Confederates and Non-Confederates

Me, trying on caps at the JC Penny store:  Why are some of these blue, other ones grey?

Store Clerk ladyWhy the grey ones are Confederates.

Me:  Oh.  Okay, what are the blue ones.

Store Clerk lady, frowning:   Um.  Those are Non-Confederates. 

Back when Keith Kelt and I were struggling through grammar school in Portales, New Mexico, a movie briefly drained our bluejeans pockets. 

Suddenly every kid in town had to have a blue, or a grey cap with a shiny bill and crossed rifles at the front.  Half-dollar at the JC Penny store had us all scrambling.  Each of us tripped down to JC Penny the instant we could scrape together the gelt. 

At which time probably all of us discovered we didn’t know enough to be making the decisions as we took cap after cap out of the bin, trying them on.  Those of us who’d seen the movie weren’t educated enough to know much about it, aside from the fact it was bloody, violent, and exciting. 

All we knew was that every kid who was anyone was wearing one of those caps.

Not until I made a fool of myself in class several years later in Junior High did I learn that the US Civil War wasn’t fought between Confederates and Non-Confederates.

Old Jules

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4 responses to “Confederates and Non-Confederates

  1. You have quite the way with words. I enjoyed this.

  2. I remember the caps from when I was very young. They were a spin-of product of the teevee show, “The Rebel”. The lead character, Johnny Yuma was played by Nick Adams. Being a loyal seven-year-old yankee, I pestered dad into buying me a blue cap. Neighborhood civil war play was fought thereafter for awhile.

    • Hi swabby: In our town the fad arrived with Red Badge of Courage in 1951. That was several years before we had television reception in Portales. By the time Johnny Yuma came along my age group knew a lot more about the Civil War, Yankees and Rebels, etc, but we’d have been too old to wear the caps. Maybe the younger kids wore them when Johnny Yuma and television came along. Gracias, J

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