A little nostalgia (long & sappy)


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The Goose
October 24, 2005, 03:58 PM
Last night I was sitting on my front porch having a cocktail and smoking a cigar and I got to thinking about stuff that was long forgotten. I grew up in a small rural town in MA in the 50ís and early 60ís. Recreation consisted largely of hunting and fishing. We lived outside of town and we did not play much sports. A fellow was mostly judged on his ability to hunt and fish or maybe handle dogs. I loved guns. I read everything I could lay my hands on about them. I had a .22 and some old military rifles. I would shoot as much as I could afford and take apart and put together the old military rifles.

Once when I was in the 7th. Grade another kid had an old rifle that he wanted to sell me. It was a Swiss Vetterli, a .41 rimfire with a tubular magazine. After school I went over to his house and bought it for $5. I earned the $5 from selling eggs that came from the chickens that had been my payment for shoveling out old man Hutchinsonís driveways and walkways for an entire winter (a prodigious task). After I cut my deal I shouldered my prize and began the 5 mile walk home. I walked right through the center of town with that rifle over my shoulder. As I passed the junior high school that I attended I noticed Mr. Bramhall, the history teacherís, car in the lot. I knew Mr. Bramhall liked to shoot and we often talked about guns so I walked into the school and found him in his classroom. He examined my treasure with some delight and we discussed itís history and design. Then I was off towards home. About a mile from my house some guy pulled up and offered me a ride. He asked if I had been hunting and I told him about my new rifle. He dropped me at our drive.

Another time in the 8th. Grade we had to do a public speaking thing in English class. We had to get up in front of the class and talk about something that we did, like a hobby. Also we could use props to demonstrate. At the time I had an old French single shot bolt action rifle in 8mm Lebel that was stamped 1866. I was stripping and refinishing the stock and making some minor repairs. I disassembled it, wrapped it in a sheet tied with string and brought it in as part of my presentation. In front of the class I opened up the bundle and assembled the rifle, explaining how it functioned and what I was doing to it. I got an A for my presentation. Of course I wish I still had that rifle and I wish that I had not desecrated it so. Oh well.

In todayís world it is hard to believe that the above ever happened. Everything has changed since then and not much for the better. I had completely forgotten about both of those incidents and I am not sure why they surfaced. However, remembering them has triggered a whole flood of memories from a bygone time. Today, even in the most rural areas I doubt one could bring a gun into a school. At the time guns were a natural part of life. Folks were comfortable with them. A kid carrying a gun was likely a good kid going squirrel hunting and not a hoodlum or gang banger. Interesting!

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Frandy
October 24, 2005, 04:05 PM
GREAT STORY!!! Yeah, nostalgic but tells a sad truth...

And ya' know, it wasn't even that far back when things were kinda sane. I'm 57 years old. Back in the mid/late 70s I taught American History in a suburban New York state high school, about an hour north of NYC. During our section on "American Foreign Affairs," I brought my AR-15, M1-Garand, a borrowed Japanese Arisaka, and my blackpowder rifle into class. All on the same day to introduce the whole idea of modern warfare, and so on....

Had no problems whatsoever...none...

Lupinus
October 24, 2005, 04:22 PM
and now frandy, you'd likly be fired and bared from ever teaching agian.

In my freshman year of HS in welding class (I went to a votech) our teacher talked about how kids used to bring in their shotguns or 22s to go hunting after school. I am 20 now and he has been teachign at that school for about 20 years so it is not exactly ages ago. And thsi was in NJ of all places. Guy I know in his 40's same thing. Brought his 22 to school and went hunting or plinking on his way home.

Time's have changed and not for the better. We are scared by the sound of gunfire, at the very sight of a gun. Yet our youth listens to music (term used losely) about shooting people and some of the msot degrading things about woman as possible. If a kid asked for a gun his parents would gasp in horror. Yet they will readily supply him with grand theft auto where you can get automatic weapons and perch somewhere with a rifle and high power scope picking off people at will.

We have become a socity scared to death by guns yet at the same time they are allowed in the msot unsafe display's.

It is sad :(

Give my kid a 22 and let him go shoot squirrle. I'd rather him do that then sit i nthe house and play GTA. Sure I have played GTA and enjoyed it. But at the same time it was not my only exposher to guns. We are educating are kids alright, but in all the wrong ways. Guns have far from disapeared from our socity. They have simply switched over from the walk home plinking and proper gun safty to handing kids music and video games that display guns in only the most dangerous of ways. Then we maybe hand the kid a BB gun after years of this with little if any instruction and wonder why he shoots his friend or the neighbors car window with it.

