I related before where my dad and I gathered the materials for my treehouse. I want to refresh the story.
We tore down an old barn that stood on the other side of the alley that ran behind our house. It wasn’t much of a barn. In my recollection, it was twenty feet long and ten feet wide. The walls stood about ten feet tall. The east side was open to the weather.
Someone had built the old barn solid. It was stable enough that some neighborhood boys managed to get on top of it. That in itself would not have been a problem. What they did after they got there was.
As I remember hearing the story, there were three boys. One of them was the grandson of Mr. Crawford. The man who owned the barn. The boys tied a rope to the tree that had grown up next to the barn. They put a loop on the loose end. One of the boys was placing the noose around his neck. The others seemed to be encouraging the foolishness. That was when Mr. Crawford discover them.
Right then, Mr. Crawford decided the barn needed to come down.
When my dad heard that Mr. Crawford wanted the barn down, he volunteered us to do the demolition. The destruction of that barn supplied us with the building materials to build me the best tree house ever.
The demolition is vague in my memory. My dad may have enlisted an uncle to help.
I do remember the days of pulling nails from the old boards. Those that were not too rusty were straightened and thrown in a bucket to use in the new construction.
The builders had constructed the barn with 2x4s and 2x6s for the framework. They covered the sides with 1x12s. At the time we acquired the lumber, time had weathered it to a lovely gray. The native elm boards were solid and tough. More of that later.
Once we made the lumber nail free and straightened the last nail. We turned to construction.
On the south side of our yard was a substantial native elm. Sometime in the past, a solitary tree was chopped down. From that stump sprung five or six trunks. The trunks deviated from each other about two feet off the ground. Space was there where a person could sit or stand. About fifteen feet up, they had spread apart. At that height is where my dad and I began to build.
On the west side, the largest trunk did not lean out as much as the others. You couldn’t wrap your arms around it near its base. South of that large trunk, one leaned at an almost forty-five-degree angle. Between those two branches, dad nailed in the 2×6 that was destined to be the primary foundation.
To the east of the main branch stood two more. Dad placed the next support stretching from the foundation beam across to the Easternmost trunk. At the perfect height was a branch coming out of that trunk. This crook was where dad secured that support. Running north to south, We ran another 2×4 to the southeasternmost trunk. We nailed the last one into place on the southside between the East beam and the West beam.
With the foundation laid, we began to place the floor. We got a few of the 1x12s in place when mother called us in for supper.
It was Sunday evening, and the Wonderful World of Disney called. The treehouse could wait for the next day. As darkness fell, a thunderstorm moved through. It must not have been much of one. We slept through it without the thought of tornados.
I woke up early the next day. The treehouse was calling me. The storm had passed, and the day was beautiful. Even though it was a workday, dad walked out with me to look at what we had accomplished. In shock, my eyes widened. The treehouse was gone. In the place of our work was a pile of boards. The foundation beam had pulled loose from the large trunk, and everything had fallen. We would have to start over once we figured out what we had done wrong.