Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Caves, Dollar Bills, And Treasure

When we were kids, it seemed we were always looking for things. Like arrow heads (never found any), bones, caves in the sides of hills, and buried treasure (not the Spielberg kind, though that would have been nice - just weird things sticking out of the ground). There were miles of woods near our home, surrounding a creek that ran all through the area. The woods were narrow, just sticking to each side of the stream, since industrial parks and housing developments and neighborhoods bordered the woods. But we'd walk with old sneakers through the water, overturning rocks, hunting for eels and crayfish, which actually inhabited the water back then (this was a suburb of Philadelphia, so don't be picturing a beautiful rural Americana setting).

We'd be gone for hours. We'd throw rocks at hornet nests, ping each other with wrist rocket sling shots, and even find weird little shacks, lined with carpet pieces and beer bottles. We once watched a man bury three black trash bags in the middle of the woods. When he left, we scurried over and dug up one of the bags - it was filled with dirt. VERY strange.

I wonder if kids still go creek-walking. I wonder if they still look for things like caves, dollar bills, and treasure. Man, I hope they do.

It's out there somewhere.


Mr Black said...

There are many caves here in Tennessee and many that have not been explored. I have been in a few and the most exciting thing for me are the bats. I love em.The Bell Witch cave is fun to visit, but has little to do with the actual legend. It was an Indian burial ground and the only body in it was stolen years ago.It was a little girls skeleton.

Jon said...

Man. More eerie similarities. You just described many of the days and discoveries of my own childhood: catching turtles, frogs, and crayfish in a nasty little bog behind a strip-mall-turned-business-park, picking through the remnants of the teenagers' party spots out by the power lines, spying on the occasional weirdo, and getting chased on our bikes by some guy we were *certain* was trying to run us over out in the sand pits.

Good times.

NoahFentz said...

Man, Mr.Rot you are bringiong back memories. I grew up in Upstate NY near Saratoga Area. We also lived near woods and swamps. As kids we would build forts using pallets from the old sawdust mill. Set up bottles that we dug up and shoot at them with BB guns. Always investigating and walking thru abandon feed mills and train yards...those were the days...

I visit my father, who still lives there, every week in August. I bring the kids. WE have been doing that for at least 15 summers. My daughter still comes and she is 25. We have a day set that we bring our cameras and WALK to a different area in the village to investigate. Last year we went to the old abandon Furniture mill. Pics are on flickr.

I am fortunate enough that my father does still live there and my kids can experience how I grew up in a small village. Where we are now in Jersey my kids could not get that.

Wren said...

Totally did this as a kid in suburban south-central neighbors owned this really, really old house that was all boarded up, and had moved it behind their property. It was the spookiest house, and I would always find cool stones, shards of pottery, stuff like that around it. One day, I found a dead bird, tied up in string, hanging from the corner of the house. No doubt in my mind that house was haunted :)

screaminscott said...

Around halloween, I've always wanted to leave little creepy items around the neighborhood. In the suburbs (which I love regardless) adventure is rarely unscheduled.

So I've thought of leaving little "Blair Witch" stick figures on the sidewalk, on the popular path to school. Or little skulls. Or anything creepy.

I haven't done it yet. Mostly because I'm too busy. But there is a small concern that people might freak and think there is some Satanic cult in the neighborhood.

Actually, that might be kinda cool!

Anonymous said...

I remember doing all of those things. I grew up in Altoona P.A. in the city, so when we would go to my cousins house which was in a very wooded area there was lots of areas to go searching through. They even had a creek running beside their house so we were always running through that and picking up crayfish and anything else that would move.

Agreed. Good times....

FoolishCop said...

You know you've written a good post when you get everyone thinking back to their childhood and the wonder of exploring. Nice.

Now I'lll spend some time reminiscing about suburbia where I grew up, where even there you could find "untamed" areas that could spark your imagination.


Rot said...

Cool, guys : )

Yeah, those really were good times. We'd sometimes build boats out of flat pieces of wood and "bomb" them with stones from the banks. We'd light little fires in their soda can chimney stacks so they'd smoke.

We'd often explore the sewer spill-off drains which poured into the creek during heavy rains - going in just far enough for the light of the opening to disappear around a bend.

Walking the ice-covered creek in the winter was pretty exciting too.

The October boy said...

Don't know what more I can add, except..Ditto" I think half the reason we have these blogs is because of the way we grew up and those cool memories that seem to be rare these days. Thanks for keeping them alive.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy said: Man, great memories. I lived in a small suburb outside Los Angeles, and spent a great number of days navigating the storm drains in the area around the neighborhood. My friends and I watched It one rainy sunday morning and figured it was a good idea we would go pennywise hunting. I remember the water was a foot thick in the drains and rising when we got to the opening. Youth are fearless I tell you! We didn't find the clown, and almost drown trying to find our way out. Exploring those drains are fantastic memories that are pure childhood GOLD. Thanks for reminiscing with us!!!

Shotgun_Mario said...

I did all the same here, and still often do (heh) where I now life. It's kinda what got me into the Urban Exploring scene, and part of what keeps me moving. The writings of Mark Twain and Ray Bradbury help to constantly encourage looking back and reinvesting in those experiences, and it pays off well.

I've written college papers on the subject of "suburban woods between residential and retail/industrial" as well, and how they're one of the last remnants for children to have freedom and adventure, in amongst the illegal trash dumps and storm drains people would rather not think about. Suburban woods geographically separate the weekday life from the weekend life, and help hide what society would rather not think about or deal with.

I cherish those memories of being a kid in the woods more than just about anything there is.

I think I'll take a walk tomorrow, just to see where my old forts used to be, deep in the suburban jungle, along the river shore. There still ought to be a few nails I hammered into some trees, if I remember where. :)

Marrow said...

Ah. Good (not so old) primary school memories coming back. Building big huts in the bushes around our school was awesome. Little tribes.

When the grass on the field got mowed, we'd scoop it up into enormous piles and have hay wars. :)

There was a little stormwater tunnel in the ditch around the field, and we'd take turns at squeezing through it.

And sometimes we'd venture into the out-of-bounds forest beyond the field. It was awesome and tangled, so much fun to explore.

My high school hardly has any fields or forest. Lots of concrete. It really sucks.

Kids nowadays may just sit and play computer games, but they still want to go and explore, if only they were given the chance.


Goneferalinidaho said...

MY little sister and I loved to go "creek walking". Man , those were the days.

Shani said...

Man, this definitely brought back memories. I still love going creek walking. =) I love being in the woods by a little stream of water...amazing!! We have a state park right near us that is amazing for that. Could walk there for hours...and often do =)