ELDENA – You won’t find an Xbox in 11-year-old Ethan Larson’s bedroom.
That’s not his style.
On one bedroom wall is a mural by Loreen Mead of Amboy, which he got as a birthday present last year. It depicts a Union soldier facing off against a Confederate, both holding their flags. The battle of Antietam takes place in the background.
A Lego depiction of the Revolutionary War sits near the mural. The Redcoats march as the Americans take aim from the brush.
On a big table is a model Ethan created of a Western settlement. It has a railroad, a silver mine, a bank, and a bar (complete with bartender and men guzzling drinks).
A few years back, the fifth-grader at Amboy Junior High School took a great interest in the Titanic, then moved on to the Revolutionary War.
These days, Ethan, the son of Kim and Mike Larson, focuses on the Civil War. His mom calls him “the man with the Civil War passion.”
Ethan ticks off casualty numbers and the attributes of various generals.
His favorite general is William Tecumseh Sherman, who, as Ethan puts it, “burned” his way through Georgia. He doesn’t much care for Gen. George McClellan, whom he said wasn’t the “smartest” of generals. (Abraham Lincoln, who ousted McClellan, most certainly would have agreed.)
In a class project, Ethan portrayed Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, while a friend took the role of Grant’s rival, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
“We argued who was better,” Ethan said.
While a reporter interviewed Ethan, his 8-year-old brother, Cole, was on the floor, playing with a toy, seemingly uninterested in the Civil War discussion.
Last year, the family visited the historic battle site of Gettysburg, Pa., where they watched a re-enactment on the battle’s 150th anniversary.
His mom, Kim, said the family felt it was important to take their son to a battle site.
“He got to walk around and talk with the re-enactors,” she said, adding with emphasis, “This is an 11-year-old boy.”
His parents said their son’s interest in history did not come from them.
“I love to see how interested he is,” she said. “It makes me feel wonderful as a mom.”
Will he stay interested?
Ethan seems to think so.
His mom is not so sure.
“Girls could come in the picture,” she said, “and he’ll forget about this.”