Friday, April 7, 2017

In the 1950s and 1960s we were trained to be soldiers from birth

If you were a boy growing up anytime between 1940 to 1973 you were raised to fight and to die in a war. Because if you weren't everyone knew you would be one of the first to die when you were drafted into the army sometime between 18 and 26 years of age.

So, we experienced what now would be considered very cruel things from birth on. However, this has changed a lot since 1973 when the draft ended. You still have to register for the draft if you are a male at age 18 by law here in the U.S., however.

Some of the ways we were taught to be tough.

My father had all my front teeth pulled out by a dentist with no novacaine because that wasn't thought necessary then. My grandmothers had given me too much candy so my front teeth had gotten rotten and had to be pulled so they didn't rot the permanent teeth underneath. I was 4 at the time. So, I learned to be very stoic indeed whenever I was at the dentist because of this. In my 20s I remembered my father talking about dental care without pain relief from novacaine. So, I did this in Tijuana, Mexico where people did this regularly at the time during my 1st root canal at age 25 on an eye tooth. However, the pain was so great that I realized it was much more likely I was going to pass out from the pain and have a drill go through the side of my mouth. So, I asked for novacaine so I wouldn't have my mouth and appearance damaged when I passed out.

My best friend at age 6 shot me with his BB gun in my leg in my thigh. Luckily, I had jeans on so it didn't pierce the skin like it does on birds. I looked later at it and it was a 2 inch across black and blue mark.

In Mt. Shasta at our church's retreat at Shasta Springs between Dunsmuir and the little city of Mt. Shasta there was a trail used by President Theodore Roosevelt when Shasta Springs was a tourist destination by train at the turn of the century and there was a tram up to the resort area from the Train and the Sacramento River. We used to walk down the railroad tracks and sometimes jump on board freight trains to ride a few blocks one way or the other. I had a friend who rode from Shasta Springs up as far as the city of Mt. Shasta before he jumped off.

We also stood on top of the bridge while trains went underneath. I suppose if we had fallen off we would have gone into the river 100 feet or more below. We climbed up the bolts of the bridge to get to about 30 feet above the tracks so we could stand up when the train went underneath. We would scream and holler a lot as it went underneath like boys often did then out in the country away from any adults at all. I was between 8 years old and 12 when we did things like this.

My father started having me drive a car by sitting in his lap when I was 3 or 4. He was training me to understand how to get ready to drive a car by myself. So, by age 6 he had me get into the drivers seat on an abandoned road so I could drive a car by myself. I had to stand up and using the brake was hard to stop. By age 8 my grandmother gave me a rifle, a .22 Remington pump rifle that my father had used in the 1920s which I kept until I gave it to my father on his ranch for shooting varmints and he I think eventually gave it to one of my cousins. So, it is still likely in use somewhere. It could hold at maximum 17 shots I think if I remember correctly. It was sited quite well and so It shot accurately as long as you were using .22 long rifle cartridges which have an effective range of 1 mile. You likely could fit it with a scope but I never got that exotic with it. Besides sighting in a scope is a lot of work (installing it so it is accurate to a mile away.)

I can remember shooting jackrabbits with my cousins near Lancaster around 1956 out in the country there then and i was shooting and my two older cousins stopped shooting at the running jackrabbit and ran to get a closer shot. My father lifted my barrel as I hadn't stopped shooting yet so I didn't accidentally shoot my cousins.

Later that day my cousins and I got separated while hunting jackrabbits and so they were 1 mile away coming towards me but then they started shooting towards me. I heard the bullets buzzing by me like bees  because they couldn't see me yet because they were too far away. So, I laid down on the ground until they got close enough to see where I was as they chased jackrabbits down a dirt road towards me. Once they saw where I was in their line of fire they stopped shooting in my direction.

In Idaho where my grandfather had a gold mining claim near Elk City, he would spend spring and summer there and then winter with my grandmother in Seattle where he also owned 2 1/2 acres in Lake Forest park after he retired from being an electrical Contractor sometime during World War II.
He might have retired around 1942 but then again I wasn't born until 1948.

As you can see life was pretty different than most people's lives today in the U.S.

So, even though I was raised from age 8 to 21 in Glendale in a suburb of Los Angeles, I mostly came from people who were very country and more oriented towards nature and the wildness of wilderness always at heart. So, my love of nature and wildness and of wilderness areas is where I feel the most at home as a person always and not regarding city life which always seemed sort of self destructive at best.

So, at every point we were trained to use guns and to confront people when necessary and to be ready to die by 18 to 26 in wars somewhere on earth or to die in a nuke here in the U.S. from the 1960s until the draft ended in 1973.

This was just life as it was then. But if you were black or gay you might more easily die or be killed then too. So, unless you were white it wasn't usually a good time to be alive.

So, things are now much better for blacks, Gays and for women than then. However, I don't really think they are better for White men.

So, I can understand why some white men are upset about all this.

But if you actually believe in human equality as a basis for life on earth that wasn't what was happening in the 1950s then and that is also not what's happening in places like Russia now which reminds me a lot of how things were in the 1950s here in many many ways.

Though we have more equality between races and sexes now here in the U.S. economic equality has been lost in the process I'm afraid.

Because now you are 7 times more likely in Canada to get rich if you start out poor than you are in the U.S.

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