I remember when I was a youth, just getting out from a Boy Scout meeting - they were not pleased with me. I was running across the gym floor and one of the kids caught up with me so I grabbed his elbows really tight, digging my thumbs into the inside of the joint. I squeezed and he dropped to his knees screaming in pain. I let him go and backed off when the rest arrived. I got the crap beat out of me but I took 2 more down. I never really understood what set them off but i never got past tenderfoot in the boy scouts.
I did not like to fight, on the other hand, my brother took up boxing at the gym. His trainer was an ex-boxer who was strict - no fighting on the streets unless they started it. So my brother would stand on the corner with a pink ribbon in his hair. I must have been around 8-10 yo so he was about 10-12; we grew up in Montana so you can imagine how other boys his age responded to the pink ribbon in his hair. He got a lot of practice street fighting w/o violating the gym 'code of conduct'. Sometimes, the kids would gang up on him and beat the crap out of him but that stopped after he hunted them down one by one. When things started to get out of hand, a kid named Gail Maroney (sp?) showed up - Gail was huge, at age 11 was already a strong horseman used to working fenceline in mid-winters. The 2 were made for each other - Gerry had speed, strength and skill while Gail had size, strength and a 'berzerker' mentality.
We lived in Livingston MT and use to walk all over the mountains in the area. The county (Park County) had a pretty famous fishing contest; the prize for the largest trout was $1,000 - this was in the 1950s so that was about $17-20,000 today. Up on the hill was a fish (for the contest) and a P (for the county). We grew up pretty wild as our house was the second from the edge of the development. The fish and P was just up the hill from us; we (Gerry, my brother), Gail (see first blog) and I dug a fort in the eye of the fish. We fought mock combat using a grass we called spearweed that grew on the hillside - the stuff would not travel far when thrown but if you were close enough, you could throw a handful and have most of them stick. We were far enough north that we would have long periods of twilight - if we had to be home by dark, we could push that to almost 10:30.
There were a lot of gulleys in the area; one was about 1/2 a mile from home and pretty deep. I was about 8 or 9, Gerry about 10 or 11 and Gail was born between us and I am 63 now so I don't know how deep it was but I remember that we had to scrabble up a fairly steep slope to where the cliff started and the cliff had to at least twice my height. Where the slope met the cliff face we built another fort; the entrance was large enough that we could crawl in on our hands and feet. About 3 or 4 feet in we hollowed out the fort until it was large enough for the 3 of us to sit and talk. Once we finished this part we then started digging up so that had another entrance/exit. I remember being out there late one night standing up on top of the cliff while Gerry and Gail were digging second entrance, the night was moonless and I could see the huge sky full of stars and I heard a nighthawk cry - the cry is really spooky, very piercing. I have driven past/through town on the freeway and it looks like the housing development has expanded up over the hill so the fish and p is gone - or at least moved.
One year we bought a bunch of fireworks including roman candles and played war. You haven't played war until you have fired roman candles like a rifle, shot bottle rockets and thrown firecrackers. My parents didn't like Gail much; dad was a banker and I think they thought the Maroneys were not status enough but also he was a big, hulking kid who was awkward and broke things without meaning to.
My memories are racing each other for outlet and I don't know if I should start another post or what.
Gerry, my big brother - he was a boxer so he would chew 5 to 10 sticks of gum at a time (so did I because he did) to strengthen his jaw. I don't know if it worked but I do know that though I have not been in a lot of fights, I have been hit in the face some and it only pissed me off; never knocked me down. We were close while we lived in Livingston but after we moved to Plentywood MT he got a girlfriend and I seldom saw him. It is true that we moved after I got out of 6th grade (go St. Mary’s Braves - well, I remember it was Indian related so it may have been changed) so I was 13 and Gerry was 15 so we were probably doomed to split up 'cuz those 2 years are real important. Gerry married his sweetheart while he was a jr. - his daughter was born shortly after that.