Smokey Joe
October 24, 2005, 04:24 PM
Cherish those memories, because in all liklihood there will never be a place in our lifetimes where they could be replayed, more's the pity.

Brings to mind my purchase of my first centerfire rifle, a No 4 Mk I* Enfield, which I carefully picked out of about 100 such that a local department store had bought (I suppose for about the scrap price), and which I gleefully paid $12.50 for, and brought home uncased on a public bus.

I Offered the bus driver the rifle's bolt to hold until I got off, but he smiled and turned me down. Nobody else on the bus batted an eye at all this. And this occured in that bastion of liberality, Madison, WI. About half a century ago.

Mulliga
October 24, 2005, 04:28 PM
I was walking down the street with a Red Ryder BB gun after Christmas last year (I love that movie "A Christmas Story"). I'm on the street maybe 15 seconds tops - I take a turn into the woods near our apartment complex and head deep into them. I start plinking some pieces of bark (nothing better than a BB gun for that, IMHO) when a police car comes by and the officer tells me to "drop it." A second police car soon arrives. The officer is very polite and all (even drove me home) but he told me that he would have drawn his G27 on me if I didn't drop the gun.

Apparently, in the 15 seconds where I was sorta visible from the street next to our place, someone had called the cops.

How times change.:(

Rupestris
October 24, 2005, 04:33 PM
I graduated from High School in 1987. At the time the JROTC had a 25 yard range in the basement of the school where they shot .22 bolt action rifles. Romanian trainers IIRC.

The range is probably used for ball room dance classes now.:rolleyes:

mbs357
October 24, 2005, 04:55 PM
My old school's JROTC has a rifle team, no idea what they shot, but I saw them once and I believe they are actually rifles and not BB guns.
No idea where they shoot though.
I left there a couple of years ago.

Tokugawa
October 24, 2005, 05:01 PM
The sheeple have been brainwashed by the media. And our population is mostly urban/suburban. The cultural changes in the last 30/ 40 years have been devastating for liberty.

Old Dog
October 24, 2005, 05:05 PM
And more nostalgia ... Yeah, I remember fondly the days in my youth when my buddies and I would walk down the railroad tracks on the edge of town -- all of us carrying our .22 rifles (mine was a Stevens single-shot, eventually replaced by an Ithaca copy of the Winchester 94 -- bought at Montgomery Wards for about $69, I think) ... No SWAT squad ever got called out because of four or five 14-year-old boys carrying rifles in the city limits ... nor the police helicopter or the Channel 7 newsteam ... One day my friend Marty accidently shot himself in the foot with his Marlin (okay, so some of us had to learn the four rules the hard way) ... the local cop who showed up at the ER made about a two-sentence report and gently admonished us to be more careful ... Marty's dad took his rifle away from him for a week or so ... My dad knew this was a powerful lesson I'd learned, so he didn't lecture me too much.

Our .30-30s, .270s and .30-06s in rifle racks in our pickups in the high school parking lot never raised an eyebrow ... And yes, our JROTC unit had a rifle team ... During the first week of deer season (in Michigan), three-quarters of the male population of my high school was traditionally absent ... And a couple days, our football coaches shortened practices so we could get out in the woods for the last hour of daylight and a little more hunting ...

GRB
October 24, 2005, 05:34 PM
I just hit the 1/2 century mark myself and, I can tell you that lately I have had lots of nostalgic memories of the way things were and of the things that happened in my life. One of the things I remember was living in Brooklyn, NY (then moving to Queens, NY - both in the Heart Of Darkness in NYC) and waiting to see who would show up on the block with a deer draped over their hood or trunk. Those guys were the heroes back then, even in New York City although I will admit, the so called Disney 'classic' Bambi was already taking its toll on us for years by then. This was when I was from about 6-10.

Back around then if you were a wise guy a cop would crack you in the head with his stick or in the arse with his foot. (Historical note: I did not say her stick or her foot - that is the way it was.) This kept you pretty much on the up and up. If that was not enough, if you were a wise guy in school you got the same treatment from teachers, at least in Catholic Schools (actually it was worse from the nuns and priests than it ever was from a cop). Public schools had a bit of the same but they were turning over to the extreme wussified version of things we see today. This was when I was about 6-13.

While I never walked down the streets with a gun (did not actually own a firearm until I was in my twenties), I did go to a summer camp where riflery was one of the best things being taught, I was about 8-13 in the camp years. Taught me a lot, first with a BB gun, then with .22 rifles. I also learned archery at camp. At home I had lots of toy guns. I also had some BB guns. All this was not all that taboo as it would be today for a kid from NYC.

