When I was young, my primary playmate was Gary Shillingford, the son of my parent’s friends who lived in Primos. We were the same age within a few days and often visited each other.
Like other boys in those days, we often played cowboys and bad guys, Indians being too difficult to imitate. The problem of our game was that we had no concept of a permanently debilitating wound. When shot, you were instantly dead. There was nothing else possible between life and death, except maybe a temporary state where you could “come to” and return the shot before passing on. This is exactly what we saw in the movies. The bad guy shot off of his horse did not scream in pain and drag himself off to a lifetime in a nursing home. He was dead, period. So when one of us was undeniably shot, that effectively ended the game.
Gary was the one who solved the problem with his invention of Gulpsty, a magical liquid that would bring anyone back to life, instantly and with full vigor, with just a small sip. It was not applied to the wound nor injected; it was strictly an oral medication, as its name suggests. We each carried a small imaginary bottle of it.
There was still one problem. If we were dead, how could we take the bottle out of our pocket, uncork it, and manage to drink the Gulpsty? Essentially, we ignored the problem, but looking back, the mere presence of Gulpsty must have conveyed enough life to accomplish this, although by very slow movements, slowly enough for the perpetrator to get away. This is how the game always went. Logic would say that the shooter should stay and fire again, this time being sure to confiscate any remaining Gulpsty. But, of course, the real purpose of Gulpsty was to continue the game, not to provide a logical outcome.
I am writing this in Orlando where the family has hastily gathered to arrange for the unexpected funeral of my wife’s sister, Miki. She got her RN at Philadelphia’s Presbyterian Hospital and began an active career in the navy where she retired as a captain. She once was responsible for the health of the midshipmen at Annapolis, served on the hospital ship Sanctuary during Vietnam, and was stationed at Guantanamo before the Iraq war. She moved around too often to marry, but retired to Orlando with many of her nursing friends where they all had an active and mutually supportive life together.
Why do we no longer have Gulpsty when we get older?
P.S. In the photo, Eddie Vetter’s sister, Wilma, is in front of Gary. Beside him is his sister, Thelma. Behind me is my sister, Barbara. (I love those old names!) It is her birthday party at our East Lansdowne house. The photo was enhanced and colorized with Photoshop Elements, as was our class photo at the top. Click on the party photo to enlarge it.