March 10, 2020:

Somehow I had an M-1 rifle stock. No metal parts, just the wooden stock. It was necessarily central to our armory.

Another friend had the plastic Thompson submachine gun which was ubiquitous in 1960s neighborhoods. I have photos of kids from different neighborhoods at different phases of my childhood who all had those.

I stood out though for the high-end toy M-16 I'd received as a xmas gift. It could be pumped multiple times, enabling very long firing bursts. That capability wasn't really urgent in neighborhood games, but it did cause me to stand out from the other kids. I hated standing out.

Our military games combined traditional "army" with hide-and-seek. We'd split into two teams. One would hide, another would search. Those hiding had the advantage of firing from concealment. Those seeking learned to move as stealthily as possible, in pairs, so that if the point guy got taken out by an enemy behind a bush, the second guy would nail that sniper in turn.

We limited our terrain to just our own block, but it was large with dozens of buildings, playgrounds, awnings, an alley, trees, bushes. Any larger space would have been unmanageable. It would sometimes take hours to complete a full game.

The canyon was off-limits. I'm not sure why that was so. Perhaps some of the kids were forbidden parentally to play there. I really don't know. The consequence though is that we were strictly urban guerillas, where Cowley Way between Dakota and Waco was our own little Stalingrad.