Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Flashback: Western stories

False advertising alert: since I grew up in the West, technically all of my stories are Western stories. Well, anyway, let me ramble through a few.

This post is partly about television. Our family purchased a first TV set sometime in the late 50's or early 60's. I particularly enjoyed westerns, especially John Wayne. While watching one one evening, I became enamored of the phrase, "put up your dukes." The next day, I tried it out at school and the kid promptly knocked me to the floor! This was in elementary school, as we were walking out the door for recess. Needless to say, I never used the phrase again (without heavy quotes) and didn't get into any more fights.

About this time, a few friends and I formed a science club in elementary school. One of the kids kind of took everything over, so the rest of us quit the club.

In my Junior High School days, I had a favorite TV show. Just after arriving home on the school bus, Fireball XL-5 came on, and I watched it every chance I had. Even though color TV's were available at the time, we had a black and white set. And, one channel, channel 7 out of Lethbridge.

My sister and I both wrote stories for that western newspaper, the Winnipeg Free Press Weekly. The one that appeared from me had the pen name of "Solar Scout," another indication of my early interest in space travel.

All of this dreaming about space travel might have helped motivate me to get good grades, culminating in the ninth grade with my receiving the Governor General's medal. An article in the Lethbridge Herald covered the announcement.

Later, in High School, some of us organized a science club, called the Apogee Scientific Organization. We flew model rockets, among other things.

Just after graduating, during the summer, I hit a softball for the first time in my life (other than practicing alone). It was actually a home run, and very sweet, because one of my former school mates happened to be walking by at the time, and as I ran to first, I heard him ask in wonderment, "was that Conrad who hit that?"