Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Treehouse

When I was a kid, I always kind of wanted a treehouse. You see them on TV and stuff - always built by professional theatrical carpenters, of course - and they just look like the ultimate in cool. In reality, I doubt I'd have had much practical use for one - they seem like they'd be more fun when you have a bunch of friends hanging around and you can use the treehouse as your HQ for all sorts of hijinks, which wasn't the case for me. I made do with the woods out back, which was just as cool in its own way.

My cousins, on the other hand, had the real deal. My uncle - my mother's brother Larry - was a wood-worker and had built a true masterpiece around a large tree on one side of their house. It wasn't exactly what you think of as a treehouse - usually a box on stilts or somehow wedged up in the branches of a tree, but in some ways it was even cooler. This one was more like a tree-deck. It was a two story-swirl of wooden walkways and ladders twining around and between the large boles of a big tree.

It was perfect for running around and climbing up and down and giving chase or rallying the troops. Whenever there was a birthday party (which was most often when we visited), all the kids (which were 95% boys) would charge the tree-house like pirates boarding a rich merchant galley. Alliances would form and break. Rules of engagement would be proffered, accepted, and then violated when they became inconvenient. Battle would ebb and flow from the ship out to their woods, then back to the treehouse, now no longer a ship but a redoubtable fortress of timber palisade and stone battlements.

That was how we played. Sure, we had video consoles (my cousins' Atari 5200 was much nicer than our own beloved Atari 2600), comic books, television and the like, but as much as we liked them, we didn't need them. Sometimes I'm not sure kids still know how to have a good time without gadgets to feed them entertainment. No gadgets for us, but an elaborate tree-house sure didn't hurt.

1 comment:

  1. This article may have been more for Chris and Josh, but I must say it was for all us moms who remember what really great times these were. And, yes, there was "always" a birthday party or other festive gathering which would include a ton of little kids, mostly boys, charging the treehouse. You brought back some really nice memories.