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High Explosives (youngsters:non fiction, 1011 words)
Author: Lou HillAdded: Mar 31 2002Views/Reads: 2967/1445Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Our continuing efforts to recreate the "big bang."


I used to like to blow up things.   Not with any particularly malicious
intent, I wasn't looking to do any damage to anyone or to his or her 
property.  I just liked explosions. 

Wendell Corron, my oldest friend, and I started hanging around together
when he was about 8 and I was 6.  One of the things that I remember 
about those early days of our friendship was a big metal structure 
located down in back of his house.   I soon learned that it was an old 
safe.  Many years before it had been used as a records vault when the 
Enosburg Town offices were at Enosburg Center. 

When the Town clerks office was moved from the Center to Enosburg Falls,
the safe was moved to a spot in a field in back of the Corron's house 
next to Tyler Branch.  It was used by the Town Highway Department as a 
secure place for the storage of dynamite. 	For years Wendell and I 
tried every imaginable way to break into that vault.  If we had ever 
been able to get into it, we had every intention of stealing some 

Fortunately for all concerned, we were never successful. Every time we
passed by that vault we tried the handles. Maybe, just maybe, someone 
had forgotten to lock 

I remember one day when we thought that fortune had smiled down on us. 
We were on our way through the field to the fishing and swimming hole 
that we called "Two Streams". As we passed the vault, we saw that one 
of the doors was ajar. We pulled both doors open and there in front of 
us were two heavy waxed cardboard boxes with the magic words printed on 
them---DYNAMITE. We pawed madly through the boxes.  Nothing!  Empty! 
Visions of blowing up something, anything, faded. Never again would we 
come that close to our goal. 

Wendell's grandfather, a veteran of the Spanish American war, lived near
the Corrons.  He still had the old government issue 45-70 rifle that he 
had carried in that campaign.  One winter day, when we were in our 
early teens, he made Wendell a present of the rifle.  Along with the 
rifle, he gave him half a dozen rounds of ammunition.  They were loaded 
with black powder and were probably issued to him along with the rifle. 
 The cartridges were huge and seemed like shells for a howitzer to 
Wendell and I who were used to the relatively tiny .22 cartridges that 
we normally fired. 

Naturally we couldn't wait to shoot the old rifle.   We hurried back to
the Corron's house and down back by their garage.  Wendell opened the 
breech, it was a rolling block, and loaded it with one of those monster 
shells.  The gun was massive, it must have weighed well over twelve 
pounds and been nearly five feet long.  In order to steady it, Wendell 
leaned the gun up against the corner of the garage. 

I peered over Wendell' shoulder, so anxious to see what was going on
that I was practically riding him pig-a-back. Wendell cocked the rifle 
and squeezed off a shot.  The resulting explosion and concussion shook 
the garage so much that all the snow on the roof cascaded down on top 
of us. 

Wendell's father, Fred, raced out of the house.  When he got outside, he
was met by the sight of a cloud of foul smelling  smoke and two 
laughing boys covered with snow. He quickly collared us, positive that 
we had finally succeeded in breaking into the vault and been able to 
get our hands on some dynamite. 

We were finally able to convince him that we hadn't set off a stick of
dynamite.  Then we caught what-for because we had fired the old gun 
without his having checked it and given us permission to shoot it. 

Since we couldn't steal dynamite, we decided to do the the next best
thing, manufacture our own explosives.  Somewhere one of us found the 
formula for mixing black powder.  For obvious reasons I won't reveal it 
here.  Suffice it to say that the ingredients were fairly easy for us 
to obtain. 

We also picked up the information that, to insure a good even mixture,
the ingredients should be mixed with water and then dried out.   We 

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