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GUNS Magazine April 2010 - Page 82
a HalF centurY WItH: Leverguns une 1956. Workers riot in Budapest, Hungary, Nasser is elected J president of Egypt, and Mickey Mantle is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Elvis gets a parking ticket while getting a haircut in Memphis, the new Steve Allen Show challenges Ed Sullivan for primetime ratings on Sunday evening, D-Day, The Sixth of June is released to the movie theaters, and I get some bad news. I had just graduated from high school in May and was taking a battery of tests to get a job in one of the manufacturing plants. They said I passed with flying colors, but I was too young to hire having just turned 17 in May. That turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. Instead of a good paying job I went to work for minimum wage for the Hardware & Supply Company. This 4-story building occupied a city block which provided virtually everything for contractors. I started out as an order boy like the rest of the young kids, however the headman must’ve recognized some leadership qualities in me and within three months I was in charge of unloading all freight off trucks and railroad cars with 12 men working under me, the youngest being 34. Being just a kid I had to prove myself to those men so I worked right alongside of them instead of standing there with a clipboard and that hard work really built me up. I could put a 200-pound keg of nails on my shoulder, walk up three flights of stairs, and back down again; I could also pick up 500 pounds. (Boy that was a long time ago!) Yes, I was now a man, but I was still a dumb teenager. Even better than all of this was the fact I got in with a couple of other order boys who were real shooters and knew where Marlin’s early advertising of the .357 Magnum caught Taffin’s attention all the gun shops immediately and John considers the Marlin Model 1894C .357 Magnum to were and when the be the handiest centerfire rifle available. It pairs up nicely with a longgun shows were barreled S&W. (The cartridge butt cuff is by The Leather Arsenal (208) held. Before June 585-6212, www.leatherarsenal.com) ended I had purchased my very own first firearm. The gun I picked is still one of the best first choices for anyone—a .22, a Marlin Model 39 levergun which in those days was the Mountie version. Boy was I proud of that rifle; my parents weren’t! My stepdad had gone through some terrible fighting in Europe during WWII and did not want any guns around; they both hit the roof. By the second gun, my .22 Ruger SingleSix, they didn’t fuss quite so much; and with the third gun, a 4-3/4" Colt SAA .38-40 it was “Hey Johnny show Uncle Chuck your new gun.” I call that quite a turnaround. Twenty years later Diamond Dot and I had three teenagers and when my parents went camping with us my mom wanted to make sure I had a gun with me just in case. Even anti-gunners can be won over; well, at least some of them. Little did I know of all that would occur over the next 10 years. I added other Marlins, a .25-20, a .32-20, and a .38-40 as well as bolt actions, a Springfield ’03A3 and two custom rifles: a .222 Remington and an 8mm Mauser with a full Mannlicher stock. When I got married I knew I needed a better paying job and although it paid three times as much, the tire factory was nowhere near the fun I had unloading freight; but there was a reason for going there which I found the following year. I felt called to be a teacher which meant going to college. The only way I could do that was also work to support my family. The tire factory turned out to be a Godsend as I could work the night shift and go to school full time during the day. The university was 30 miles away and there were mornings I was so tired I do not remember driving to school and many a night I went to work so exhausted tears were running down my cheeks. My wife was a tremendous support and we made it together. There’s a reason we do all these things when we’re young! continued on page 81 82 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • APRIL 2010