When I was a kid, going downtown was an event.
We'd dress up, eat lunch at Ayre's tearoom or Block's or sometimes at the dimestore counter.
Murphy's used to be right on the Circle. It moved over a block to give the center of town a more dignified look lol.
Nearby on Washington Street, there was a row of dimestores.
They were places where cheap but good things could be had.
My big deal was to hit them all hunting for the lastest toy guns and soldiers especially.
Toy guns back then were very realistic. I had a Tommy gun that had a bolt and fired caps as well as a rattattat noise. It was actual size and color. I owned a pump shotgun that fired caps and ejected plastic shells. All manner of pistols modern and Western as well as Davy Crockett gear and Indian bows and arrows were all over the house. There were holsters and other gear.
It was quite a collection. I suppose the libs etal would call it an 'arsenal'.
There is a particular I want you to know.
We had quite a collection of real guns thanks to my brother.
Military and they were current for the Armed Forces at the time. Sporting/hunting weapons as well as several revolvers including a Model 29 SW 44 mag.
For things that go bump in the night, we had a Chief's Special and a 1911 45 in the desk drawer right by my bro's bed.
When he was gone, I was capable of using and defending.
These guns were all in the bedroom that we shared when I was in grade school and he in high school/college.
I grew up and slept in a room full of guns.
The core of this is simple. I knew the difference between my toys and the real thing.
We went shooting many a weekend at a gravel pit off of Keystone Ave. It's now a bunch of condos.
No one disturbed us and the cops who stopped by would shoot with us.
Imagine what most cops would do now.
Things have eroded since then to say the least.
Dime stores are gone. Those great emporiums full of American goods and dreams have given way to 'dollar shops' that feature all the foreign junk you could not want.
There are no places to shoot immediately available in Marion County except for very few private lands. You have to go outside the area and it helps to know folks with land or farms.
Toy guns are now crap if you can find them at all.
My kids grew up without them mostly and listened to my tales of the halcyon days of yore.
But my son would make guns from Duplos and other materials. He was a master of American ingenuity.
We have BB guns and found out it's a nono to fire them in the city. Oops. We always did and I taught the kids responsibility inherent so that they were safe handling them.
We did and do however have a sizeable collection and an ever growing one of real guns.
My kids know how to use them too.
We have a crumbling Republic in need of repair.
The kids have been taught what it may take to do so.
Some things never change.
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