In my book La Nostra Costa, I describe how, as kids ,we used to play 'rubber guns' on the Rodoni Ranch. I also talk about "Il Dumpo" (the City Dump) where we used to go to fetch discarded tire inner tubes to manufacture much needed "ammunition" for our rubber guns. (LNC: Pgs. 209-212.).
Gino Campioni has some interesting memories about "Il Dumpo" and "rubber guns." Notice his spelling for "Dumpo" . He spells it with an "o". Gino should know since he is in the process of constructing a phonetic dictionary for Italianized American words.Of course, he has a bias for the Tuscano pronunciation. Thanks for the memories, Gino.
Reading La Nostra Costa has awakened a lot of memories for me. I can remember a lot of the way "il dompo" appeared
in the early 1960s. The narrow, winding road was bumpy and dusty. On reaching the level of the main area of the
dump, the road curved first left, where one had to stop at an old wooden building where the size of the load was
checked, and the appropriate fee had to be paid. Then one proceeded to drive in a curve to the right, and then
back the vehicle to the edge of the pit, where all the trash was collected and subsequently burned or buried.
One had to be very careful not to back too close to the pit, as there was nothing to stop a vehicle from going over
the edge if one wasn't careful. I remember that I had to dispose of a Frigidaire washing machine that my mother had bought
from the TV and appliance store where I worked. It was the odd type of vertical pulsating agitator, and when it began leaking oil, it was not worth repairing. I pushed it off the truck tailgate, and it went "à ruzzoloni" end over end down that abyss. Another thing I discarded was a small banjo-type ukulele that had been given to me by my music teacher. After many problems with broken strings, parts coming loose, and finally a split in the white diaphragm of the thing, I flung it as far as I could. Clang! Bong! Splat!
I remember some of the people who lived close to the dump. My parents and I once had a fine meal of roast pheasant with all the "contorni" with Gianni Fambrini, his wife, and children Nadine and Raymond, with whom I later had 4 years of high school at Holy Cross. Those were the days, friends. I think that was the last time I ever had a pheasant dinner, but it was unforgettable.
Ivano, when making those rubber guns, did you ever make a rubber machine gun? I think Kenny Olsen and I used to make those. You would make a longer than normal stock, and cut saw-tooth notches in it, Then a strip of fabric, or some sort of strap was nailed to the front end of the notches. Rubber loops were stretched (in the proper sequence) from the front of the gun to the notches. When firing, the strap was lifted, and rubber loops were launched, either singly, or in a burst like a machine gun.
Didn't we have fun with simple stuff when we were kids? Nowadays most of the young kids I see don't know how to have fun unless daddy buys them a car or something. I have showed some of our boys my radios and let them make contacts. They were all "gung ho" until I told them they had to study a book to get a license. That was the end of their interest.