| This article is part of "Robin's Personal Memories Project"|
The information on this page is from my personal history and memories
and should NOT be used for any reason other than reading enjoyment
When the Roberts family moved to Palmdale CA, our view of the world changed from the suburbs of Metropolitan Los Angeles to a high Chapparal desert environment. My parents had always allowed "us kids" to explore our world on our bikes. Moving to Palmdale allowed our circle of exploration to expand from two or three miles to a range of twenty or so miles. It was not uncommon for "us boys" to peddle from our home to the top of Quartz Hill (about 13 miles away) for an outing. We would pack a lunch, put our .22 rifles into the scabbards on our bikes and set forth to explore the world. We would take on the roles of Columbus, Marco Polo, Genghis Kahn or other world class explorers. After lunch, we would coast down the North face of the hill and then peddle our way home, a round trip of three to five hours.
One on of our outings, we shot and killed a rattle snake. After a lecture and a safety class from my dad, we "promised" that we would not kill any animals unless they make a direct threat toward us. We then had a lesson on First Aid, and we made a kit that each us would carry on our trusty steed bicycles. The kits were complete with First Aid supplies, maps and compass, snake bite kits, ropes, signal mirrors, extra ammunition and water. We were prepared to continue our world-class explorations or to repel alien invasions. Well, you never know what will happen tomorrow!
- a light rope for use as a tourniquet between the bite and the heart,
- a sterile surgical knife blade to make two cross-shaped incisions where the snake fangs bit your victim,
- a small vial of antiseptic (mercurochrome or iodine),
- a set of suction cups to suck venom from the wounds, and
- a set of printed instructions
When summer was over and high school started, I attended a health, sex and safety class. The teacher was a very nice looking lady. We learned about sexual procreation/birth control (totally verboten in today's Politically Correct World), Venereal Disease Prophylaxis (even more Politically Incorrect) and other topics that would get a teacher expelled from today's Halls of Academia. Other topics taught were pre-Heimlich maneuver resuscitation, "duck and cover" a-bomb protection, wound cleaning and bandaging, taking salt tablets to prevent dehydration (imagine that in today's low sodium world), how to use a compass and read a map, and other things germane to living in a desert. You have to remember that this was in the mid-1950's - a different time and world.
Growing up, I was a continuously bored student who paid little attention in class unless something new or interesting was being presented. One day, the teacher was demonstrating snakebite kits and their proper usage. She opened it and laid it on a desk so we could all inspect the various pieces. She held a suction cup in each hand and showed us how to use them by applying them to her forearm. She began moving her arms back and forth in front of her to demonstrate their appearance. A brief view of the suction cups passing in front of her nipples presented itself. A brilliant flash of light appeared and that instant in time imprinted itself indelibly on my brain forever. I now carry snakebite kits in my BDSM toy bag and the glove compartment of my car, "just in case".
It is kind of like shredding toilet paper and scattering it around your house to prevent elephants from stampeding across your lawn. No home has ever had herds of these mighty beasts on their yard if you have toilet paper confetti present.
North American Van Lines
My family had moved many times before and since our Palmdale transplantation. Each move would involve a period of pre-planning (to ensure proper clothing and supplies were available), the actual move (usually done by North American Van Lines), and then a post-move (to purchase any items, not on the moving van).
North American moved us so many times that we got to know the crews very well. "Uncle Chuck" became part of our extended family and we would request him each time we got our marching orders. If he had a load that passed nearby, he would stop by for a free meal, a shower and he would occasionally sleep on our sofa. If we were out for an afternoon drive and saw a North American truck, asking my father, "Is there something you would like to tell us," became a family joke.
Chuck ultimately became a VP for North American, but he would still help us move.