Magic Treehouses

Julia’s fascination with the Magic Tree House books has reminded me of treehouses I have known. Growing up, lots of my friends had tree houses that ranged, in later elementary school, from a wooden pallet temporarily nailed to some low pine-tree branches to, in early elementary school, an elaborate room permanently fixed high in a huge leafed tree. That latter tree house was practically archetypal: it had a door that actually closed, “windows” on all four sides, a roof, a ladder of boards nailed into the tree trunk, and even a “No Girls Allowed” sign. The sign was useless, since my friends’ sister climbed up there as much as we did.

All that, and the view was great. Tucked in a back corner of my friends’ yard, we commanded a panoramic view. In one direction, we could see down their driveway into their front yard and beyond it, the town’s elementary school, where my mom taught. In another direction, we could watch traffic buzz up and down on the side street. Opposite to that, we could look down both sides of a massive hedgerow that separated their yard from the neighbor’s. It was heaven – a sniper’s nest, a library, a castle, a spaceship…

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