The Fort

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Having three brothers meant at one time or another we would most likely be at war with each other.  Our biggest battles were always fought at “The Fort”.

My older brother Steven convinced my dad as a matter of National Security he needed to build a fort.  The sight Steven chose was located in our huge back yard, which up to that point wasn’t being used for anything except growing some of the tallest and most beautiful weeds in all of Kaysville.

Steven began his military operation by calling on his troops.  The neighborhood kids would volunteer as soldiers.  The roster of inductees went somewhat as follows: General and Chief Commanding Officer, Steven J. Murdock, Enlisted men: Kenny Hansen, Lynn Blood, Robin Webb, Gordon Cottrell and Russell Moore.

Plans for “The Fort” soon began.  Trails were mapped out.  Trenches were dug.  The main part was excavated deep enough to crawl in and sit down.  Boards were placed over the top and dirt was piled on top of the boards.  A hatch was made so the troops could climb in and out easily.

Dad went to the old Smith and Edwards Surplus store to buy gear for the military operation.  He purchased helmets, nap sacks, canteens, mess kits, and most importantly rifles.  The rifles were actually old wooden gun stocks with no real killing power.

After “The Fort” was completed, it was time to wage war on the enemy. Girls and little brothers were Enemy Number One, with German’s and Japanese next in line.  Whenever Vicky Lynn and I tried to approach “The Fort” we were bombarded with grenades. (dirt clods).  When the grenades failed to stop us, the sound of bullets from the wooden rifle stocks would whiz past our heads.  My little brothers enjoyed being shot at, and played numerous academy award winning death scenes

It wasn’t long before Steven joined the ranks known as teenagers. He and his buddies were about to embark on an entirely new battlefront.  Waging the war on “pimples”.  They turned their old army gear in for Clearasil, Rock and Roll music, Friday night movies, Transistor radios and girls.

It didn’t take long for us little kids to take over “The Fort”,  New officers were elected. Brent was now Commander in Chief. Vicky Lynn and I were allowed to be Army nurses.  Other soldiers included Ronnie Crouch, George A. Bremer, Dean and Dana Hales,Corey Bailey and our baby brother Alan. We added on, we hollowed out spaces and brought in candles. We found old hollow weeds, took them underground in “The Fort” and “smoked” them.(guessing my parents didn’t know we played with matches)  We built booby traps on the trail. I once fell in and twisted my ankle.  I blamed Brent and much to my delight he got in trouble.

We all gathered down in “The Fort” sometimes just to talk and make plans, draw maps, and come up with new strategies.  We opened up to one another, told our deepest, darkest secrets and dreams about our lives and our futures.  There were many great conversations held within those old dirt walls.

Years went by, the weeds began to grow tall again around “The Fort”. All that remained was a large hole in the ground and a few boards scattered about.  Dad yelled at us for years to fill in the hole.  We never listened to him of course. I don’t think it was because we wanted to make him angry or defy him in any way, I think it just hurt too much to admit we had outgrown “The Fort”.   After all this was a place where many battles were fought and won not only with the enemy, but within ourselves.

Brent’s Broken Arm

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Our parents weren’t home that fateful evening. Big brother Steven was the designated baby sitter.  Our eyes were glued to the the old black and white TV set watching Shirley Temple’s Storybook.  Shirley Temple, the narrator, told different fairy tales each week.

This particular evening Beauty and The Beast was the featured show.  Steven transformed himself into “The Beast” and started chasing us around the house. We commenced to yelling and running having a great time.

In our attempt to hide from “The Beast”, we dove under my bed.  For reasons unknown Brent had managed to wedge his arm between the mattress and the bed frame. “The Beast” jumped onto the bed and crack went Brent’s right arm. Needless to say the fun came to a screeching halt.  We seemed to have a knack for things going bad when our parents were away. We had to come up with a plan pronto.

           Brent showing off his cast 1960
Brent showing off his cast and bragging 1960

Steven tried to calm us down, being a newly appointed Boy Scout he said he knew how to deal with this.  He got the first aid kit and began wrapping Brent’s arm in white gauze. It was a feeble attempt at best and looked more like part of an unraveled mummy than an emergency procedure.

