As a child born at the outset of WWII, my play time with neighborhood kids mirrored words we heard on the radio. We’d throw clumps of dirt at each other saying, ‘Bombs over Tokyo!’ Or, with our stick guns, we’d try to pick off a ‘Nazi’ or a ‘Jap.’ ‘I’ve run out of ammo!’ was another phrase.
A few years later, at the dawn of TV, our cowboy heroes became our models as our cap guns blasted the bad guys and Indians. One Christmas I got a cowboy hat and matching cap gun and holster. Never did get a Red Ryder Air Rifle, but my friend down the street did! We never shot our eye out, but we did break a few garage windows.
Then, I grew up and, as Puff said, Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
Some ‘little boys’ never made way for other toys. My stick gun and cap gun lie buried in some land fill in north Toledo, rotting and rusting away- along with the memories. But not-so other boys. Some were too attached to the power of it all. After all, according to our neighborhood rules, when the cap popped, you dropped. Well, not always, but you were supposed to.
Dating, college, grad school and marriage consumed my time as I moved through adolescence and early adulthood. Job, kids and fatherhood moved playing with guns way off of my list of things to do.
Manhood and fatherhood were full-time jobs.