The Mekemson Kids Did It… It’s a Wrap, Or Is that a Rap-Sheet?

By the time I was in the fourth grade, new friends, a love of wandering in the woods, and a knack for learning had changed my perspective on life.


The comments on my series, “The Mekemson Kids Did It,” have been fun. Obviously, I struck a chord. Many of you reached back into the far recesses of your own memory banks to recall incidents from your own childhood. Thanks so much for sharing.


Amazingly, like most kids, we survived growing up. Part of it was sheer luck. I never broke a bone or suffered from a bad fall.  Nor did I come close to being drowned, shot, electrocuted, or run over. And all of these were possible. Most of my more ‘serious’ mishaps related to my big feet. Summertime meant bare feet and I specialized in stubbed toes; they hurt. Skin doesn’t appreciate being flayed from the body in big chunks, which is why the activity was highly recommended in Inquisition torture manuals. One toe and I would have confessed to anything.

As it was, I took it like the little man I happened to be and bawled. A dose of parental sympathy, a dash of iodine and a Band-Aid normally made things better. A rusty nail through the foot required more drastic action like a trip to the doctor and a mega-dose of sympathy. As did my encounter with Coaly the Cocker, who sunk her teeth into my foot. As I mentioned earlier, however, the sympathy was lacking that time.

Marshall’s injuries tended to be more serious. That’s because he asked interesting questions like what happens when you put a bullet on a rock and smash another rock down on top of it. He got away with that one, unlike the time he lit a dynamite cap with a match. We were vacationing at Caldor’s lumber camp in the Sierra’s at that time. Earlier in the day, Marshall and I had gone out for a hike and discovered the caps at an old mine. That evening, while Mother was wrapping up dinner, he had slipped outside to experiment. A loud bang was followed by a louder scream. Marshall was lucky. His glasses had protected his sight. The rest of the front side of his body was a bloody mess.  And then there was the time he fell out of a Heavenly tree and shoved a stick into his stomach.

Pop always started running when he heard Marshall scream. With me, he walked. But these were exceptions. Normally we brought home nothing more than the usual bumps, bruises and scratches of youth.

There came a time in his life when Marshall found other things more important than amusing or torturing his little brother. Girls were high on his list, along with cars, cigarettes and being a James Dean type rebel. (He wore his cigarette pack wrapped up in the sleeve of his T-shirt.) I spent a great deal of time by myself except for the ever-present dog and wandered farther and farther afield. The wilder the terrain, the happier I was.

While other kids were busy learning the drama of organized sports, I was figuring what to do with the rear end of a skunk pointed at me. It’s a sure sign the skunk is irritated when she does a handstand and waves her tail in your direction. It’s her way of saying, “My gun is cocked and my finger is on the trigger. It’s your move, stranger.” The secret is not to move. If you are very, very lucky, the skunk will slowly return to all fours and amble off.

But I also begin to develop my own set of friends and an enjoyment of learning, which still exists today. And then— drum roll please— there were girls! Be sure to check out next Friday’s post where the subject is Raw Sex and the Nuclear Holocaust.

42 thoughts on “The Mekemson Kids Did It… It’s a Wrap, Or Is that a Rap-Sheet?

  1. Your escapades have entertained me enormously! They sometimes make me think of a book by Christopher Brookmyer called ‘A big boy did it and ran away’. Considerably blacker and bloodier but you laugh your head off as you read of the carnage 😉

    • I am glad you’ve enjoyed the tales, AC! Good stories, from my perspective, should always include a touch of humor, even the darkest of tales need an occasional light moment. –Curt

  2. One of my favorite people I’ve never met once posted about The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys, and I suspect you and your brother got an advance copy. Be prepared to laugh, and enjoy something from the days when humor still was acceptable. And by the way: the comments may raise an extra memory or two.

