too mention fishing. Fishing in the Pacifc Northwest is epic ;) After reading Clint's, and teach's response... sounds like there was plenty of reading going on as a kid. Very cool.

    Lou,

    Seeing as though I'm still at work, I'm unable to check out your random thoughts page as it's filtered :( Soon enough my friend! When I get home tonight. It's neat to see the ties between you and Clint, and how you shared some of the same experiences...

    Clint,

    Your response was just what I was looking for... thank you for taking the time to share your boyhood experiences. When I was developing this thread, I was anxious to hear your feedback, so thank you.

    How the times have changed... hearing you speak of your shot guns and .22's being brought to school blows me away.... literally. And how they were stored in the corner, or in your locker. Now a days that idea is Verboten, and I'm sure a hefty discipline, if not expulsion is in order. It's a pleasure to hear of your adventures, and the context in which you portray it in... it's very specific, and shared as if your are living it 20-30 years ago ;)

    Jem
     
  8. dgmitchell

    dgmitchell Ace

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    Ah, I shall always have fond memories of my boyhood. I grew up for the most past in the 1970's (born in early '66). I think the 70's were the last decade of childhood as those of us in our 40's and older remember it. Here are some of my memories:

    The Woods. My parents let me road the woods near my home at an early age. I used to walk for hours. Mom would pack me a lunch and either alone or with a few friends we would head out into the 2000 acres of woodlands that were pretty much across the street from my house (even though I lived only 10 miles from downtown Boston). I loved the freedom and my parents never had to worry about me because they had roamed the woods where they grew up when they were kids.

    The Seasons. Baseball, Football and Basketball governed our year. We played in undeveloped fields because people actually liked having land and had not yet sold it all to developers. We would wander the field for ten minutes looking for "dog mess" and then find a way to get most of it off the field with a stick -- it was really not cool to get tackled where a dog had been sick!

    Talking. My friends and I used to talk. I remember one cold day in late Fall, a friend and I were out and it was cold. There was a small wooded area near his home and we were hanging out in it. I think we were about ten years old at the time. Rather than go inside, we built a shelter out of branches and anything else we could find. It made a great windbreak and we got inside it and just talked for a couple of hours until we new that we were late for dinner.

    The Blizzard of '78. I was 12 and the Boston area was completely snowed in. My friends and I walked about 4 miles down the middle of Route 1 (a major highway) just because we could since all of the roads were closed and we would scurry to the side of the highway really quickly at the sound of a plow.

    Learning from Old Movies. I watched classic movies from an early age because that was all that was usually on TV other than Saturday morning cartoons and sports. I started my interest in WWII when I saw To Hell and Back for the first time. I also remember watching the test pattern while waiting for the broadcasting day to start (with the National Anthem) and hearing the announcer say "this concludes our broadcasting day" at about midnight.

    Freedom. I was going to the movies with my friends by the time we were ten years old. No cell phones. Sometimes whoever was supposed to call his parents for a ride home would spend all of his money and we would have to beg the ushers to give us a dime to call home.

    Gas Stations. We would hang out in one of the gas stations on our street. High school kids worked them and when we were in elementary school we would just sit in the office and hang out. I remember Mr. Fudge's Jenny Station and Perley Burrell's BP station, especially.

    The Local Drug Store and Soda Fountain. We had one. Now I think they are all gone, replaced by chains. I remember that during the blizzard, I walked to Duggan's drug store and bought a word search book for my brother since it was his 10th birthday and we weren't able to go out to get him any real presents.

    Passbook Deposits. Remember those? I still have my first passbook from my first bank account somewhere.

    Paper Routes. Kids controlled them -- not adults the way it is today.

    Going Door to Door to find odd jobs. Raking, shoveling, cleaning cars, mowing, we offered to do it all.

    Baseball Cards. I had more than 100,000 by the time I was 16.

    This Week in Baseball with Mel Allen. There was no Baseball Tonight -- just Mel on Saturdays.

    Jumping in Piles of Leaves in the Fall. Do any kids still do that?

    Picking Fresh Fruit in My Yard and eating it. I loved our Apple Tree!

    I could go on but I figure most of you stopped reading already!
     
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  9. jemimas_special2

    jemimas_special2 Shepherd

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    Adding a twist to this thread.... What would you have wanted to experience? Or were you fulfilled.... looking at your character now, do you believe a portion of your boyhood contributed to that ;)

    Jem
     
  10. panzer kampf gruppen 6

    panzer kampf gruppen 6 Dishonorably Discharged

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    Hey i did not even get to the water bomb yet! Even tho thiers no video games that sounds fun I cant roam the woods.... I am sure it would be fun to make fake ww2 battles with friends with sticks or somthing.
     
