Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Treehouse

 Hey, you are forgetting your favorite Lily!

 MMMMM fish flies!

The whir of a circular saw gave clue to the men working on a new home. Fields were rapidly closing in with the expansion of housing in my area. Our home was ten years old, but now everyone wanted to rush to the suburbs. This was of some advantage since we were carpenters also. In a tiny strip of trees we had placed the platform to begin making a treehouse. This was to become similar to what we had seen in Tarzan movies, perhaps even bigger. At the present we would start with an eight by twelve platform and work from there.

Taking a large coffee can in the baskets of our bikes we headed for the new house. We had made friends with the workers, sometimes running to get them a board and handing it up. They knew we wanted their scraps so pointed us to them and told us to help ourselves. We walked around the exterior grabbing nails that had been dropped and filling our coffee can. When we had what we wanted we always thanked them. In a few years I would get paid to clean up their sites from this friendship formed.

By the end of summer we had walls and a roof to cover our palace. It wasn’t quite what we originally pictured, but made us very proud. It was a daily plan to all meet there and work on it the entire summer. Breaks were taken to play baseball in a field, go for a swim and even look for an apple tree to enjoy. We would jump from the roof into a nearby tree thinking we were monkeys and see how far we could go without touching the ground. Hiding in the weeds and trying to sneak up on our friends often gave you a number of insect bites our mothers treated constantly. My Dad made me buy my own hammer since he kept losing his. Soon I purchased a saw that I still have, although very dull to use after so many years.

Additions began to slow the following year, we were happy to have what we had built and sometimes needed to repair. Soon we all got paper routes and other side jobs that pulled us away, but still visited our site. Younger siblings sometimes wanted to use it, but we chased them away. They could make their own forts in the grassy field. We still played in this set of trees, except when we could get enough for a baseball game, croquet, mock wars or kick the can. Bringing new friends to our castle sometimes was met with a snicker; they didn’t always see the beauty as we did. A first sweetheart cooled my jets a bit, calling it a bit immature.

In following years we lost track of our site. Siblings won and soon had the area, but they weren’t as talented as we had been and soon left it for other endeavors. I left home for college and came back in total dismay to see that the developers had bulldozed our line of trees and an old horse barn not far away. Houses filled the area that was once planted in corn and hayed every year. I started building on a crew unaware of what I was doing with the expansion. Money was good and it helped pay for my needs in an adult life. I forgot about the kids moving in and where they would play. I shared this story with many, unaware that they may have never ran through a cornfield, rolled down hills or built a fort or treehouse, and never would. We are part of a lost generation and children have found electronics to keep them busy. Obesity is soaring, where we could never get enough food to put on weight staying so active. One of the first things I shared with my children was building a treehouse and laugh when I drive past that tiny platform and think of all the great times they had playing in the great outdoors.


  1. Thank you, Steve, for sharing your tree house. They were magical places, along with the many forts in the fields and woods. What great times they were. You are right, children have electronics to keep them busy, not knowing what has been lost. Every child should grow up free to explore the world around them in nature.

  2. oh you are so right. that time of growing up is so lost. are there any trees and woods left for a kid to explore? we had a tree house too, built between three tall pines, living on the edge of the city surrounded by woods, fields and the bayou. all gone now. the old neighborhood is a shopping center.

    great pictures of the butterflies.

  3. Lovely photos Steve!! Love all the little wildlife and your doggie looking out the window..Ha!
    It is kind of sad that kids now days don't seem to know what it is to be able to play outdoors and use their imagination to build things like forts and tree houses. I remember when my brothers had a fort up in the hills, along with the neighbor boys. We girls were not allowed near it..ha!

  4. You've got some amazing pictures here, Steve. I'm in awe of your ability to catch the flying critters with such clarity. Your story brought back many memories of my own growing-up years. Our imaginations provided the best entertainment back then.

  5. I believe that we were the last of the truly free children. We made our own fun and it seemed that we had all the room in the world to do it.

  6. Thanks for the sweet reminder of childhood. Sadly, our 21-year-old son never knew the joys that we did ... sad to think our future grandchildren probably never will either.

  7. Beautiful story.

    I love the dog picture.

  8. The neighborhood I grew up in had a large wooded area and I can remember exploring and attempting to build a tree house with friends. All the trees are gone now and it's been turned into a large sub division. So very sad

  9. Ahhhhh, looks like Lily has gotten her Summer Cut! Tell her I said she looks lovely!
    It's SO pretty there!

  10. Oh... these photos are fabulous!
    And I agree... there is something so magical about a treehouse! Anything is possible from its heights!

  11. I love your new design, Steve.

    Now that summer's upon us... it's bikini time... and I feel a bit like that frog there in mine. :(


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