Wednesday, July 11, 2012

playing house, part one

Like this, but slightly different colors. And slightly less creepy children.
When i was a kid, i was obsessed with building houses. (When i say "kid", i'm talking about ages 3-14ish). We had a playhouse that my grandparents bought us -- one of those plastic, PlaySkool types of things that came in about six big jigsaw pieces. A tornado in our yard ripped it apart one year, and even though we put it back together, we later decided that we liked it better in pieces. We frequently pulled it apart and rearranged the pieces into different configurations, especially once we got too big to comfortably fit in it. Plus, it was a favorite hangout for jumping spiders, and that shit is inappropriate. Spiders aren't bad enough, and now they have to jump? Really, God?!

We would place some pieces on their sides, arranging them in a rough rectangle, and imagining the walls and ceiling between the gaps. I seem to recall that we had each claimed one storage space in the house; it had cupboards or drawers or something in the "kitchen" that we used to hide our favorite stones and our collections of the colored glass we used as currency. My childhood was so Tom Sawyer-esque.

We lived in a very new development. We were pretty much the only house for miles for the first few years. Even once people started moving in, there were no houses in our immediate vicinity. They were all a few blocks away.

Each time a new house was built, the dirt from the foundation was dumped into a pile across the street from our house. Before long, the pile was over twenty feet high. It was our mountain, and my siblings and cousins and i played on it nearly every day. We mounted expeditions to the peak, we played hide-and-seek in the foothills, we searched for special rocks and sticks and flowers, we claimed different sections as our own property, we dared each other to leap from the summit, we sledded down the steep side and almost into the road. It was more than our house -- it was our country, and we worked the land together.

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