“The tree fort”, was one I built in my parent’s back yard at age 11. We had a fairly large “Box Elder” tree next to the stone alley that had two white rocks on the curve that circled the back yard. My Dad placed the rocks there to prevent people from driving on our yard.
The tree was a perfect spot for me to be creative. I pounded railroad spikes all the way up the side of the tree as a way to climb up into the little trap door on the underside of the floor board which allowed me to gain access. The trap door opened on two hinges and it had a metal handle that I bought with paper route money (I’ll discuss paper routes later) that I skimmed from my profits. I figured that if I collected ahead I would have extra money which I did until it caught up with me.
My Mom was pretty keen on how much I should bring home each week but when it wasn’t there she’d insist that I explained the shortages to which I’d give a lame excuse ( I lied).
The tree fort had a white linoleum floor which was as cold as ice and slick in the winter as snow would blow in through the cracks of the walls. The fort had a hole in the roof which I boxed in and made into a look out tower. In the summer it was the fort where neighborhood kids played cowboys and Indians and cops and robbers. In time, the old tree had so many nails in it that it eventually fell over with a thud and died.