It amazes me sometimes to think about the things we take for granted in today’s world. We talk, text or email people around the world from a little device we carry in our pockets. We scroll through hundreds of channels looking for a show to watch on television. Or to DVR so we can watch it later.
But it wasn’t always so. . . .
Kids nowadays have light wands and laser guns and all sorts of Star Wars-related paraphernalia to play with. They can be Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader or some other character from the stratosphere.
Back in the 1950s—and for decades before that—we were cowboys. Cowboys and Indians, cowboys and outlaws. Whatever.
You never wanted to be the outlaw or the Indian, because everybody loved the cowboys. You wanted to be John Wayne or Hoot Gibson or Roy Rogers. The good guys always won.
Of course, cowboys always had guns. You could just extend your index finger and let that be your gun, or you could get a stick or any old piece of wood that even approximated the size and shape of a gun. Whatever happened to be at hand.
Now and then you’d get lucky, though. Someone would give you a cap gun for your birthday.
What’s a cap, you ask? You thought it was something to put on your head that made you look like a baseball player about to spit a load of tobacco juice? Nope. Wrong kind of caps.
Caps were strips of paper that had tiny bits of gunpowder or some other kind of material in them. Actually, I suppose they consisted of two strips of paper affixed together. At certain intervals there would be a little round dimple in the paper that held the explosive.
You would load a roll of this paper in your cap gun and pull it through until one of the dimples was in the right spot. Then when you pulled the trigger, the hammer would strike the little explosive dimple, and it would make a noise imitating a gunshot.
Each time you pulled the trigger, the cocking mechanism would move the paper roll to just the right spot for the hammer to “fire” the next shot. Of course, you ended up with the used portion of the paper sticking out of the top of the gun looking kinda silly, but who cared. When it got too long to suit you, you just tore it off and tossed it.
Oops. Don’t tell any of your eco-friends we actually tossed paper on the ground. I don’t want to freak them out. But we were kids, and no one thought about such things back then.
Ø Think of your early childhood—what things would blow your children’s or grandchildren’s minds compared to their lives today?
Ø How did some of these things from childhood mold your development?
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