Monday, June 04, 2012

I was a nerd

In the very very early 80s, I'd say 80-81, I was between 11 & 13 depending on what time of year we're talking about. I had a friend (not a school friend, either we didn't go to the same school or he was older than I was. I can't remember which. In my memory he was older than I was but not by a lot but I'm a terrible judge of age back then. People were broken up into three groups, 1) Too young for me to play with 2) Would play with me or 3) Too old to play with me. Life was easy. :)

So, behind the house, I should point out I lived on the edge of town and behind the house was miles of nothing. Behind his house was miles of nothing, forest with ground that was steep badlands looking broken ground but it was red clay. Tall buttes and hills in miniature, the thrust up broken pieces of ground would go up maximum a 15-20 feet but then STEEP sides, gullies and washes we called them. It was a mess. It was PERFECT for playing in. The hills gave us cover and geography to play in and the trees kept it from being too hot. Considering this was Southern Alabama it would probably kill me now. But we were kids then, we didn't feel temperature.

What games did we play? That's the thing. We played gods & goddesses. I favored the Norse Pantheon and he favored the Greek. I liked being Thor and/or Loki and he was typically Athena or Aphrodite. Sometimes I'd be Hermes. So there was this tree fallen down across two of the upthrust chunks of ground that had a washed out area between them, clay thumbs pushing up into the air about 10-12 feet up and a tree had fallen so it was across them and the roots on a third one sort of. It was a bridge. I can distinctly remember walking half way across the tree-bridge and trying to persuade a pretend Heimdall to let me leave Asgard against my father Odin's wishes while a crow (We didn't have any ravens) watched. Meanwhile Aphrodite stood at the other side of the rainbow bridge tossing his hair impatiently. He, as a Greek deity couldn't come into Asgard and when he'd have to trot off to Olympus to ask information of Zeus or Hera I couldn't go to Olympus... so, we met in the mortal realm and had our adventures there.  It was awesome fun. We'd point at one of the neighboring high points from atop another and yell "teleport" (because that's what you'd do) then you'd run down one as fast as you could so your momentum would carry you up as far as you could go before you'd grab tree roots or little bushes to pull yourself up the rest of the way. It was, without a doubt the hickest teleport ever devised. But we did that for HOURS.

None of our stories, adventures, or information came from comic versions of these myths because we didn't read the comic versions. I'd read them first in the Edward Dolch books from our public library, published in the 50's they were ancient when I got them but I didn't care. They were wonderful books. I've just ordered the Greek one because I found it first. Greek Stories: A Dolch Pleasure Book. There were more in all sorts of mythos' from African to Japanese and Indian (They're Native Americans now but they weren't then) and I devoured them all and loved the interesting worlds behind the pages. A part of me still thinks those interesting worlds are out there waiting to be discovered, seen, glimpsed or stumbled through. I'm 43 now and I still sort of wish for an arch to take me to another world as I go under it with my eyes closed. Cresting a hill has me convinced I'll see an Emerald City in the distance at some point. Those books, that summer, possibly the summer of '78... I really can't remember... that set my love of reading in my brain as a permanent thing. I can still smell that old library when I close my eyes.
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