Is there an adult equivalent to the tree fort or playhouse? As a child, the secret fort was a necessity. Some kids had SERIOUS, permanent forts; one kid in particular had a tree fort in his front yard with electricity and the rumor of a TV and dorm room fridge. Then there were the secret places that we went to by ourselves or with our best friend. At the end of S.W. 200th street there was a foot bridge. It crossed over the canal. When first built, we could jump off the bridge and swim. Now it looks like a caged entrance to a maximum security prison. Under the Hanlon’s side of the bridge was a decent crawl space. I spent many hours under that bridge with Barbie and Treva. When even younger, all the neighborhood kids played in the Nelson’s shed. Mind you, this was not a true shed. It was a “shed like space” built with an extra panel of woven redwood fence and a corrugated, green plastic roof. It was a makeshift storage space for the lawn mover and bikes, closed with a hinged piece of plywood and combination lock. We would empty out the shed and it became a fort. Also in the side yard, propped against the house, was a blue, aluminum, flat bottom john boat sans motor. It was a perfect secret spot. When all else failed, the redwood picnic table and benches was converted to a house with a large bedspread. We were young….and small. I remember sitting under that picnic table with three other kids. All these places had even more secretive nooks that could hold private treasures or contraband. In the row boat, I had a glass One-A-Day vitamin bottle with a mustard yellow plastic twist off top (long before child safety lids). I would stockpile kitchen matches stolen one at a time. I used them to lit the trunks of the melaluca trees on fire. When I ran out of matches, I resorted to a magnifying glass.
Why did we need these little secret spots? Why did we horde and tuck away trinkets and treasures? I spent alot of time in these spaces alone, daydreaming, reading or just plain nothing. With a friend, we would sit close against each other, whispering, giggling and hiding from whomever we imagined was out looking for us. As an adult, what is my current secret crawl space? Where do I go to giggle and daydream? Where is that tight confined place I want to share with my best friend? Where can I hide where I can hear everyone looking for me but know I will never be discovered….being so clever and sly? And where are those little secret spots I hide little treasures? Better yet, have I stopped collecting tiny delights that I can be tucked away and kept all to myself?
Where have all the secret hide outs gone? And if I found one, would I know the secret password?