Then I got an archery set. I remember traveling by foot and by city bus to a park with my bow. At the park I went bow-fishing for carp. Never got one because my fishing trip was cut short. I had the cops chase me down - they caught me (heck I knew better than to take off), then they told me to just go home because I should not have the bow in a public park (or something like that). I took my bow and headed home highly disappointed. This was when I was about 14 or 15.

Now if you have big enough marbles to drive down the street with a deer mounted on your car or truck, you had better expect at least a lot of ridicule and bad looks. I always knew there was a reason I never liked that cartoon - Bambi. It made hunters look like nasty, evil, drunks. It made the animals look human and in need of safe haven because of the "evil" hunters. What a bunch hooey. Me, I still give the lucky hunters a thumbs up when I see them with their deer -with meat that they put on their own table, or with meat they give to another - most of all with meat they got themselves. They are truly the ones more in touch with nature than anyone from PETA or ALF.

Enough about scary things like PETA and ALF, more of the good memories. I have lots of other good ones too but I don't need to bore all of you with them. I do need to tell you though that I am making even better memories today. Nowadays I take my son out shooting, hunting, fishing, hiking, and whatever else when we get the chance to get away. I used to do the same with my daughter when she was younger and into such things. My dad was never around, the drunkenness thing and then the divorce thing; makes me happy I am doing something right by my own children. Well, I can tell you that the memories that are made with my children are the greatest of them all. I can only hope they will also have fond , memories of these things and that they will pass them on to their own kids someday.

It is important, if you have kids, or nieces/nephews, or are a scout leader, or whatever, to pass on the sporting heritage to the younger generation. That way, someday your own kids will get to have the best memories of all, those of teaching their children about guns, hunting, fishing, hiking, music, computers, pets and whatever other good wholesome things/hobbies of which you can think. Most of all, they will be making the best memories of all by sharing their lives with their own kids just as you did with yours.

cxm
October 24, 2005, 05:43 PM
Funny you mention the 1866 Lebel "Needle Gun."

Just got one as a by-produce of a trade... nice condition... just have to figure out what to do with it.

Nice story too BTW... those were the days...

FWIW

Chuck

Last night I was sitting on my front porch having a cocktail and smoking a cigar and I got to thinking about stuff that was long forgotten. I grew up in a small rural town in MA in the 50ís and early 60ís. Recreation consisted largely of hunting and fishing. We lived outside of town and we did not play much sports. A fellow was mostly judged on his ability to hunt and fish or maybe handle dogs. I loved guns. I read everything I could lay my hands on about them. I had a .22 and some old military rifles. I would shoot as much as I could afford and take apart and put together the old military rifles.

Once when I was in the 7th. Grade another kid had an old rifle that he wanted to sell me. It was a Swiss Vetterli, a .41 rimfire with a tubular magazine. After school I went over to his house and bought it for $5. I earned the $5 from selling eggs that came from the chickens that had been my payment for shoveling out old man Hutchinsonís driveways and walkways for an entire winter (a prodigious task). After I cut my deal I shouldered my prize and began the 5 mile walk home. I walked right through the center of town with that rifle over my shoulder. As I passed the junior high school that I attended I noticed Mr. Bramhall, the history teacherís, car in the lot. I knew Mr. Bramhall liked to shoot and we often talked about guns so I walked into the school and found him in his classroom. He examined my treasure with some delight and we discussed itís history and design. Then I was off towards home. About a mile from my house some guy pulled up and offered me a ride. He asked if I had been hunting and I told him about my new rifle. He dropped me at our drive.

Another time in the 8th. Grade we had to do a public speaking thing in English class. We had to get up in front of the class and talk about something that we did, like a hobby. Also we could use props to demonstrate. At the time I had an old French single shot bolt action rifle in 8mm Lebel that was stamped 1866. I was stripping and refinishing the stock and making some minor repairs. I disassembled it, wrapped it in a sheet tied with string and brought it in as part of my presentation. In front of the class I opened up the bundle and assembled the rifle, explaining how it functioned and what I was doing to it. I got an A for my presentation. Of course I wish I still had that rifle and I wish that I had not desecrated it so. Oh well.

In todayís world it is hard to believe that the above ever happened. Everything has changed since then and not much for the better. I had completely forgotten about both of those incidents and I am not sure why they surfaced. However, remembering them has triggered a whole flood of memories from a bygone time. Today, even in the most rural areas I doubt one could bring a gun into a school. At the time guns were a natural part of life. Folks were comfortable with them. A kid carrying a gun was likely a good kid going squirrel hunting and not a hoodlum or gang banger. Interesting!

KriegHund
October 24, 2005, 05:46 PM
Gods, if i could bring my Mini-14 to school and field strip it for an A on a presentation, i would be a happy, happy man...Heck, ide take a D just to show everyone that a gun is an inanamite object...

