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GUNS Magazine March 2013 Digital Edition - Page 106
utoPia denied Part i M y latest edition of the Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines Utopia as an imaginary place, society, or situation where everything is perfect. Notice the imaginary part that seems to signify there is no such place, society, or situation. However, it seems half the population is searching for such while the other half stands ready to destroy it should we actually find it. As I look back, my first Utopian experience was growing up in the 1950s. This Utopian era was nestled in between World War II and the soon to arrive Vietnam/Drug Culture of the 1960s. It was a wonderful oasis that we would’ve enjoyed even more had we known how unique it was. I entered the sixth grade in 1949. We were poor but not disadvantaged. No one ever told us how poor we were so we got along just fine. My WWII vet and former POW stepdad rode the bus to work, walked when they were on strike, we went to the grocery store pulling a wagon, and managed to get along just fine without food stamps or welfare neither one of which my parents would ever have accepted. We always had a clean dry house, plenty to eat, and popcorn popped over the stove along with a glass of Kool-Aid on Saturday night. How much more Heavenly could life be? My high school days were exceptionally pleasant, I don’t recall any kid ever getting in trouble in class, and the only thing the assistant principal had to worry about were those who “peeled” out of the parking lot after school. In my senior year we even won the city championship in football. I just turned 17 about 2 weeks before graduation so I was not emotionally ready for college and the finances were not there anyhow. So I went to work and in doing so found another Utopia. I went to work as an order boy for a large hardware and supply company catering to the building and construction trade. The 3-story building plus basement, the truck docks out front, and the railroad spur in the back stand there with a clipboard and check sheet and make sure we get everything on the manifest.” So I was to stand there while these fellows unloaded truck trailers, boxcars, and flat cars of everything and anything needed in the construction business? Now being so young I was not exactly the smartest guy around but even at my young age I thought to myself these guys are not going to work for me especially if I don’t expend any energy myself. So I made the decision to not only check everything in but also to work right alongside them. It turned out to be the smart thing to do for several reasons. First, I gained their respect and they worked for me as they had never worked for anyone before. Also, by handling 100-pound bars of pig lead, 200-pound kegs of nails, and wrestling with 500-pound drums of roof coating Major ingredients for a Utopian Situation: a great hunt with great friends. covered more than a city block. It was there that I met another kid also named John who introduced me to gun shows and all the gun stores in the area. We worked 5-1/2 days per week and then Saturday afternoon was reserved for shooting. How much better could it be? I had been there only a short while when the headman asked me to be foreman of the unloading crew. Now remember I’m barely 17 and I’m to be in charge of a crew of black fellows the youngest of which was 32. “You don’t have to do any of the work. Simply I bulked up pretty quickly and became as strong as the proverbial ox. Utopia was mine. I truly loved my job working 10 hours a day, plus 6 hours on Saturday, and still shooting on Saturday afternoon, casting bullets, reloading, and spending time at gun stores and gun shows, however there was one thing missing. I did not date during high school and only a couple of times over the next few years. Then in late 1958, continued on page 105 106 W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • M A R C H 2 0 1 3