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  11. Shangas

    Shangas Member

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    1. How to make a water bomb

    Balloon. Tap (faucet). Water. Digital dexterity advanced enough to tie small knots. Decent eyesight, good throwing-arm and a good aim. Coming from Australia, as a kid, I made lots of water-bombs...you had to, it was the only way to keep cool!

    2. How to make a simple bow and arrow

    Never made one, but I fired a bow and arrow on several occasions.

    3. Piratology

    Yarrr! Nah, never did this.

    4. Morse Code

    I used to have a Morse-code set as a child. Two morse-keys with lights on them.

    5. Carpentry (yes tree house's included ;))

    Never had a treehouse. But I would love to have learnt carpentry.

    6. Stories with a compass

    Never had this.

    7. Swimming games

    Certainly had this!

    8. Good manners

    And this, too.

    9. Knots

    Never learnt. Although I did master the ancient and mystical art of shoelaces.

    X. DIY Volcano

    I remember doing this! Was fun...and messy!!

    XI Pen and Paper games
    XII Card games

    Oh yeah. How we used to amuse ourselves before the invention of computers. I must've been the last generation on earth to ever remember growing up playing manual games.

    XIII Books you read by the age of 10 or 12

    Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Brian Jacques...eeeh...Geoffrey McSkimming...those were my childhood writers. Also the classics such as Wind in the Willows (my FAVOURITE!) and The Secret Garden.

    Things I remember from my boyhood...hmmm...

    ...Teachers writing stuff on the board with CHALK! (nobody does that these days).
    ...Playing with my own chalkboard! (Fun...!!)
    ...Playing with toy trains & tracks.
    ...Playing with marbles.
    ...Remembering a time before regular teenage pregnancies.
    ...Remembering a time before mass-shootings.
    ...Learning to touchtype.
    ...Writing with a pen and paper, and being scolded by my father, if my writing was crap. Glad that he did scold me now. My handwriting looks like calligraphy compared to some of the stuff I've seen kids write these days...Yuuuurrrghhh!!
    ...I was *just* old enough to remember a time when people still used typewriters every day. My parents had one at home and I used to use it all the time. It was a Canon. This was the early 1990s when PCs were slowly becoming more common.

    I also remember a time when we used to go down to the park, and mum would let me ride all over the park on my bike, all alone. This was before the days that parents got all freaked out and locked their kids inside because they were scared of prowlers.
     
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  12. jemimas_special2

    jemimas_special2 Shepherd

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    Shangas and PKG6....

    Thank you for sharing, I'm glad to see you share some of those priceless experiences... it's fun to reminisce isn't it ;)

    all the best,

    Jem
     
  13. Shangas

    Shangas Member

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    Hey Jem, you're welcome.

    Other things I remember from my childhood...

    Safe Houses. I don't think they have these anymore, because people are so damn paranoid about kids being kidnapped and raped and whatever.

    For those who don't know, a safe house, or a safety-house, was a building (either a shop or an institutional building, or an actual house) with a yellow sign out the front. It was a place of safety for lost kids to go to. If you were out with mother and you got separated during a walk, you could head into one of these places and the people would take care of you and get your details and there'd be a telephone there for you to ring for help and stuff. Of course, the people who ran these places had to have EXTENSIVE background, character and police-checks first, before you could get a permit to put out a yellow 'safety' sign.

    ...Don't have those anymore. There used to be one down the road from my house, I believe.

    --- --- --- ---

    I stand corrected!

    The official Safety Houses website: http://www.safetyhousevic.org.au/

    When I was a kid, there was one of those yellow signs in every neighbourhood. Sometimes even every few blocks.
     
  14. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Some of my fondest boyhood memories are things my Grandad took the time to pass on:

    Fishing: We would spend hours walking along streams catching trout in the afternoons. Each trip would begin with me searching the creek bottom for helgermites. I had to clean the fish so of course I had to know how to take care of and sharpen my pocket knife.

    Marksmanship: Began with sling shots; both the David and Goliath and Dennis the menace versions, to BB guns, to a .22 gallery pump rifle. Unfortunately he passed before I graduated to the '06 and Shotgun.

    Welding: My Grandad was a milwright and before that he built ships during WW2. I was generally at his elbow whenever he cranked up the arc welder or torch. I think I was the only kid in 5th grade that could run a bead and I know I was the only one who could gas weld.

    The first thing I did when I finally got a BB gun was to tape a plastic bowie knife to the barrel and clean out all the Japanese gun positions on the hillside in front of my grandparent's house!!!!
     
