My maternal grandfather and I shared a few things – love of the outdoors, love of reading and a fascination for the Revolutionary War. I grew up in New England, where many events from those early days occurred, old forts still stood or had been rebuilt, people re-enacted those battles…so from the get go I had a tremendous admiration for the men and women who fought for liberty and the foundation of our country.
When I was pretty young, my grandfather gave me the childhood books he still had in his possession, which I read over and over. Most of them were rousing adventure stories, written in the early 1900’s, usually with a stalwart boy or young man as the hero (but since I was born with a writer’s imagination, I certainly added in an equally dauntless girl or young woman to share the danger and the excitement when I’d be re-enacting the stories in our local lake and forest, or with my army of plastic soldiers, cowboys and horses.). I probably visualized some “sweet” romance going on as well LOL. One of my favorite series was The Dare Boys, by Stephen Angus Fox. Unfortunately Grampa never had the whole series so I only have six, each book inscribed with his kind of messy, twelve year old boy’s signature on the inside cover, 100 years ago this year in fact.
Tom, Dick and Ben (what is up with that, I always wondered, why isn’t he Harry) Dare had so many adventures, were always in the thick of the action, met all the major figures of the Revolutionary War, on both sides. As a child I never questioned how conveniently they found themselves in these places LOL. Unfortunately, Grampa never had the one book I craved – the Dare Boys and the Swamp Fox. Now he was my all time ultimate hero from the Revolutionary War. I have no idea why – he just captured my imagination early and never left. Crafty, skilled at guerilla warfare, not playing by the rules…I had his biography on my nightstand as a kid too.
I suppose I could order the missing books in the Dare Boy series. I know they’ve been reprinted, but I think my moment in time for reading them is long past. Probably better if I leave Tom, Dick and Ben, and the Swamp Fox in my memory.
Even though the Dare Boys were fictional, they do a good job representing the men who made this country strong and free and during this Fourth of July week I’d like to express my gratitude and admiration for all the American soldiers marching down through time from the 1700’s to the present day all over the world, looking out for the rest of us, ensuring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Happy Birthday, America!