why it took 45 years to climb that hill
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Thread: why it took 45 years to climb that hill

  1. #1

    why it took 45 years to climb that hill

    The Leather man

    I canít recall just how old I was at the time, nine or maybe ten; it was when my family lived on South Main Street, in Chester, CT. Our house sat on a hill, right across the street from Bates knitting needle factory. My best friend at the time was a boy named Nealand but everyone called him Neal. We had many adventures in our small little world which mostly consisted of our own backyards, but we occasionally branched out just a little.
    There was a patch of woods, on a hill side of rocks, across the street from our small town green. The rock hillside resembled the ones found on the sides of the highway and was rumored to have many caves as well as some unique or bizarre inhabitance. These woods appeared to us as very dark and foreboding, but at the same time alluring. It was as if they were calling out to us in temptation just daring us to enter (come into my parlor said the spider to the fly). We fended off temptation for a very long time, which was easy to do; because of the stories we had heard concerning the previously mentioned inhabitance. One story in particular captured us and would not let us go, it nagged at us like poison ivy and the more you tried not to scratch it the harder it itched. It was the story of the Leatherman as told to us by the older kids on the school bus.

    The Leather man it was said; lived in a cave in those very same woods. He, according to the older kids on the bus, dressed all in leather, presumably taken from the animals he undoubtedly killed and consumed to stay alive. This fact was never mentioned, but I can hardly imagine a Hermit having a job and going to a grocery store for food or shopping at Hot leathers for his tramping around in the woods ensemble, none the less, since it was never mentioned in any story we had ever heard, it could be, he did just that. We as children believed the former and we also believed that being a Hermit, he probably did not like strangers poking around in his woods, especially two young trouble makers like Neal and myself. Surely if we were caught by this primitive individual some horrible fate would befall us.

    When it comes to common sense, I think that in young boys there is some kind of chemical production in the body that allows them to grow and build muscles, but at the same time shuts down the part of the brain that controls common sense. It might be testosterone, I do not know, but this could explain why Neal and I, despite the potential for almost certain death, decided to go into the woods to see if we could find the Leathermanís cave.

    I could not explain to you now, or even then, why we needed to see it, or what we would do once we found it. It was just something we needed to do, so one sunny Saturday morning we set off into the gloom of the trees, that was the Leathermanís backyard or perhaps his front yard, we didnít know, as far as we could tell, he didnít have a mail box to help us determine the difference. Just as well he did not; I can imagine what it would say LEATHERMAN Cave 37 Hermit lane Gloomy woods, CT.

    It was a long hard climb. The rocks were very steep and seemed to go on forever. The sun was bright in the sky. It filtered down onto the forest floor in dappled patches of light and shadows, giving an eerie feel with every step, as we made our ascent up the hill side.
    Finally, we had reached the top, and had seen no caves at all so far. As we looked out over the crest of the hill, there below us lay a valley. the walls leading down were studded with rocks, and yes, probably many caves too. Trees and sparse vegetation also worked their way down towards a much denser forest at the bottom. Our eyes scanned the hill sides and to our relief, there was no sign of the Leatherman, at least not yet anyway.

    There was no chance that two young explorers could possibly search an area that size, but that thought did not occur to us, as we started our descent. The sun was high in the sky and with fewer trees it seemed much less gloomy. Before long we came upon a deer run, of course, we had no idea it was a game trail. We were certain it was a trail made by the Leatherman, but It was well worn and easy to follow so we kept our guard up as we continued down the hill side stopping every so often to check out a promising cave.

    Most of the caves we looked at were empty and so we did not think they had been used by the Leatherman although we really did not know what sort of things he might have in his cave. We did not expect to find a Color TV, Couch or any other homey items but we did expect he would have some possessions around to show he lived there. The only note worthy thing we found was in a small cave tucked back into a crevasse; in fact we almost missed it because it was so well hidden. It was a small bundle of cloth all wrapped up and tied together with a vine. The cloth was very dirty and looked something like burlap. Neal and I started to un-wrap the cloth and as we did it mostly fell apart in our fingers. Inside we found a crystal about the size of a mason jar almost clear but with a bluish green hue. I knew it was a rock crystal because my father had a smaller one on his desk that he used as a paper weight. He had explained to me how they had been formed millions of years ago under tremendous heat and pressure. It did not seem to belong to anyone and it was kind of cool looking so we kept it and moved on.

    This is the story I wanted to write, but it is not what happened. The truth is that I was so afraid of what I might find in those woods that I never went and looked. We moved away several years later and I never went back. I donít know if Neil ever went up there, I just know I never did. Many years later as an adult I began writing, mostly short stories but all of them based on my experiences as a youth. I wanted to write the story of the Leatherman and began it with part of what you just read. I never finished the story because as I mentioned before I never actually went up that hill. Even more years passed by until I got a job that allowed me to travel around the state of CT. I would often pass the signs for Chester while driving to or from whatever destination I had that day. Last winter I got to thinking that I wanted to climb that hillside, just to see what was up there. I had no idea what might be there, I was pretty sure I wouldnít find the Leatherman, because as I learned from past research, he had died long before I was ever born. Still I felt it was something I needed and wanted to do. I decided to pick a day in the nice weather and plan a trip out that direction then detour out to Chester for an afternoon of possible adventure.

