Code Name: Rattler / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a sheet of paper I recently unearthed that appears to show the formation of a childhood gang. I sharpened the picture as much as I could, but the pencil has faded a bit over the last 30 years.

Here are two assumptions I'm forced to make about this drawing.  I couldn't have been older than first grade, because Matt and Mike moved away after that year. I also must have been the architect of this document, because none of the boys would have attempted cursive, and my sister couldn't write yet. Also, there was a system set up on the right for attendance and dues, which had to be my brainchild. A few other thoughts:

There seems to have been some disagreement about how each kid would rank, since Mike is listed as "Pres. -- whatever" and Chad is listed as "V. Pres. -- whatever."  Then I'm listed as "3rd (?) Pres./Spy." Quite the power struggle.

Regardless of our titles, we evidently needed "spies" and "lookouts."  And code names. Of course! That's the best part. Rattler, Raven, Tike, C2, and Hawkeye. You can practically see the action figures.

I misspelled my own sister's name, and our plans never made it past "Septemper." Though it appears everyone was present for the first two meetings, which were . . . daily? What a commitment!

I clearly did not own a ruler.

I wish I knew how much our dues were, and what we planned to do with them once collected. Oh, and where we were all supposed to get money.

The sketches of the various neighborhood landmarks (with important notations about "food" and "supplies") do not correspond to the layout I recall from childhood. I think the small building is meant to be the shed in my backyard, which my dad built to house the snowblower and which we automatically assumed was our new base of operations.

This looks like a solid, if overly ambitious, start to a quasi-heroic organization . . . with an emphasis on organization. We had a hierarchy and were looking at least 22 days into the future. Most importantly, we had schematics.

I don't remember why we disbanded. Maybe the sandbox became a DMZ. Maybe we were disavowed by a shady government program after a failed mission that would haunt us all forever. Maybe our moms called us inside because He-Man was on.

We'll never know.