Walking around the block the other day, I heard 3 little boys playing in a backyard. One of them shouted to his mom, I imagine, "We're playing an army game, but it's non-violent." Playing KP maybe. It made me think back to how us postwar kids in the mid-1950's always were playing army. We spent hours killing imaginary Germans and Japanese. I don't remember us being aware of the Italian involvement in the Axis, save for the little song, "Whistle while you work, Hitler is a jerk, Mussolini pulled his weenie now it doesn't work," which we loved to sing. A lot of us had genuine helmet liners to wear in our play, and lots of toy companies produced all the army necessities one could ever need. My favorite was the Mattel burpgun. I also loved my Bulldog Tank, for playing army with toy soldiers.
My thoughts on armed play in the past then jumped to playing cowboys. If we weren't playing baseball or football on Pineview Drive, we were probably playing army or cowboys and Native Americans. I then recalled my favorite cowboy gun. It was the Nichols Stallion 45. It cost five bucks, no less, and came in it own very special box. It was so heavy, it was tough for a kid to hold up. I bought mine at W.A.B. Drugs in Sea Breeze. Then I wondered if I or someone else could buy a vintage Stallion .45, now. I checked and sure enough ebay had a mint one in an equally mint box. Price--$895.95. I guess there are a lot of boomers who value their childhood and put a high price on it.
Enough reminiscing. I'll now try to get to the hazy point I am trying to make. It was logical that we played war and cowboys back then. Our fathers were WW II vets, and cowboy shows took up half the limited schedule on the 2 TV channels we had to watch. As a result there were few days when the suburban air around our houses wasn't filled with cap fire and shouts of "I got you!" and "You're dead!" For this we never got in trouble. That was an O.K. way to play. None of my friends became bad people, although, one guy, who lived close, but wasn't a playmate, became a murderer. I think it's safe to say that this wasn't brought about by playing army as a child.
What am I saying? I guess I'm saying that my childhood friends grew up to be gentle people, and yet, if kids now played the games we played then, they'd get shipped off to the Junior Shrink. We are an interesting and changing people, society, culture. . .
Perhaps, the biggest irony of our youth was that all the kids who played army to glorify WW II came of age just in time to qualify for the least glorified, most despised conflict, of all time, the War in Vietnam. We had gloried in our army games, but we didn't want to play for real.
This entry has nothing to do with gun control. If you were looking for something, sorry. This came about because of 3 little boys playing army in the backyard.
(If anyone thinks I was overcome by PC disease when I mentioned Native Americans, I wasn't. It was a joke. I have realized people sometimes don't know when I am joking.)