May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.Trenton Lee Stewart
My fondest and most cherished memories are firmly planted in early childhood during the late 1960’s. Our neighborhood was filled with kids that were around the same age, attended the same elementary school, and walked both ways to school through rain, wind, sleet, and snow. There were no one parent families that I knew of, nor were there families that were just passing through on their way up the corporate ladder. Dad’s worked, moms stayed home, and the kids all ran around like free range chickens with little or no oversight. We all knew each other very well and (mostly) got along swimmingly.
My family lived on a dead end street surrounded by the remnants of the leather glove industry in Johnstown New York. That glove making capital of the world was later to decline even further into poverty and desolation as the glove industry rambled down the path of outsourcing to foreign countries, where the laws surrounding environmental sanctity were loose and fancy free.
Leather processing is a nasty business. The Cayudutta Creek, one of the streams that ran through our town, ran a different color each day as the various leather mills dumped sewage into the creek. We mostly abstained from touching the waters of the Cayadutta for fear of some awful disease, being bitten by a rat, or being sucked down into the mire and muck that coated the bottom. One of our dogs, Scamp, fell into the creek and came down with some horrible skin condition that ultimately led to his death. I sure loved that wascally dog. It seems that the only living creatures that can survive swimming in the Cayadutta are rats. Says something about who will be around when the world ends … rats and cockroaches.
Today the leather industry is pretty much gone from my hometown. Most have moved to third world countries where they apparently love the smell of rats in the morning. That or the blatant disregard for all that is humane has been eclipsed by the willingness to destroy all that is good in nature for a few pesos. The gloves look nice though.
Of course this all sounds quite depressing, but the childhood that we created surrounded ourselves with was magical. Somehow, we were all able to ignore that Mordoresque landscape and instead, fashion it into a wondrous world full of adventures and playtime. One particular adventure involving my brother, a neighborhood friend and myself, I shall now unfold before your eyes.
STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT! Personally I can’t wait to see what happens.