Birth of an atypical prepper...

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by Pax Mentis, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    In a way I came to prepping as a kid...and in another way, I didn't really know it until I was nearly 40.

    I'm a "boomer" more ways than one. When I was about 7 (1956) my dad put a blast/fallout shelter in the back yard in Redondo Beach, CA...within about 10 miles of at least 3 or so primary targets. We had drills through my early years but, to a great extent, I was only humoring the old man by the time I was into my teens. He died just before I went to Vietnam at 19, the house was sold before I got home and I moved to Wisconsin for college. The shelter became only a bunch of stories when my siblings and I got together.

    What I find interesting now that I didn't then was that Pop never shared his concerns or his preparations with any of us. Even my oldest brother, who was 24 or so when the shelter was built (and who has unfortunately been dead for close to 25 years, so I can't ask what he knew) never acted like he knew any more than the rest of us when the subject arose.

    I know there was a pantry in the shelter with mostly canned food (heavy on Spam & Chef Boyardee is what sticks in my mind) and we had the only vegetable garden in the neighborhood (heavy on peppers...Pop spent some time in Mexico when he was young), but I couldn't even begin to figure out what kind of survival period he was aiming at. He and my mom were both older than most of my friends' parents and had done the whole "depression" thing as young adults, so we always had more food than most in the house and didn't think anything of 50 lb bags of potatoes and such.

    A couple of things he did teach us...but not with any kind of survival message involved. Guns...we always had guns. I got my first personal firearm for my 10th birthday...a bolt action Savage .22lr, but had fired his and my older brothers' as long as I can rememebr and had a bb/pellet rifle far enough back I can't remember getting the first was probably one handed down from a bro. We were taught gun safety and how to care for our guns...and the natural competition among the ones still at home made us all decent shots. We did a lot of camping as a family and learned wilderness living from him and as Boy Scouts..and, at least on the family trips, our guns always went along. We depopulated whole stretches of SoCal desert of jackrabbits, rattlers and (especially) coke cans. I got my first deer, and my first deer rifle, at 14.

    Tools...that was something else he stressed. He was an ex cavalryman ("real" cavalry...with Pershing in Mexico chasing Pancho Villa), motorcycle infantry (WWI), escaped POW, mechanic, truck driver, state policeman, bootlegger, gas station operator turned used car dealer turned new car dealer and 40+ year practicing alcoholic. I remember 2 solid lessons that he taught me. The first was, if you are ever really tempted to do something and don't, you will most likely regret it. The second was, if you ever are doing a job and don't have the correct tool...get it, because you'll need it again someday. We had every tool known to man, and he made sure we all knew how to use them, care for them and return them to where they belonged. The penalties for leaving a tool dirty and out of place would have sent him to prison for child abuse in most states today.

    When I was 18, I joined the army and went to Vietnam...after I came back, Pop was dead and I went off to college and then eventually into law enforcement...and never really even thought about prepping per se until the mid 80's. I was working for an unnamed federal agency in Utah and came up here to Southern Oregon to visit my wife's younger brother who lived here at the time. We fell in love with the area...and with the price of decent chunks of forest around here back then. One thing led to another and we put a down payment on 43 acres on the Rogue River with a year round creek joining the river on the property as our retirement homesite.

    NEXT: How we became "preppers" (with a small "p")
    Motomom34 likes this.
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