• Terry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Cardboard Tanks

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

Sometimes the simplest things bring the most reward.

As you can imagine, growing up in a single income family with five brothers, there wasn't a lot of spare money laying around. We learned to enjoy life by using our imaginations and re-purposing things around us, even before re-purposing was a thing. I have no regrets about my childhood, except that it eventually came to an end. It is funny though, while I was living it, I couldn't wait for the next stage, age, chapter. Now I wish I had taken more time to savor what I had at the time. I have to settle for savoring the memories I managed to store away. I recall....

Saturday was always an exciting day when we lived on Leicester Square on the air base in Winnipeg. With a big family, six boys, grocery purchases were always large.

We went through a lot of bread, so Mom and Dad would buy it by the case box every Saturday. Us kids didn't care about the logistics of the purchase but we cared a lot about the box the bread came in. Twenty loaves of bread required a box big enough to make a tank in a kid's imagination.

After the box was emptied, we would turn it on its side, have one or two of us get inside and, by crawling forward, move our 'tank' across the basement floor. Of course, whoever was not driving the tank had to throw themselves in front of it, to be run over. I can still hear the peals of laughter of both the drivers and the squished. I recall too, that sometimes that tank would just happen to run out of gas once it was on top of the squished. More laughter.

Such was the imagination of adolescent boys. No one had to entertain us, we did it for ourselves. Soon enough, the cardboard would come apart and we would use the pieces for sledding or building forts or some other activity, safe in the knowledge that next Saturday, another box would bring in the next bread shipment.

This is one of the reasons I loved my childhood. Now let me sit back and see if I can recall a few more....

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