1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


 John McCurdy  August 09

Gathering the sandwiches, (peanut butter I'm almost sure) made by my mom, rolling up the old quilt rescued from the outbuilding (a cherished heirloom today), and taking my cherished Montgomery Wards Western Field Single shot .22 cal rifle , I hugged my mom and headed down stream to adventure...I was going camping by myself! I was ten years old.

I followed Kerrs Creek for miles, into uncharted and forbidding country which likely no white man had ever ventured, almost down to opposite the Big Springs outlet into the creek. The afternoon was spent in fortifying my campsite and gathering fire wood to repel the night beasts lurking behind every tree, I cached a goodly supply of rocks suitable for throwing, near to my hand and felt I was ready to get some sleep whenever nightfall came. it came and I wasn't really ready, my provisions were gone, I faced the real likelihood of starvation. The comfortable bed I had made in a sandy cove beside the creek got rockier and rockier and the night's blackness got deeper and darker. I soon had exhausted the batteries on my trusty Jack Armstrong 2 cell flashlight checking out the things that lurked behind every tree, and except for the campfire, I now was alone in the dark. My firewood was rapidly become scarcer and scarcer and I hugged my trusty dog close to my chest and fell asleep.

I awoke cold and hungry and wet from the morning dew, my dog had deserted me during the night. My fire was cold and it seemed a good idea for me to head home to food and warmth. I arrived before anyone had awakened, the back door was unlocked and the porch light on. I fell asleep on the old wicker couch in the living room. Mother was finally able to get rid of the fleas I had picked up from the dog in a week or so.

A lifetime of camping has steadily gotten more comfortable and enjoyable but none as memorable as my first solo expedition.

Can any of you of imagine being allowed to do such a thing today with all the pedophiles lurking behind every tree! They lurked even then, in the schools and churches and playgrounds and one confronted and dealt with them as best one could, generally by running. It was part of the growing up experience, the getting ready for real life experience. Our parents did not think they had to protect us every hour of the day. As we grew in wisdom, they recognized it and slowly, ever so slowly, slackened the bonds that kept us near. I imagine most of us by the time we were 15 or 16 has escaped death by drowning, falling, cutting, and other things many more times than we ever told anyone. By that time we were pretty well prepared to stumble through life, doing the best we could to be honest and honorable individuals!