Sunday, December 16, 2012

Memories of a childhood lost

Duck and Cover of My Youth

I am the generation of the atomic bomb so when people talk of the innocence of children and the efforts to keep them safe I really cannot relate. I was in the first grade when Dad, his crew and his bomber were reported missing in action over Korea. Mother cried herself to sleep every night and I had to be brave for her and my little brother. At recess I would go out behind the school and do my crying there. I thought my teacher looked like the Wicked Witch of the West (the Wizard of Oz I saw as a horror film), and I feared being locked in the supply closet (early onset claustrophobia).

So Duck and Cover was merely another torture especially since my father, who dropped bombs for a living, told me to add "Kiss your ass goodbye" to the drill. After Dad was returned to the living (just mostly a military administrative paperwork issue) we moved to Roswell, NM land of aliens and SAC. Dad was constantly being called out in the middle of the night to fly out and protect us from attack. I was not that sure if it was from aliens or the Russians. I liked Roswell because I had a lot of kids to play with who did not know I used to cry every recess and I knew which hanger the alien space craft was stored in.

But we moved back to Kansas City just in time for Crazy Judy's father to get drunk and kill the entire family and himself. Crazy Judy had lived across the street in the roofed over basement that was the base for the house her father never got finished. I would stand on the hill from which our side of the street had always waged war against Judy's side and just stare at the abandoned non-house. Everyone thought I was stranger than I had been when I left. I was thrilled to leave even if it was only to El Paso where the jet fighters flew no higher than 5 feet over the roof of our house and I found a true value to Duck and Cover by covering my ears and screaming to drown out the jet noise. Lots of them crashed it seemed so I always repeated and kiss your ass goodbye to myself.

To make a long story short - we moved a lot. And I learned to remake myself with every move. And I learned that I was the only person I could count on. Fathers could go missing in action or turn on you and kill everyone, and mothers could retire to their bedrooms and just cry. More experiences I survived reinforced that. And my father, who had survived his childhood, loved survival training as a pilot. Every chance we got we escaped to the forests and camped. And Dad taught us survival craft. I aced those badges in the Girl Scouts. Guns were always around because Dad was a hunter. We learned how to use them correctly. And when I was old enough and there was a series of robberies in the neighborhood he showed me where the bullets were kept if someone tried to break in when he was gone. Duck and Cover was replaced by evacuating the school because of a bomb threat. It wasn't guns in my youth before any gun control - it was bombs the angry and frustrated wanted to use to take control. And Rumbles of the gangs with their switch blades and bike chains. I can date my youth by the weapons of choice.

I now live in an area as close to those wilderness camping trips as I could get. I feel so much safer here than I ever did in a city. Bad things happen in cities. And I am armed, because I can only count on me ultimately. The Sheriff's department has a two hour response time. I have been armed and dangerous since the second grade when Dad taught me effective stick fighting to protect myself and my brother from some bullies on the base. There is a sense of empowerment in knowing you can survive.

3 comments:

  1. GREAT post. I can see your point re a personal gun. My neighbor is a hunter, and I rather like the idea of having him next door in case of ornery grizzlies. I am not kidding. That said, should people really be able to access the kind of weapon that can kill so many, so fast, as easily as they do?

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    1. Actually, Ien, no assault weapons were used in this last shooting or in Aurora really. There was one in the car in both situations but they were not used. But the anti-gun people realize all they have to say is assault weapon and everyone goes ballistic. And a semi-automatic pistol is not an assault weapon. I own one myself. With practice and preloaded clips and more than one gun it is possible. In fact most assault weapons are hard to control and less accurate.

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  2. I like the way you write Jacqui. I also like that you can and are ALLOWED to own guns so you can look after yourself.
    I dream of owning my own home and living as close to forest/bush as possible. As for owning a gun, it would have to be an illegal one.
    People are getting so downright mean and viscious now no one is safe even locked in their own homes.

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