09 May, 2013

The Playhouse

It's turning into a shed.

It's about time for it, anyway. It hasn't housed the imaginations and games of any of us four sisters in years. You could make an argument to keep it as a playhouse for the future generations that will certainly come to know this backyard well, but at the rate all of us are procreating it's somewhat less than practical.

There was talk of turning it into a cabana of sorts. The front wall would be knocked down. The grill would go there. It seemed like a good idea. Dan, the logical and unsentimental voice, suggested that we turn it into a shed for all the hundreds of various tools my dad has lying around. This idea resonated with all of us.

Yes, it was dad's.

My dad built it for us. I couldn't tell you what year. It feels like it has always been there. It's doorway always open to whatever uses we had in store for it on any particular day. The usual games were played: house, school, restaurant, office. We were Jills of all trades.

Neighbor kids would come play with us sometimes. When friends were over the playhouse was typically ditched in favor of the thrilling and deadly trampoline, but when it was just us sisters (however many at a time) the playhouse was usually full of noise.

It was a favorite place to be on my own - I was an avid reader and a quiet space was highly valued. One day I had it on my mind to make myself a reading nook. I lugged my bean bag chair and plopped it in a corner near the window where sunlight shone through. I made trip after trip carrying out my mom's collection of Nancy Drew books. She had easily 50 of the series; they were hard cover and had lived through her childhood.

I was so proud of myself as I sat down in my chair and started re-reading my favorite series. It got darker and without any electricity I abandoned my library for the night.

It rained.

That would've been fine if the playhouse was built to code. It wasn't. The rain came through the blue shutters and ruined a good portion of my mom's collection. I was pretty scared to tell her, but I did. She wasn't happy.

I don't think I would forget that even if she didn't remind every so often.
Library is one of the many names of that playhouse.

I'll never forget climbing onto it's roof from the bars of our swing set. Someone would throw the rope swing over. I would sit at the edge of the roof, put my feet on the wooden plank attached to the end of the rope, and push off. It was probably the most daredevil thing I ever did in my life. I would do it over and over, loving the rush.

I cleaned it out today. It has become a storehouse for odds and ends in it's recent years, and a safe house for spiders of every variety. I spared you before photos with the webs and creepy crawlers - you're welcome.

The shutters are gone and have been replaced with screens that have been sealed shut to keep out rodents. The walls have some holes. The floor was covered in leaves and dirt.

But once it was all cleaned out it felt just like the old playhouse. There were even some old scooters and a basketball still in there amongst the debris.

This place has so many memories and it was one of the greatest things my dad ever did for us. Now it gets to be his. A space for all his tools and ideas - his imagination and creativity gets to run wild in there now, too.

At least, that's what I hope it is for him.

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