Last week I took a little time off for my daughter’s high school graduation and spent a few days cleaning up the yard for her party. We have a little section off to the side where the playhouse she used when she was little still sits.
Now it’s used more to store my garden pots and tomato cages, but I don’t have the heart to take it down. As I cleared it out, I was reminiscent of the days when we first moved in here and she was in first grade. I let her paint the inside of it and she used to retreat there with her books. Like mother, like daughter.
So for this week’s Throwback Thursday writing prompt, I thought I’d choose childhood play spaces and hiding spots.
When I was young we had a playhouse in the backyard, although ours was more of a log cabin style. We’d hang curtains in the window and my sisters and I spent a lot of time playing in it.
When I wanted alone time though, I would retreat to a lilac bush on the side of the house. I had read the Little Women series and wanted a lilac bush escape like the March sisters, so that was an escape for me. Wasn’t quite the same though. There was no open space, but there was a gas meter behind it. So I’d grab my sit-upon that I’d made in Brownies and put it on top of the meter and hide out there every so often. It still wasn’t very comfortable, but I loved the smell of the lilacs and I pretended I was at Orchard House.
I also liked to hang out in a tree in the front yard. There was a branch over the sidewalk that was just the right height for me to climb up and sit on. I can remember my mom bringing my lunch out there to eat one time.
When we moved to a new house when I was in 7th grade, there was no outdoor playhouse, but the previous owners had built a darkroom in the garage. My mother painted it pink, and we called it the “Pink Palace.” It was tiny but had sturdy shelves that we put cushions on and used for seating. There were also smaller shelves for books, making it a perfect reading spot.
When winter drove us indoors, there were forts to be made. Sheets draped over chair backs or hung from the front of the top bunk made for cozy getaways.
So what childhood escapes did you have? A secret garden? A cozy closet? Let’s get those memories in writing!
About Juliana Smith
Juliana Szucs Smith has been working for Ancestry.com for more than 16 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.