Time was running out, we heard the car door slam on our old black Dodge.  One thing was for sure we were all equally guilty and we would all receive punishment.  We looked to big brother Steven for guidance. He told us we should tell the truth.  What a concept !! They bought it hook, line and sinker. Brent was whisked away into the night to be taken to the hospital.

 We sat silently waiting on the sofa. They were home, the familiar sound of dad swearing as he walked up the driveway. We looked out the window to see Brent emerge from the car proudly holding up a cast that went clear up around his elbow.

He couldn’t wait to go to school to show off to all his friends and have them sign his cast. He got out of doing a lot of chores for the next few weeks.  I think we were all a bit jealous of the special attention he was getting.  We always wanted what the other one had, even if it happened to be a broken arm.


Big Loo Robot From The Moon

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B Loo



It was a snowy morning in 1959.  My baby brother Alan ran out to the living room to see what Santa had brought him.  Now what to his wondering eyes should appear? – why it’s better than Santa and eight tiny reindeer, it’s a 3 foot Robot named Big Loo.  None of us could believe it.  Had Santa really brought this creature from another planet on his sleigh? And how on earth (or his planet) did he fit it down our chimney?  Was he really our friend from the moon like it said on the box?  Or is he here to destroy earth as we know it?

Alan was beside himself with delight. After Big Loo was out of his box it was time to evaluate all the wonderful things this toy of the “future” could do.  He could talk – with a little help from some batteries and wind up handle located in the back of his head.  Lou really didn’t have much to say, his vocabulary was extremely limited.  His chosen words were “I’m Big Loo, I will fight for you, I Am your friend, I can pick things up.”These commands could be repeated until the batteries wore down or your arm became too tired to crank the handle.

Lou had bright red eyes which sparkled when he talked (ok so they were tiny red light bulbs also running on batteries).  HIs eyes grew bright or dim depending on how fast you were willing to wind his handle.  The robot had a water squirter, a whistle, a compass and other assorted gadgets.  Loo had a great disposition always smiling, I guess that’s because it was painted on.

Not quite sure how to say this tactfully, but Big Loo had the most amazing nipples.  They were actually strategically placed rubber darts.  When you pulled the lever in the back, his nipples took off like rockets. They were usually aimed at me, and after being assaulted by the beastly breast of Big Loo, I would “boob” until my dad demanded to know what the hell was going on.  Much to my delight Alan would get in trouble and Big Loo was put in time out.

One of Loo’s hands was outstretched and opened and closed (with a little help of course).  There was a weird plastic thing, an alien bomb of some sort that he could throw across the room.  Loo picked up things. You had to be patient with him, it took him about an hour and Alan thought it was worth the wait.  His other hand pointed straight out and had a big hole in the top. This was so you could place his 6 red balls into the shoulder (6 balls?, oh well after all he is from the moon). Another lever would release Big Loo’s balls into the air and fling them aimlessly.  Alan expected us to pick them up for him. No way it was his robot and wasn’t Big Loo suppose to, in his own words “pick up things”?

Big Loo had amazing feet. He was on rollers so he could glide around with ease.  Instead of toes like humans, he was equipped with rockets that could be launched with menacing force. It seemed like there was no end to the talents of this wonderful 3 foot robot from the moon.

After years of playing with Big Loo, time began to take it’s toll.  Parts of him began to break off and deteriorate. Yes it looks as though the robot from the moon, will be living out the rest of his years on earth.  And so it is. Big Loo is retired and living the good life with Alan in New York.


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1954 me cover dgby vol 1As I gather information, my brain becomes flooded with tons of memories.  The more I think about them, the more I realize I have so much to say. If my brain continues to spin as it is now, there is no telling what can happen.

I wonder how my youth slipped away so quickly. Seems like yesterday I was a little girl playing hopscotch, jump rope, bike riding and roller skating on the sidewalks of Kaysville. Knowing I will never be able to recapture those moments in time is very sad, being able to share and reminisce gives me a sense of contentment. My trips down memory lane have enabled me to gain a new insight on my life, my choices, and the people I hold dear to me.


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