April 17th…“WHEN YOU PLAYED MAKE BELIEVE, AS A LITTLE BOY, WHAT KIND OF ADVENTURES DID YOU PRETEND?”
The resources of a little boy’s imagination are contingent to what has recently been deposited into his active cranium by the world around him. In most cases, the greatest majority of my play time was enjoyed by “me, myself and I”, due to the little boy fact that, at my stage of life, back then, sisters and other little girls had “germs” (and therefore not allowed in my little boy world). Most of my boy buddies lived too far away on their own farms to make it easy for them to come over to play with me very often, so it was up to my own vivid imaginations to create play times of my own invention. And, when it came to inventing fun, I often look back to the influences of television, with its in exhaustible sources of adventure, which became the primary catalyst for sparking my imagination station to propel me into many hours of fantasizing and play.
One of my inspiring television shows was the World War II program called “Twelve O’Clock High”. Each week, on our black and white TV screen, it told the story of brave men who flew the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers in the skies over Germany during the war and all their battles, along with the drama of living in that time of history. Sitting there in rapt attention, I stored up every moment of exciting stories while it was on the air. After each week’s episode, my family could see my imagination take the shape of my arms spread out wide as I’d be “flying” my very own B-17 around our farm yard. I’d make the droning engine noises and machine guns sounds with my very own “sound effects” machine……..namely, my MOUTH!! 😉
My imagination instigator of television also delivered me back into the Wild West of yesteryear in the form of the TV show called, “The Lone Ranger”. Mr. Clayton Moore (the actor who played the part of the Lone Ranger) was one of my Western heroes and a prime candidate for little boy emulation. Mimicking his Wild West exploits, I would either pretend to ride my imaginary white stallion (Silver) through the “wind break” of trees around our farm, OR, I would saddle up and ride my very own Shetland pony (Little Lady). She and I would gallop through the woods of our “wind break ” while chasing blood-thirsty savages or outlandish outlaws.
At the inception of our farm being created in the 1800’s, the original owners planted a large grove of trees to the north and west side of our farm yard. Those trees, planted in straight rows, were known as the “wind break” because that’s just what they did for us in times of storms, they would “break” the wind so that our home and other buildings were somewhat protected from the damages strong winds could incur. Coming to the present time of my little boy adventures, those straight tree rows were fodder for fun as Little Lady and I would ride up into that grove of trees and ponder how grand it would be to build our very own Western Town there. In my mind’s eye, I could envision a cowboy “Main Street” with hitching posts and a Sheriff’s Office, etc.. I could fathom myself as “The Lone Ranger”, “Matt Dillon” or “Ben Cartwright” as I’d right the wrongs of evil and make the world a better place for peace and justice………..hooooweee, how I could dream it up!!! 😉
The television show called, “Combat!” fueled my mini ego to march out into those woods of ours once again. Only THIS time, it was to find just the right kind of sticks and branches that resembled rifles, machine guns and bazookas. Pine cones made great “grenades” and the sound effects for all that weaponry was only a “mouth away” as I’d create many juicy KAPOWS! and RATATATTATS! from this little Norwegian repertoire of volatile, voluminous voices. One could find me doing a reconnoiter for enemy troop movements across our corn fields as I would crouch, belly crawl, and then attack the German SS troopers that were surrounding our cornfields ready to assault my command post there in the woods. My mighty mouth sounds accompanied my weapons as I began “mowing them down” with imaginary machine guns blazing, saving the day and winning all of World War II in one swoop!
Real life heroes would also fuel my vivid need for further little boy adventures. In THIS case, I would pretend I was a veterinarian, just like Dr. Henry Blohm, who took care of the medical needs of our animals there on our farm. Doctor Blohm was a very kind soul who was deeply respected in our agricultural community. He even served our educational system for many years as he served on the School Board of Directors. I was mesmerized by this man of animal medicine every time his fancy white truck pulled into our gravel driveway.
Many a time, our father would call good Dr. Blohm to come out to the farm to help a cow give birth to her calf. With arm length rubber gloves, the doctor sometimes would have his entire arm buried inside that cow’s “rear echelon” to assist in bringing that sweet little calf into the world safely. As he’d work on one animal or another, sometimes Doc Blohm would cast away some of his spent Vet supplies on the floor of the barn. I’d ask if I could have them, and invariably, he’d answer in the affirmative, “Sure, help yourself!”
Wanting emulate this fine local doctor’s ways, I asked my dad if I could use one of his old fishing tackle boxes. Once in possession of my new “doctor kit” container, I now had a place to put my collection of old Vet syringes, drug bottles, etc. that I had acquired over Dr. Blohm’s many visits to our farm. In my imaginative mind, I now became “Dr. Elliott Stoopenfunkle”…….world famous veterinarian!! Even as a kid, I knew that Dad would NOT appreciate me “operating” on his live dairy cows, so I then had to find a play time cow substitute. Out into our woods I’d go and found a fallen tree that had the center core/heart rotted out to the point of being an open hole. Now I had my perfect “cow” to operate on with my play doctor’s kit of high falootin’, rootin’, tootin’ medical supplies. Fun on the run for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.!!!