Chapter 30-B "The Tree Fort"
Dad borrowed his brother Bob’s flat-bed trailer and pick-up, and in two trips we had all that stuff from behind the church out at the property. The stuff of no use went to the land fill, but all the odds and ends of lumber went to the barn (along with two heavy “I” beams that lay for years along the outside north wall, but Dad knew he would need them for the house).
[I found these pictures a while back. That is me with Jimmy and some of his friends up in the unfinished tree house. You can't see the rope, but the little kid in front of me is holding it and about to swing sixty feet out and back. Then I'd catch the rope and switch kids.]
In hind sight, we should have used “treated” wood to build the platform since it would be exposed to the elements for many years, but that would have cost money, and ideally, a tree house doesn’t cost anything but time and work. Nothing takes the fun out of a Saturday whim faster than the step from "free" to unforeseen expense. Think of all the tree houses you’ve seen in real life or the movies [not ones made by adults ]. Their design and dimensions were probably determined by the materials at hand, held together with a sort of pragmatic charm.
Dad understood this, but at the same time, he wanted to make sure that the frame and platform of our tree fort were level and plumb and solid as a rock so it could serve as the launch pad for the rope swing he had in mind. It looked like a small house frame that held the floor ten feet in the air without any support posts from below. Near the trunk of the tree was a trap door for the wooden ladder from the barn,
The one thing none of us anticipated was that once the fun of the rope swing started, we lost interest in actually closing-in the tree fort or even putting a roof on it. The work of the real house began, and the tree house looked like the picture above as long as it remained in the tree. It was still there long after I was married, but by that time, it had been years since a ladder had breached the trap door. We never spent the night in it as Dave and I thought we would when we first got the idea at the Trinity Oak. It became a platform for the swing and that was enough fun to justify its presence through the years.