Since we had moved to a new neighborhood that meant that I had to attend a new school. That is where I first met Tony. It was in Miss Brammer’s fourth grade class at Preston Park Elementary. Just so happens that since I joined the class so late in the school year, she decided to pair me with Tony, who I found out quickly that he also resided in the same neighborhood as I did. He happened to live on the upper end of Curtis on the other side of the church, just three houses away from Williamson Road.
Although we were in the same class and lived in the same neighborhood we rarely interacted out of school. Most of the time he would be out playing with Joe, who was his neighbor, and I would run around with Chris and his half brother Joey.
As far as Chris, Joey, and I went, the three of us were pretty much inseparable. Once we formed our trio, it became our quest to scour the neighborhood for anything to build a fort with.
For us kids in the neighborhood, a fort was both a necessity as well as a status symbol. Joe and Tony had their fort, which consisted of a hollowed out bush in the area where the church located in the middle of Curtis Street is. As far as that went, they weren’t taking in any new members since there wasn’t enough room for any more in their clubhouse.
Even Ernie who lived towards the end of Curtis had his own fort. The only members his fort consisted of were he and his sister, which we didn’t want to join anyways.
In the end, we decided to fend for ourselves and build our own fort.
Acquiring the materials for our fort wasn’t a problem whatsoever. On the other side of the field behind The Home was a scrap pile of debris that we were able to salvage from. Between that pile and leftovers from Happy’s was everything that we needed to build our fortress. The only thing that we lacked was a location for our fort, which Chris solved for us.
“May I help you?” the woman asked. She was the owner of one of the houses in the cul de sac whose backyard faced Curtis Street. The difference between her house and the other house whose backyard faced Curtis was hers had trees in the backyard and the other house did not.
“Yes ma’am. We was wondering if it would be OK to use one of your trees,” Chris said to the lady. He was the oldest of us and more or less our leader. “You see we want to build a fort on the other side of your fence so we can play war with Ernie who lives behind here, but we want to use your tree too.”
“Well, I supposed I wouldn’t have a problem with that as long as you boys don’t leave a bunch of trash in my yard. You make a mess, you pick it up,” she replied.
“Oh no ma’am. We wouldn’t never do anything like that,” Chris stated. “We appreciate you letting us use that tree and we don’t want to mess that up.”
“Ok then, you boys have fun. Remember, no trash in my yard. Got it?”
“Yes ma’am,” we replied in unison.
Being the diligent fort constructors that we were, we built our fortress in a short amount of time. There wasn’t a lot of ingenuity involved though. It basically involved three pieces of plywood and an old piece of carpeting. Two of the pieces of plywood were used to make the sides and the carpeting was used to cover both the fence as well as doubled as the roof.
The third piece of plywood was used as a platform inside the tree on the other side of the fence. One of the limbs that supported our platform also branched out over the fence and camouflaged the entire fort. Because the actual fort was recessed on a hill below street view, you wouldn’t even know it was there. However, the platform itself was also camouflaged by the trees foliage even though there was an opening there. It was that opening that was slightly above street level that gave us a clear line of sight.
Once it was constructed our first order of business was to formulate a plan to attack Ernie’s fort, which consisted of a jungle gym surrounded with scrap opaque plastic. With his backyard running parallel to Curtis Street and with his fort being directly in front of us back there, it made it an easy target.
Were were just missing one element, which I would solve.
“Where are you going with that bucket of water?” my mom asked. She had noticed Chris, Joey, and I were attempting to leave with the large metal bucket that she used to water her plants with.
“Uh, we need to use it for a little while. Don’t worry, we’ll bring it back,” I said.
“Well, you better,” she replied in a disapproving tone.
With everything in place, we were set to go to war.
Next in the series – Against the System: In the beginning – Part 7
Contact the author at:
David Bomber #1130793
Nottoway Correction Center
P.O. Box 488
Burkeville, Va. 23922
email me @ http://www.jpay.com by submitting my name or Virginia State ID number: 1130793.
Categories: David Bomber