  15. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

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    me! the gang,several mates back then that made camps on a small Island back in the 50s and had some fun times as another gang made one on the opposite side of the river,raids and fights,making rafts and going up river,not sure how many could swim,me! definately not,we made bows and arrows trying to shoot at seagulls flying miles high,and no chance of hitting them,but still fun trying,making bombs too,oh how naughty we were then, blowing up things,setting fire to reeds,and scrumping was a summer pleasure too! as was birds nesting,collecting eggs,great times and friends from back then,fires,playing hide and seek in the late evenings in the par, night time of course!so hiding meant darkness and bushes/trees good place to hide....so much fun then and remember it well...ray..
     
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  16. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    We used to have epic, epic battles in our neighborhood. Started out in my yard which lead to use storming across Mr. Ormsbee's field that used to be a garden but was always just mud, to get nice and army like dirty. We'd take the cannon that my brother and his friends had made out of scrap parts years before, once that was secure we'd storm the rail road grade. Walking down the tracks a half mile to a little waterfall we'd take our lunch break. From there it was down through the Deurwater's yard and into Mr. Hill's backyard with the apple trees whose branches were so low you could climb them without jumping. We'd play for hours. I still have the wooden M16 my dad made me. It would NOT pass today's toy gun laws about not looking realistic. What good times.
     
  17. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Remember my Boyhood?
    Last night I fell asleep listening to the Whippoorwills as a cool breeze eased through the window. There was still a tinge of light arcing slowly upward intermingling with the darkening sky as the Sun had just begun to set. The window is open just enough to let in the fresh Summer air but not too high so I would have time to quickly slam it shut on the occasion that a monster or animal might decide to join me. It was only 45 years from yesterday that I ran for miles without being winded, built forts both of snow and wood depending on the season. Yesterday was a good day. We found a vine hanging from a tall tree and after cutting it free near the ground, we had a perfect “Tarzan” swing. We could swing out over a creek of which there were many in the area. When the swing broke which was often, we’d either find another one or something else to do. The Illinois River was only a mile South and being 10 or 11 with free range of our woods along with the three or four hundred acres that bordered where we lived, we never “Had nothing
    To Do”. We could ’walk the levies’ looking for loot. You could always find a few dead fish washed up on the bank, the trick was to find the biggest and smelliest. Tow lines that had escaped the barges were the ultimate prize! Shinnying up the biggest, tallest, baddest tree we could find and tying that two inch rope to a stout limb we’d have the King of Swings! Well until it broke or some A-hole stole it. We’d take newspaper and using one page, lay it flat on the ground, put a handful of dirt in the middle and wrap it into a softball size grenade. One of us would swing out over the precipice while the others would bombard you with the homemade projectiles. When these hit you the dust cloud was a sight to see, even if you couldn’t after being hit with one. And without fail there was always one smarta-- who would slip in a dirt clod just to keep things interesting.
    You asked about Bows and Arrows. Yeah we made those by the dozens. Had to due to the darn things constantly breaking. I also found out it is not a good idea to use your Fathers new leather boot laces for the string. To build a treehouse you only needed a few things. Scraps of wood and about two hundred pounds of nails would get you started. We had treehouses scattered all over the woods and some of them were truly impressive. I remember “Forts” of modest sizes armed with catapults made of inter-tubes from flat tires. We’d build a fire and melt rubber into a can, pour this over the ends of the inter-tube after carefully wrapping the ends around two trees about three feet apart. This usually held the ends together. Usually. The biggest had nearly a ten foot draw length and Man could that thing launch a missile! I remember a lot more but Mom says it’s time to do my chores. Maybe later Dude!
     
  18. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    Here is a book for all you folks who are worried that your kids are missing out:

    The Dangerous Book for Boys | Conn Iggulden, Hal Iggulden

    It breaks down into things to do and things to know, most of the latter is very 'brit-centric' (rules of cricket, British history and so on) but still well worth a look. Definately worth getting!
     
  19. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    my childhood was a mix of horror, tragedy and happiness.

    one of the fondest actually was to form my destiny of sorts. being taught to set out on my own since I was 3-5 years of age and learning to mountain climb and back pack in the High Sierras by the age of 7 in 1960 and onward. Dad was sharper than a tack for this one, knowing full well that I was either going to hate the back country or love it..............the latter stuck with me like glue ending up of course overseas and teaching back country skills and learning to survive even behind enemy lines to many young and old, military and non - won't say anymore on this, but yes the luv will go with me till the day I die, now I can spoil my red-headed grandson with everything my own Father taught me, rest his soul.

    E ~
     
    jemimas_special2 likes this.
  20. panzer kampf gruppen 6

    panzer kampf gruppen 6 Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
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    Man looks so fun my life is boring.
     

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