February 25, 2013: The Girl Who Owned a City

I was in a gang once. Clarification: I was a gang leader once. Technically we had a militia with our own gang names and we marched around Remsen patrolling our turf.

The soundtrack to Les Miserables has been my Pandora favorite as of late. The song "Can you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men....we will not be slaves again?" has been resonating with me. Every time I hear this fight song, I want to join their militia and fight for the common man (would like a better result than my Les Mis comrades though).

But it wasn't this song of the French Revolution that inspired me to start a gang. A fictional fantasy had me mesmerized at age twelve. It was the allure of being carried away by the written word. Although I knew little beyond the corn fields surrounding my small hometown, books took me on many adventures that spurred my young imagination. The library was as common a hangout then as Game Stop is for the child of today. Our adventures came from bound books.

The particular book that inspired me for my girl gang was "The Girl Who Owned a City". The book was published in the mid-seventies. The plot of the story was around a virus that killed off everyone in the world over the age of twelve and left the kids to take over and fend for themselves. The book was basically a girl version of Lord of the Flies. And I loved it. I wanted to be the heroine leader, Lisa.

So I told my friends and they read the book too. As inspired as I, we formed our own militia, made up gang names, and built a fort in the park. We marched around town, role playing the various story lines in our loved book. We couldn't get enough.

I'm not quite sure what ended our brave militia. I suspect it was simply just turning thirteen and worrying more about gangs of boys than our gang of girls. We had moved on to books like "Go Ask Alice" and "Dear God, It's Me Margaret"; the ones we would hide under our desks from Sister Emogene.

I am going to take this little flashback to my gangsta years as a sign to crack open a new book. To be honest, I just don't get the allure of video games or those Angry Birds. Losing yourself in a book is so much more fun than losing yourself in a game. Personal preference I guess...


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