Does not color within the lines

The last few weeks have been spent screening in my front porch here at the stately manor “Rabbit Run”. As I caulked the gaps in wood that hadn’t been cut straight, an old post came to mind that covered the situation perfectly

Does not color within the lines

When I was seven and serving the first year (I’ll explain being seven years old and in the first grade later) of a six-year sentence at Summerville Elementary, a note was sent home to my mother.

“Does not color within the lines. Very messy”.

No truer words were ever written about me. Those eight simple words portended great feats to come.

Before concluding my studies at Summerville Elementary, I became a legend for an episode involving oil-based paint, a floor fan running at high speed and a room full of parents and teachers attending a clean-up day.

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Loading Your Own

Loading Your Own

JD and my second attempt at producing a hand crafted firearm was much more ambitious than our first and came about two years after the time we blew a hole through the side of his dad’s garage. Our hearing had mostly returned to normal by then, although the tan on our backsides seemed to be rather permanent. We were inspired to make a new attempt by Mikie’s dad’s brand new hobby of reloading his own shells.

This new “black powder” gun utilized manufactured gun powder thoughtfully supplied by Mikie’s dad. Or to put it another way, we borrowed a few of the several boxes of 12ga. shotgun shells he had reloaded for an upcoming dove shoot. We were under strict orders not to touch the many guns around our houses without an adult’s permission, but nothing was said about the ammunition. He was, at least, smart enough to keep the loose powder secured. The powder the #9 shot supplied was much better than the rather crude though effective type that we had made using sulfur, charcoal and nitrate for our first black powder gun.

To avoid detection, we decided to use only part of the powder in each shell so that the number of boxes remained the same. JD uncrimped the ends and dumped contents of each one till he had emptied them all. Mikie and I, meanwhile, separated the gun powder and shot into two piles, and then separated out the powder that we needed for our project. The shot and remaining powder was divided up into equal piles and we carefully started replacing them into each empty shell.

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Black Powder

I had been visiting my cousin, JD, when he developed a sudden interest in chemistry after our firecracker supply from the Fourth was exhausted . I think this was the same year that we bought the hydrochloric acid for our experiments in generating hydrogen for “lighter than air” craft. Most of these “experiments” were trial balloons, so to speak, for other experiments preformed as young adults and generally yielded the same results — blowing up in our faces. Children back then were praised for having an inquisitive mind and most everything that we did as children in the late 50’s, early 60’s was regarded as a learning experience, although we kids regarded it as merely surviving another day. And a lot of my learning experiences did involve trips to the emergency room..They were builders of character or at least a tough hide… if you survived. Now these same “experiments” would get me incarcerated.

Our experiments in basic chemistry consisted of mainly trial and error–mainly error, but we were soon happily laying blackpowder trails across any fire ant hill that hadn’t already been vacated due to our continuous harassment with a variety of household weapons of mass destruction. It didn’t take long before boredom and “what if’s” turned our interest from homemade fireworks to projectile geometry.

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Catapults; Weapons of mass distraction

I came across this post in a old hard drive

Catapults; Weapons of mass distraction

Summerville Elementary, with its vaguely green faux stucco cement exterior and pea graveled asphalt playground/ball field, would have been considered quite inadequate, if not downright dangerous even by Phenix City’s standards of the day. If we had had any standards to apply.

Six classrooms, six grades, with the Principal doubling as the sixth grade teacher.
Worn wooden board floors were gray from years of industrial cleaners and buffed to a dull sheen by countless pairs of Ked’s forming lines down the three sided hallways leading to the assembly/rainy day gym/ lunchroom. The smell of soured milk, rutabagas and greens emanating from within competed with chalk, crayons and the sweaty little bodies lined up outside for preeminence in the heavy southern air .

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