    • Very funny indeed, Linda. But wait, there’s hope. I read an AP article yesterday on ‘raising free range children.’ States are even passing laws to let it happen. Aside from the silliness of having to pass a law, it’s like “Yes! Finally.” I am thinking I need to do a post on it. –Curt

  3. Love the description of your brother. There is a hint of sadness too when you mention having more time on your own. The end of childhood for siblings can be bittersweet, I think. One is always older (except for twins) and of course can feel left behind when the older enters adolescence. My sister and I are only one year apart (I’m the older) and at some point distance grew between us until it ceased to exist when we were both young adults.
    BTW it’s a miracle that you managed to live all these adventures without even a broken arm. Like you I escaped injuries while my sister broke leg and arm, opened her forehead and cut a piece of one of her fingers. All that in my company while playing.
    We’ll see about the broken hearts in your next post:)

    • Marshall and I followed very different paths, Evelyne. In some ways, we were in our 60s before they converged again.
      My good luck with adventures has continued up to this day. 🙂 And I am knocking on wood right now. Considering all of the times I’ve wandered off into the wilderness on my own or undertaken adventures like my 10,000 mile bike trip, I still haven’t broken a bone. Sprained ankles have been it so far! And may it continue.
      Now on to the mysterious world of women. 🙂 –Curt

  4. Such a memory sparking piece. And you both survived to tell the tale!
    Some years ago I had occasion to take a drive in the area where I grew up. I was surprised by just how far in distance I roamed as a child either on foot or bicycle, usually alone, and never with any anxiety or fear about potential dangers.

    A lovely piece Curt. Applause to your parents. Thank you.

  5. Brothers… sigh. Whenever I mistakenly type “bothers” instead, I think it’s really the same thing. Mine was never doing dangerous things like Marshall, but he did spend every summer tormenting me with his friends. The worst was when they threw Daddy Longlegs into my hair. As far as I’m concerned, my retaliation was warranted: I chased my brother with a jar full of bees. 😉

    • My sister was seven years older, Juliann, and with some exceptions (like the time we scared her by jumping out of the Graveyard), she normally had the upper hand.
      Glad you got back at your brother with the bees, a more significant threat than the daddy long legs! 🙂 –Curt

    • Glad you are enjoying it, Lexi. Half my fun is the stories it has inspired my followers to tell. 🙂 I always like coming up with titles. This coming Friday is “Raw Sex and the Nuclear Holocaust.” Of course it’s something of a come on. But fun. –Curt

    • We both look back on those years of roaming as special, Cynthia, and are glad we were raised out in the country where such roaming was possible. And yes, we are glad that we survived so we could continue to explore the world around us. 🙂 –Curt

  6. Curt, now I know what to do when I encounter a skunk!! 😀😀 Your life of wandering afar started young and never left it seems … wonderfully so! I’m glad Marshall’s injuries were never too bad but can’t stop squirming about a stick in his stomach. Ouch doesn’t cover it!

    • The skunk stuff is important! (grin) That Marshall survived youth is much more significant than that I did. As for being a wanderer, it’s my form of stability, Annika. 🙂 –Curt

  7. Oh my! Just back from an adventure in the Redwoods. That’s my temple of the gods right there! (but then had to bail out as the weekend approached)! You made me suck in my breath at the mention of Marshall and the dynamite caps. It’s good the two of you reconnected in later years. I will definitely keep your skunk advice in mine (yes, we have some in this new neighborhood.)
    Seem to have recovered some energy after that nasty cold, but the reserve tank still seems to hit empty sooner than expected. Hoping to catch up on all of your adventures before our next outing.

    • The Redwoods serve the same purpose for me, Gunta. Marshall is sitting in our front room, right now. He migrates between north and south depending on the season. He’s working his way north now!
      Our senior selves don’t bounce back quite as quickly as they once did! –Curt

  8. Really wonder what its like to have a Mexican standoff with a skunk.
    Poor Marshall, trying to blow up some dynamite sure seems a one-way ticket to a bloody mess. Fortunate indeed his glasses protected his eyes!

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