History Items of the Canal Zone

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Rubber Band Guns
cronicled by
Dale C. Clarke from Iguana

General Rambles Oct-Nov, 2003

2003/10/25
Was the rubber gun fad part of your childhood? We would carefully cut rubber bands from an old inner tube and then fabricate a wooden gun looking object. Multi shot were more desirable. Then the rubber bands were stretched back to be held in place by a cloths pin acting as the trigger mechanism. These arrangements then were ready for war games and they could sting if hit squarely. To shoot one another with BB guns was illegal and dangerous but the rubber guns were certified as OK and the ingredients were freely available.

Now as to bicycles!! It seemed the commissary and PC store houses only sold US products as to bikes. My Dad bought me the standard PC delivery mans machine from the storehouse source and it was a man's size Iver-Johnson which I could hardly ride and nearly castrated myself on many an occasion when my feet slipped off of a pedal and I made painful contact with the cross bar. I had first wanted a balloon tired US job then coming in vogue but no I had to go Pan Canal. Then after pumping that thing for a while I wanted to get an English Bike for they were so much lighter and less tiring to propel but they were only sold by the stores in Panama. My Dad vetoed this for he felt it was more secure warranty wise to buy via PC. I never got an English Bike but was jealous of friends who did for they ran circles around me and my Iver-Johnson.

With the start of WW11 I bought a German or Austrian Puch Motorbike that came out of Guatemala and was always angry because the gas tank only held 1 1/2 gallons and your gas ration coupon was for two gallons. They did not allow you to carry off what didn't fit in a spare can. If it didn't go in you just lost it to the station. It barely did 30 mph which was marginally safe with the speeds of those days.
GC

2003/10/26
> Was the rubber gun fad part of your childhood?

-----------------
Yep, I remember testing the merits of red vs black rubber tubes. I believe the black was rather stiff while the red was preferred as being more elastic [also harder to get wouldn-cha know.]

-Diablo, C. 1945 I ventured to make friends with a couple of kids from 'down below'.

[i.e., Below Davis St, .. -Xmas tree antagonists no doubt]

They wanted to "initiate" me into their group. Part of the initiation was when they took me down to those huge sheds on Diablo Rd. near the end of Shonts St., stood me up against the wall and used me for target practice. Later they made me sit for awhile inside what seemed to be a huge cement mixer(?)... [-Better that than an abandoned refrigerator!]

-About 20 yrs later I made a pistol for my nephew from a bike tube.

Other 'fads' of the time were pea shooters and clothespin-spring bean shooters...and parachutes, -made typically from handkercheifs but 'most anything was used ranging from kleenex to bed sheets, ...
-----------

Re Bikes: I learned to ride on Davis St. on my dad's 28" balloon tire bike. I couldn't push the pedals all the way down, and had to reach down with the opposite foot to hook the pedal with my toe and pull it to the top.

I don't recall if I had trouble braking. I do remember that to stop and dismount I would simply crash into a hedge at the lower

[Batch. Quarters] end of the St.

[Those were the days when we had pipe ends set at the edges of the Street to hold quickly-removable poles for a badminton/volleyball net.

"We" also built and used the Barbecue in the lot at the head of the stairs... -Week-end Pancake Breakfasts for the whole neighborhood. :-]
Bob H

----- Original Message -----
From: "G CHEVALIER"
To: "Iguana"
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 8:11 AM
Subject: Cobwebs from the past

We would carefully cut rubber bands from an old inner tube and then fabricate a wooden gun looking object. Multi shot were more desirable. Then the rubber bands were stretched back to be held in place by a cloths pin acting as the trigger mechanism. These arrangements then were ready for war games and they could sting if hit squarely. To shoot one another with BB guns was illegal and dangerous but the rubber guns were certified as OK and the ingredients were freely available.

Now as to bicycles!! It seemed the commissary and PC store houses only sold US products as to bikes. My Dad bought me the standard PC delivery mans machine from the storehouse source and it was a man's size Iver-Johnson which I could hardly ride and nearly castrated myself on many an occasion when my feet slipped off of a pedal and I made painful contact with the cross bar. I had first wanted a balloon tired US job then coming in vogue but no I had to go Pan Canal. Then after pumping that thing for a while I wanted to get an English Bike for they were so much lighter and less tiring to propel
GC


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