Voting Rating: 4 / 1 votes Vote:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moody and Me- No Ordinary TeePee

I opened the bedroom door to find that my three oldest grand children had taken the quilt and blanket off the bed and had it stretched out over the furniture. I said, "What in the WooRRRlllddd are you guys doing?" they answered, "We are building a fort Mama, come look". I get down on my hands and knees and peek through the small opening. They had all the pillows piled around, their army men and all of their 'weapons' laid out neat and tidy. The oldest one, Alison, says..."We can't get this side to stay closed"........ I smiled. "I'll be right back," I said. I went in the kitchen pulled out a drawer and grabbed a handful of clothes pins.... back to the bedroom and leaned down with a huge smile on my face and said... "I bet these would work"..........."AWESOME" they said, and nostalgia hit me hard......

1 Strong Clothes Line
+5 Quilts/Blankets (or 50 burlap sacks)
+100 Clothes Pins
= 1 Fine Tent

I am guessing that we, Moody and I, were about 11 or 12 years old. It was one of the many times that I was visiting with her for a week or so when we came up with the idea of how much fun it would be to 'camp out' in her back yard. You have to remember that this was back before the days of Walmart, Kmart, Target, TOYS R US etc. Back when life was simple, when kids made up their own games, and couldn't just run to a store and buy whatever they wanted....such as a tent. Back when parents never gave a second thought to letting their kids sleep outside on the ground in a home made tent. When kidnapping or child molestation was something you never heard of.

So Moody and I set out to build us a tent. My dear Aunt Bernice supplied us with everything necessary to put it together, even instructing us on how to lap the quilts over the clothesline and pin it together with clothespins. After a few times of it falling down on top of us, we finally perfected the construction of it and we could make it so tight that an ant could not have crawled in. We loved sleeping in our tent and for the next 5 years or so we spent very few 'summer' nights in her house. If we did, it was only because the weather wouldn't let us stay outside. We pretty much made that tent our summer home. It was the very first thing that we would do when I would get to her house. Grab the quilts, and build our tent.... The very last thing that we would do before I went home.....take the tent down and pile the quilts on the back porch.

I am thinking that my aunt might have got very tired of washing these quilts on a wringer washing machine and hanging them out on the clothesline to dry, just so that we could mess them up again in a week or so. Because this one summer she surprised us with the idea of making our own tent out of 'tow sacks'(burlap feed sacks). She took us out to the backyard and showed us how to unravel the chain stitch in order to lay the sacks out flat. We were given two very large darning needles, and a spool of twine thread..... I know that we had to have sewn at least 50 of these babies together.. the result was huge..and it took us all day to finish the project. But when we got done, we had ONE FINE TENT. We had all four walls and the floor in one big piece. We could just throw it over the clothesline and then clothespin up the sides.. A genius of an idea!! (I am quite sure that our Native ancestors would have been quite proud of us!!!) Now when it came time for me to go home, we would just fold the tent up, stuff it down into another tow sack, and hang it on a nail on the back porch... ready and waiting for the next visit.....

We would pile all of our possessions in our tent. Our purses, our barbie dolls, books, pillows, blankets even snack foods. Anything we thought we might need, would be in the tent with us. We would make cabinets and tables out of cardboard boxes... Yep, we had made ONE FINE TENT.

I can not begin to tell you how many times through the years I have reminisced over that tent. Attached to it are some of my most fondest childhood memories....It was our fort...our playhouse...our sanctuary...our summer home. The place where Moody and I would laugh and talk and stay up half of the night with only a flashlight, telling each other our deepest kept secrets. As I sit here writing this I can still smell the burlap sacks that enclosed us. The smell of the damp soybean field just 20 feet or so from where we lay. The grassy smell of the green carpet beneath us. A whiff of motor oil coming from my uncles garage...even the smell of the hogs down in the pasture back in the woods. I remember so distinctly laying there in the middle of the night smelling all of these smells mingled together.

I don't know if I ever told my dear aunt 'thank you' for putting up with me all of those summers as a kid. Don't know if I told her 'thank you' for helping us and showing us how to sew our tent. I hope that I did. I hope that she knew how much it all meant to me...

I can only pray that my grandchildren can make great memories together too, so that some day they too can look back and realize how bitter sweet it all was. Weather it be at their own houses or back yards or even if it is making a fort in Mama's bedroom floor........................Seems like only yesterday it was us... Moody and ME..........................................................

1 comment:

  1. What a fun memory. I used to love making forts, too.

    Sorry I'm just getting around to reading all of these.