Our Own Backyard

Growing up two things were stressed to me and my sister.

  1. Work hard.
  2. And always have a sense of Adventure.

My sister and I learned early on that we were far from wealthy, but we also learned that we were rich in imagination and creativity. We couldn’t go to the jungle to ride the elephants and play with tigers. And we sure couldn’t jet off to Europe each week to go hike across the Alps. But what we could do was imagine…. and dream

When I was around 6 years old, my Grandmother had a small one room house constructed in our backyard. It was the most perfect shade of white with bright orange shutters and a front porch. Inside there was a built in bookshelf and  windows we could open and shut, complete with homemade orange curtains. The majority of toys, dress-up clothes and fun stuff stayed inside. Each night we locked it up with the little key we kept on a special chain.

 

My sister Sarah and I hanging out in our special place. That’s me on the roof. The local newspaper came to take our picture because our small town had never had a playhouse like this. We were celebrities that summer.  

Oh the adventures we had in that house! It has been a spaceship, a beauty parlor, a grocery store, a library, a cave, a boat, and so many other things. Each and every time we walked into it, we walked into some adventurous kingdom.

Countless hours and days were passed in cold and hot weather, playing away. Here, within our own special place, we had complete freedom of our imaginations. We kept our most prized and cherished items locked away inside. We wrote stories, we drew pictures, we created music, we explored wild kingdoms. The world was limitless, and we were happy passengers along for the journey.

Our little house was the perfect backdrop for the most perfect childhood.

 

To find adventure, my sister and I learned we needed to go no further then our own backyard. Everything we needed was at our fingertips. We could jet off to Paris and visit the Eifel Tower, or we could write our own Broadway show and perform it for the neighbors. If we wanted to go to the beach, all we had to do was pretend, the yard before us was the ocean and our little white house was our hut.

As we got older, our relationship with our little house changed.  Our times out there were less frequent, but not finished. As an awkward teenager I found solace in spending time out in my little white house reading, listening to music, or writing in my journal. While the toys and dress up clothes no longer were used and brought out, the house still provided much for the imagination.

My freshman year of college I spent a great deal of time out in that house. I dreamed of being in a home of my own, entertaining friends, and being a real adult. When I was safe inside the walls of my little house I could dream and imagine about what- my future would be. I made plans, I crafted charts and agendas…. I dreamed.

Sadly, the time came for our little white house to come down. My sister and I were grown and gone. We had real jobs, and real responsibilities that now kept us away.  The roof no longer kept the rain and snow out, and the floor was beginning to dry rot. Bees, mice, rabbits, and other creatures made their nests inside.  No longer was it safe. On a gorgeous December day in 2010, it finally happened. Two men came and took down the most glorious piece of my childhood.

The Process of taking down my little white house. December 2010

That was a hard day for me and my sister. I couldn’t bring myself to watch. She being a wee bit braver then me, went and watched it come down.  The above picture is what she texted me that day. Our little house. The place where so many adventures took place was finally gone.  Funny now, almost 35 years later, I can remember the very smell of that little house. I remember the feel of the carpet that was on the porch. I can feel my feel on the linoleum covered floor.  I remember the sweat that poured down my face and back as I sat out there in 100 degree weather. I remember the giggles, the fights, and all the adventures my sister and our friends had.

I get a little misty eyed when I think about it…..but then I smile. We weren’t wealthy, but we sure were rich….. Rich in imagination and creativity. We didn’t need a lot of toys and fancy play equipment in order to have adventure…….

We just needed our little white house in our own backyard.

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