16 February 2011

Waging War as a Kid

my attempt at living out a childhood fantasy as Steven Hamlin with my brother Cal

War books
Whether it was my passion for history, or my sincere interest in the Civil War due to being influenced by the Dukes of Hazard, I began to devour books on early American wars in my last few years in elementary school. I remember reading every book I could get my hands on about the Civil War and battles fought during the war. Then I began reading all of the books on the American Revolution and the War of 1812, then the French and Indian War. I even went so far as to draw various flags of competing sides, had a list of battles and dates from the wars with the victors, and then would place the victor’s flag in my window on the day of the battle. I’m quite certain my parents thought I had gone crazy…..because there was a different flag in the window about every day.

Fort building
Nature was my laboratory, for certain, but it was also my kingdom. And in order to protect the kingdom, one would need forts built at various locations; this may have been influenced by the genre of reading material I preferenced. Not being satisfied with the elevated fort complete with ramparts my dad built in our backyard, I constructed my first fort when I was about 10 years old in my grandpa’s woods right behind our house. There were three oak trees that grew closely together and formed a triangle so I created a lean-to with sticks like I had seen in my Indiana history books. Then came the second fort, then steps nailed to trees throughout my grandpas 80+ acres for “lookouts”.


Then came the fort-a-la-resistance, the crowning achievement of my fort building career that I created in 6th grade. With scrap wood left over from remodeling the truck stop, I found four oak trees growing in a square in a small woods on my grandpa’s property, and built a raised platform (because it also flooded), four walls, a back “deck”, steps to the roof and a handrail around the top of the roof. With the monstrosity being visible from the highway, my dad handed me a gallon of brown paint when the building was completed. Funny how dad’s reason for camouflage was a little different from mine. The fort lasted for a few years before a windstorm blew off the roof and a few boards off the sides. At that time I took it all down except the back “deck” which became a great place to camp with my buddies in Junior High. The wood steps are still there on the one tree, leading to where the rooftop lookout was once located. I don’t think I’d try to climb them today. Those forts and "lookouts" provided great places to wage fireworks wars in high school.

2 comments:

PNW Hoosier said...

Ah, those fireworks wars.....what were we thinking? I still marvel at the fact that none of us were ever hurt.....well, not seriously anyway.

hoosier reborn said...

what? I still have ringing in my ears!