Wednesday, January 05, 2005

And now, a flashback into the earlier life of Hamlette:

My younger brother and I have loved Combat! since 1994, as I previously mentioned (I think). Being us, we just had to play Combat! ourselves...so we both bought these blue plastic M-1s (Sgt. Saunders, our hero, carries a Thompson M1), and we found army-green belt canteens (that never stayed fastened, for some reason). We got fake dog tags at the Smithsonian, and we wore white 'wife-beater' t-shirts under green button-down shirts, with khaki or green pants...we were really into it. We'd sit under our picnic table pretending it was a pillbox (if you crawl under there now, you can still see where I carved the "Kilroy" character with my pocket knife). We made fake 'handy-talkies' from Velveeta cheese boxes that we painted black. We took small cardboard boxes and would stick cheese and spam in them to use as our rations. It was loads of fun!

The best was this one Sunday afternoon when the folks were gone, and we decided to play Combat!. So we're both in full regalia, our faces blacked up with charcoal from Dad's grill. I'm hiding under this big bushy pine tree in our front yard, and my brother is over in the carport crouched behind a car. We're waiting to ambush some enemy soldiers. I'm like sixteen at the time, okay? And he's 12. This car pulls into our driveway, and out step this middle-aged couple, her wearing a skirt and him in a suit-coat. They've got pamphlets and books in their hands--obviously Jehovah's Witnesses or something similar, I realize. They go ring the front doorbell, and nobody answers, of course, cuz our parents are gone and we're outside. My brother peeks his head out from around the car and I give him the ok sign, so he comes out of hiding and starts around the corner of the house toward the front door. I crawl out from under my tree, bits of grass and twigs all over me, and we converge on the couple. I smile, and ask "Can I help you?" And these people just have no idea how to react. It rocked! They're like, "Uh, well, we're here to talk to you about blah blah blah." And I just grin, and say, "Well, my dad's busy right now, but he's a Lutheran pastor, and I'm sure he'd be happy to discuss theology with you, if you could come back at a more convenient time." I've got my blue plastic M1 tucked under my arm, I'm slouching, all Sgt. Saundersified. I'm trying soooo hard not to laugh! And the couple is like, "Oh, I see, yes, we'll just come back later then." They scurry back to their car and zip outta our driveway. We about died laughing! Ruined our ambush though.

3 comments:

  1. This is what's so great about your journal. The details you give can really help someone to know about you. I can see you didn't just sit around like a little girl watching Care Bears on TV. I can tell the home schooling kept you and your brother together longer if you were still playing when you were 16. I can see a sort of crafty detail orientation in the dog tags and the ration kits.

    I wonder why me and Orance never played a game like that. We both read all the World War II books we could get our hands on.

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  2. This detailed account of you and John playing Combat is sooo typical of your playing together. Your attention to detail was always so perfect, no matter what you were playing - Combat, Cowboys, Legos, Western Town, and the myriad other things you guys did together. You never had much money to spend on the real things, so you made it out of cheese boxes or blocks of wood that you had painted, or whatever was at hand. Your imaginations sometimes ran wild, and your creativity was always rampant. The two of you learned a lot about cooperation and social interaction that most public school kids never quite master - as I can vouch for, being a public school teacher myself. I am so proud of my two great kids who played and learned together every day of their young lives. MOM

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  3. First, to the Housekarl:
    I've never been a girly girl, you're very right. I never sat around playing Care Bears (I got one for some birthday, and it's still like new) or Rainbow Brite. When I was really little, my fave toys were these oooold plastic cowboys and horses I got at some rummage sale. I can still remember their peculiar smell, old rubbery plastic like a really old eraser, kind of (of course, I still have them!). Anyway, yes, my brother and I are supremely close despite our 5-year age difference, because of homeschooling, and also because we moved from MI to NC when I was 12 and he was 7 and it took us a while to make new friends, so we got very very close then. And we've stayed that way ever since. Also, I vowed never ever ever to grow up, which led to me playing stuff like "Combat!" and "Star Trek" and buying action figures looong after all my friends were doing their nails and reading "Seventeen" and slobbering over Brad Pitt (not that I don't appreciate Brad-baby now). And if you'll notice, I still haven't grown up, not really. I may have to blog more about this.

    And now to Mom:
    I don't know how you did it, but you produced two highly creative, imaginative, let's-make-stuff-with-our-hands people. You and Daddy obviously did lots of stuff right when raising us, like limiting our tv viewing and reading out loud to us. Playing WITH us, which so many people don't understand the importance of. Providing us with a never-ending stash cardboard boxes and rolls of duct tape. All I gotta say is: YOU ROCK!

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