You paint a wonderful picture there TireIron...... quite the wordsmith.
'Preciate the details and Welcome to yours and our world.
Thanks for your memories from the good old days....,they jogged a few of mine.
I started on the AT in 1962 with scrounged old WW2 and improvised stuff .... eating real food and getting wet. Slept on the ground over 4 decades...duh.
Dad's a Southern preacher so I took the pledge and unfortunately didn't carry snakebite meds for many years.
Write again please.
Best to you.
"There's no accounting for other people's taste in love, fiction and huntin' dogs." ---Mark Twain
Welcome aboard Tirediron,
I like your handle. 1941 here.
Brother and I put into Deal once in a while.
From North Beach on a clear day you can ‘almost’ see my house
. . . about 40 miles past Bloody Point Light.
Do any crabbing?
p.s. Your snake-bite-remedy works well in the high arctic too !>)
Welcome to HF! I reread the last line of your story where you haven't slept on the ground in all these years. I think we need to proclaim you to be the granddaddy of all hammock campers!
We used to buy a lot of camping gear for Boy Scout trips and camo for playing in the woods at Sunny's Surplus in the 1980s....In Sonny's Surplus in DC, I found surplus white canvas Navy hammocks, probably from before WW2...
From Web research, it sounds like they went out of business in early 2007. They were still open in 2005 or 2006 in Glen Burnie, MD and had some real surplus gear. But not like all the old, cool funky surplus stuff the old store had in the late 1970s. About 1985 and later, Sunny's had those big Rambo knives with the little survival kits in the camo plastic handles with the compass at the end.
Great story. Inspiring.
wow, I love that at 14 you were given a gun and a territory to roam. My heart would have loved such freedom. What a great story, thanks again for sharing. It is an honor.
It turns out Tirediron and I were nearly classmates, but we missed each other by about 10 years- he was c57, I was c67. We did not know each other, yet share a brotherhood. I had mentioned earlier about, like Tirediron, camping and growing up in rural GA and various towns, including Rome, GA. With absolutely wild coincidence, I had just been in contact with folks from my old school, Berry in Rome, about a reunion. There is a website I go to these last few years, and I might go to that site every year or two. But I had just responded by e-mail about this reunion in May, left that site, and went to HF. So like 2 minutes after I e-mail a fellow Berry alum, a PM at HF pops up from tirediron saying " Rome? I went to Berry- ever heard of it?"! Wow, how is that for long odds?
Anyway, we have been PMing back and forth, reminiscing. This was a private school in the north GA mountains. Sadly,the HS closed in 1983, but the college is still going strong. It was a really unique experience. The college was on the main road( Hwy 27) in Rome, but the high school was locked away at the end of a very long empty road, called the "stretch", through dense forests.
It was a non-denominational Christian school. There were rich boys whose fathers sent them there for the discipline and education. There were plenty of dirt poor boys who were totally free rides who would pay most of the cost with extra work. There were virtual hoods sent there as a last resort by families who could not control their juvenile delinquent sons. It was quite a mixture. They were from all over the south, nation and even world. The common denominator was required hard physical work by all, rich or poor. Every one had to work at least an 8 hour day one day a week, but most worked 16 hours or more. Then us poor boys would usually stay during the vacations and summer and work full time, only going home one or two weeks a year. You might come there a rich city boy, but find yourself being rousted out at 0300 to go milk the cows, then back for breakfast at 0700, the shovel cow manure the rest of the day while the other kids were in class.
My first work memory is at 14, being out in my new work boots and gloves in Dec, digging through frozen ground to repair frozen sewer pipes. I still remember holding on to that roto rooter thingie for dear life, twisting it and trying to cut through the frozen crap, fearful I would loose control of it and have it smack me when it untwisted. And also fearful of contact with the crap. This was quite a different life than home with my widowed mother and older sister, who really tended to baby me! As much as you could be babied anyway, by a single mom in the 50s, moving from town to town and job to job. But, I was babied anyway, and I didn't even know I was poor, so all was good!
If you watched the start of the inaugeration, you saw one of my room mates welcoming the Obabmas to St.Johns Cathedral for prayer, where he is the rector. We got to Berry together, me from south GA and him a cuban refugee. We slung those slingblades together many a long summer day. You can see him and Obama here:
I remember the 4 years I was there, I was always looking forward to graduating and getting out of there, so I could do whatever I wanted. But I wasn't gone from there long when I realized I wouldn't trade that experiece for anything.
Sorry to hijack and ramble, but the "coincidence" of me and Tirediron( a hammocker since 53) having this shared background was just sort of amazing, and I felt a need to share.
Apparently, signature that I used from 2006 no longer tolerated so now deleted.
This is truly a small and wonderful world. To find Hammocks Forum, post one message, get so many positive responses to my message, then to discover a connection to Billy Bob and the school we both attended. For those of you who have never heard of Berry Schools, and I am sure it is most, Billy Bob did a great job of describing it. Founded by an incredible lady Martha Berry to educate the poor mountain kids of Northern Georgia. You worked your way through. The kids did every thing from running the dairy, farming, raising hog, cows, chickens, turkeys, everything. And there were girls there who did their work.You could go there with no money at all and get a good education. When I was there, you went to school 4 days a week, worked 2, went to church on Sunday and had Sunday afternoon off. You had to work 16 hours a week, and that paid for your room and board. You could work 40 hours a week during the summer and that paid for your tuition. I never worked there during the summer because I could get a job working for Rural Electric building power lines and make more than at Berry. I actually went to College there also. By the way, if you got in trouble they would "Dock" you hours, which meant that you had to find time to make up the Docked hours. You could also work extra hours to make money and as I recall the rate was 15 cents an hour. You didn't need any money, because there was nothing to buy. If you didn't get up for breakfast or missed a meal, too bad. A coke machine finally was installed, run by the senior class, known as the "Old Boys". But I don't remember it getting much business.
Enough of this!! Next I'll be walking bare footed through the snow in the Georgia Swamps!! on the way to school. This ain't a hardship story, just great memories of a more innocent time.
Now back to the real subject matter. I did not start hanging out of a choice, it was because someone who was boarding with my Grand Mother left a jungle hammock. It was probably some GI who never came back. But as I told BillyBob, if truth be known and I had a tent, I would probably never used it or gone camping because of the snakes. I think the accident of having the hammock, and that it was off the ground was what started it all. And not having any spending money, simply made you be satisfied with what you had or improvise and improvising was the fun part.
I see the fun of improvising amplified on this site. I dare say anyone on this site could purchase any item they wanted, but the fun is the creativity of building something, testing, etc. I solute all of you for that.
I am truly amazed at what you folks are doing, building, designing.
I am now reluctant to mention any of the little things I did in view of where you are today.
Thanks for making me feel welcome, even I though I thought Iwas retired from hanging, I am beginning to think, "Well....maybe not!"
Quote: "I am truly amazed at what you folks are doing, building, designing.
I am now reluctant to mention any of the little things I did in view of where you are today"
I don't think you will find anyone here that would prefer to see the new, over hear about the old. Keep the memories coming, this may be my favorite thread!
My knife is so sharp it cut the sixth finger off my right hand! On the plus side, Inigo Montoya no longer hunts me.