    I found the town and after some searching, I found our old house sitting proudly on the hillside across the street from the old factory building. I found the town green just above our old home and parked in the church parking lot. As I looked at the hillside I remembered as a child, it was still foreboding, just as I remembered it. I still didnít know what I would find up there, it might be that there were homes built up there, after all it was about 45 years ago that I lived there. I climbed up the hill, and as I suspected, the back yards from homes on two sides converged on the crest of the hill. I didnít go any further, not wanting to cause any concern for the residents. Were those houses there when I was 9 years old? I didnít know. Would I have found anything up there when I was a kid? I didnít know the answer to that either. I might have had an exciting adventure or I might have found nothing at all. The whole point of this story is that it took me 45 years give or take, to find out. So please take some time to read this story to your younger children if you have any, or even to your grand kids. Tell them how important it is to go on that adventure they have been thinking about. Do it safely, but goÖ donít wait until you are older like I did. You will never know what you might have found or might have seen or what adventure you might have missed, if you let Fear outweigh Curiosity.
    Keep your paws off my Carrots and my guns
    My rules to live by Never trust a squirrel, never french kiss an ardvark and never bring Jumbo hotdogs to a nudist colony barbcue.

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  3. #2
    Great story. I grew up in Wethersfield. I've lived in Maine for the past 21 years and moved dear ol' mom up here two years ago. CT is way too populated for me now.

    I just joined this forum today. Received my resident CCW permit in the mail this afternoon and wanted to tell somebody!

    Keep on writing!

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by robfrommaine View Post
    Great story. I grew up in Wethersfield. I've lived in Maine for the past 21 years and moved dear ol' mom up here two years ago. CT is way too populated for me now.

    I just joined this forum today. Received my resident CCW permit in the mail this afternoon and wanted to tell somebody!

    Keep on writing!
    Thanks for the note, glad to have you here at the forum, I'm a relative newbi here also. Take advantage of your right to carry, you never know when you will run into a rogue moose up there.
    Keep your paws off my Carrots and my guns
    My rules to live by Never trust a squirrel, never french kiss an ardvark and never bring Jumbo hotdogs to a nudist colony barbcue.

  5. #4
    Wild eyed Willy, I sat on my front porch watching my four year daughter Khloe riding her bike while reading youe story.It brought back memories of my children that I have long forgotten. Thank you for opening up my mind to my lost childhood my best friend is gone from this life and I haven't thought of him in a long time but you reminded me that he is and always will be with me.what a great feeling it is I can still see him standing by my side. Thanks again Wild Eyed Willy :)

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by trophyhunter View Post
    Wild eyed Willy, I sat on my front porch watching my four year daughter Khloe riding her bike while reading youe story.It brought back memories of my children that I have long forgotten. Thank you for opening up my mind to my lost childhood my best friend is gone from this life and I haven't thought of him in a long time but you reminded me that he is and always will be with me.what a great feeling it is I can still see him standing by my side. Thanks again Wild Eyed Willy :)
    Your most welcome. I hope your daughter enjoyed the story too.
    Keep your paws off my Carrots and my guns
    My rules to live by Never trust a squirrel, never french kiss an ardvark and never bring Jumbo hotdogs to a nudist colony barbcue.

  7. #6
    I read it to her after I replied and she wants too know where the leatherman is LOL thanks again

  8. #7
    He is probably in heaven, If I remember right he died in the 1800's.
    Keep your paws off my Carrots and my guns
    My rules to live by Never trust a squirrel, never french kiss an ardvark and never bring Jumbo hotdogs to a nudist colony barbcue.

  9. #8
    Anyone interested.. THE LEATHERMAN
    Keep your paws off my Carrots and my guns
    My rules to live by Never trust a squirrel, never french kiss an ardvark and never bring Jumbo hotdogs to a nudist colony barbcue.

  10. #9
    Join Date
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    Very, very good, wild eyed willy...it willbe nice to illustrate your picture-thoughts one day, perhaps go on a trip to photograph such thoughts you formed into a story. It has great potentials for a short movie presentation...one day when my sons give me a grandchild......or three, I will make sure I read this one to them. Thanks.
    "Don't let the door hit ya where the dawg shudda bit ya!"
    G'day and Glock
    GATEWAY SWIFT WING ST. LOUIS

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker's Mom View Post
    Very, very good, wild eyed willy...it willbe nice to illustrate your picture-thoughts one day, perhaps go on a trip to photograph such thoughts you formed into a story. It has great potentials for a short movie presentation...one day when my sons give me a grandchild......or three, I will make sure I read this one to them. Thanks.
    If you like story's, I have written many short ones, be glad to share some with you. or anyone else interested.
    Keep your paws off my Carrots and my guns
    My rules to live by Never trust a squirrel, never french kiss an ardvark and never bring Jumbo hotdogs to a nudist colony barbcue.

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