Larry Ashcraft
October 24, 2005, 06:11 PM
My old high school still has the JROTC rifle team. They still use .22s and the range is beneath the football stadium. There is also still a Colorado State Rifle Championship, just like any other sport.

I guess Colorado is behind the times...

Turkey Creek
October 24, 2005, 06:32 PM
Great Stories!- There are some that are still trying to perpetuate at least some of the traditions- Went to the range early Saturday just to mess around with a trapdoor carbine and my Brown Bess- Just wanted to be out on a gorgeous October day and fool around- I forgot that deer season is just around the corner, not a hunter myself, and at first was a bit disappointed when the hunters started to show up to sight in, filling up much of the range- But then a father with two boys probaly ages 10 and 8 or so came in followed soon by a grandfather with two girls about 13 and 9- I had one group on one side and the other on the opposite side- The kids seemed excited and both father and grandfather had done their homework with these youngsters as all of them were very well behaved and it was obvious that they had been schooled in firearms safety- I heard the magic words once from the father of the two boys when he admonished one of them to "don't put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot"- I ended up just sitting back and watching the kids have fun and chatting with the father and grandfather- Perhaps all is not lost, but it will never be the same as it was for us as I too had my youth in the golden years-

KriegHund
October 24, 2005, 07:34 PM
My old high school still has the JROTC rifle team. They still use .22s and the range is beneath the football stadium. There is also still a Colorado State Rifle Championship, just like any other sport.

I guess Colorado is behind the times...

I looked up JROTC programs in colorado. I think there were 2 high schools that came up...Pomona wasnt one of them :(

Appears there are more. Pueblo, and Rio salado, and colorado springs are what comes from a google search.

sm
October 24, 2005, 11:32 PM
I can relate to the memories and activities mentioned above.

Wood-Working class is where you fixed gun stocks. Metal-Working class is where you fixed sights and lapped scope rings. Oh...and you welded a piece for a target thrower.

I got this idea

Folks today have no idea what a clay target thrower is. Just take one to school and tell 'em is a Moon Pie Tosser. Oh yes, the pies will fly just fine.
Just put some Molon Labe stickers on the cellophane wrappers as you toss the moon pies to students and whomever.

Then let folks figure out what the sticker means.

Always wanted to "crash" a outdoor Anti-Gun meeting this way...have these Pies appear from nowhere....

Always did like raising a bit of hell...:evil:

1911 guy
October 25, 2005, 01:18 AM
I'm relatively young, but can easily remember walking through "downtown" Cortland, Oh. with a single shot 20ga to and from hunting squirrels. Nobody called the cops, nobody got their shorts in a bunch. If I tried it today, I'd likely be drawn and quartered.

psyopspec
October 25, 2005, 01:48 AM
Everyone who's got a story like those above, don't be afraid to share it.

This is a bit of American History you're telling that is not and will not be put down in textbooks. I'm happy to soak in the anecdotal lessons I missed in middle and high school. Thanks guys!

Missashot
October 25, 2005, 11:15 AM
Such great stories. Having grown up in the mountains of western NC, there were always guns around. Mostly shotguns or hunting rifles. I have never enjoyed hunting,however I would shoot targets in the field behind my house all day long. I can remember the all the guys being absent from school on the first week of deer season. I can remember when it was no big deal to have pocket knives at school, or to have guns hanging in the back window of the pick-up trucks. And I also know that there were never any shootings at school. :scrutiny: I can honestly say that while I do love my country, I hate the direction that it has taken on a lot of issues. Dang it, I miss those days! :(

TrafficMan
October 25, 2005, 12:18 PM
i grew up in the midwest, now living in Los Angeles.

I use to carry a BB gun through the neighborhood on a daily basis and never got any static. In junior high school i brought a knife to school and the teacher didn't confiscate it, he just told me to put it away.

I remember as a kid going hunting with my dad and walking into the grocery store with him and his friend....they both had holstered sidearms.

my sisters friend in high school joined the military and on the last day of school, he "raided" the school in full army garb with one of those automatic battery operated water guns (that looked real), shooting all the and administration.


different times i guess. unfortunately.

Lupinus
October 25, 2005, 12:26 PM
Im not old enough for a back in the day story lol

But even so I have been able to notice a difference. As a young kid I lived in NJ and made many a trip to PA. While there I'd shoot my shotgun on the property not to far from the house. Didn't so much hit me then but looking back I can understand the differences. Given the same exact landscape as I was in there in PA if I swapped it to a property in NJ....there would have been god knows how many police cars and 911 calls as a result of my shooting. Even though Im not that old looking back, I can see the differences esspcialy between rural PA that I had visited and NJ where I lived.

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