Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Find

Today William and Tim went up with a hundred pounds of corn to feed the deer. We're thinking that this will be the last of the grain we have to buy. We have had a couple 40 degree days this week and next week we are slated for two 50+ degree days. The snow is melting off and the deer should be able to find food on their own again. 

After they fed the deer, grandpa had to do some measuring at the old house that we are using for storage there. It will always be interesting to me that people will simply walk out of a house and close the door and leave everything behind. People do though. The last two houses we have bought were left like that, chock a block full of stuff.

The core of the little house was built 150 years ago, but since then, the house has been added on to. An addition on the back, and then a second floor with two small bedrooms in the front. In the back there is an attic that runs the entire width of the house. 

Weeding through that stuff has been a slow process, mainly because it is dark in there. Also because there are snakes in the walls and I am terrified to be poking around and finding one (or more). It is about half done, but the finds have been pretty unremarkable really. 

In any case, Tim was up there today, doing some measuring, William at his side.  He pulled up a couple floor boards to look at the studs underneath to get an idea of how the place was built and much to his surprise he found this toy gun tucked away. 

Tim was quite excited to find it.
 It has a working bolt action. 
It even has a wooden shell chambered. 
He had never seen a toy quite like it before. 

William was also pretty excited. 

They declared work was done, and they came home with their treasure.

I looked it up and very quickly discovered what it was. 

William's rifle is the top one. 
The sling is long gone, and the front sight has been knocked off. 
It was made by the Parris Toy Company and dates between 1945 and 1950. 

The history of Parris Manufacturing Company is a very interesting one. At the start of World War II, when draftees by the thousands were being sent to the Army and Navy training camps, there were no rifles available for training purposes.

Parris Manufacturing Company, already an expert in woodworking, was asked by the Department of Defense to make dummy training rifles for new recruits to use until real rifles could be made available. More than 2 million of these training rifles were made for the Army and Navy and the Company earned the coveted Army-Navy “E” Award for its contribution to the war effort.

After the war was over, the company switched its production lines over to manufacturing toy rifles and pistols. These toy guns were made with the same skill and care that the company had used in making the Army and Navy training rifles. 

Grandpa and William worked together today refurbishing that old toy. They sanded the rust off the metal work together with fine steel wool. Grandpa gave William a tiny paint brush and some matte black. William is a funny boy, afraid to make a mistake. We really work hard with him when he is with us, teaching him that he is a capable child and that all mistakes can be fixed.  He reluctantly began the job. Grandpa stood back and waited.  William painstakingly repainted the metal parts black, gaining confidence as he worked. He did a very good job. After the paint dried,  his grandfather showed him how to restain the wood. He listened intently, worked carefully, and the end product was totally the work of his own two hands. 
He is very proud of how it turned out. 

"He's always going to remember this day," I told Tim. 
Tim smiled. 
"That's a very cool gun," he said. 
I smiled too. 
He knew damn well I wasn't talking about the gun. 


  1. William is a very lucky grandchild to have you as grandparents who will show him how things are done.

  2. I'm just imagining that the momma in that old house, said "no guns around here," and the daddy hid it for the kid. Teaching the little guy how to refurbish that toy will stick with him for life.
    My Dad taught me some restoration techniques, and we refurbished my Grandpa's old wheelbarrow, complete the the WPA (Works Progress Administration) stamp in the back of it. 20 years later, I refurbished it again. 17 years after that we replaced the rusting out wheel hub. My grown son uses it more than any great or grandpa ever did! Linda in Kansas

  3. Meant to click Drum Major on previous reply....Linda in Kansas

  4. What a lovely story and what a great find for William. Would the snakes be in the walls even in winter? My worst nightmare! Give me spiders any day.

  5. I have seen a lot of vacated houses full of stuff but never one that had anything of value.

    Times have changed. Gone are the days when I would let my child play with a realistic looking toy gun in the yard lest the police get called and decide to use force. For me, it would just be a show piece to hang on the wall.

  6. A great day for bonding, making memories and discovering new talents.

  7. That's ironic, Ed. William himself made the decision that he would not be taking it home. He was afraid that someone would think he had a real gun. He is leaving it here, where it will be hung over the fireplace in his room.

    Linda, that is an amazing story about the wheel barrow. What a thing to pass down! I wish that you had a blog, because I'd sure like to see pictures of it.

    Things have really changed, haven't they? When I was a kid, no one gave a second thought to guns. We played war, and shot each other dead multiple times and day and neither we or our parents found that alarming. Going back even further, my father once said that when he was a kid, he often took a gun to school with him so that he could hunt squirrels on the way home. The world is a far different place now.

  8. Sparkling Merlot: They'd be inactive and hibernating, but probably still there. This has been a real issue for me from day one.

    Ed, another thing. We do have a house where we found quite a bit of stuff with value. It was a hoarder's house. It had been owned by the parents, and inherited by the daughter. She married a man who was an alcoholic who survived her. They had no children. He remarried and died. The stepchildren of his second wife inherited everything. They hated him. That house was full of treasure. In the attic there was boxes and boxes of things that had belonged to the first residents of the house, including photographs from WW1. There was even a creepy Victorian death photo. The best thing is a stack of Fortune magazines from the 1930s. The old advertisements are amazing. E-mail me your address and I will send you one if you are interested.

  9. A day to be remembered for all of you I suspect.

  10. What a find for a kid! I would have loved that.

  11. A day for William and Grandpa working together...perfect

  12. What a great find! (as well as your find with the info about the toy maker)

    This might have been covered in the past, but are the snakes in that house venomous? It not, they may be helping out by keeping down the rodent population. You know I like a good snake. But, if they are venomous, I'm all for killing them.

  13. What an awesome story! And what a great find, too. He'll probably keep it forever -- and as you said, he'll always keep the memory!


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