My playhouses from childhood | TheFencePost.com

My playhouses from childhood

Janis Lingenfelter
Plainview, Neb.

In the warmth of early spring, when rains began falling and lady frogs learned to sing in answer to the bull frogs singing, I made a playhouse in Grandpa’s empty corn crib which was located on Grandpa’s farm.

I chased away every mouse! I nailed tin lids over the holes. I filled tin cans with saw dust – to use for apples in my make-believe pies. I set clean glass bottles on the rafters, bottles filled with rose petals and colored stones, to beautify the place and to change the odor where the mouse had passed.

My chairs I made from empty nail kegs. They were strong but restless. They tipped over mighty easy. Empty apple crates became my cupboards and I filled them with my toy dishes, jars of water, and my red and white clay, that I had shaved from old bricks. I had a stack of squares of old cloth – cloth torn from old dresses and I used them as towels.

My table was an old cardboard box and I had a sugar sack of Grandma’s that I used for my table cloth. I cut flowers from crepe paper pasted to sticks and put them in an old bottle as a vase. This was my centerpiece on my table.

Grandpa painted a wooden box for me that I used as my stove. I placed an old iron skillet and a granite coffee pot on the back of the stove and set my mud pies on the front to dry. I spent many happy hours in my playhouse with my dolls and make-believe friends. I was an only child, so I could let my imagination run wild.

When lilacs and climbing roses burst into bloom, I moved my playhouse to the corner of Grandpa’s farmyard by the shrubs. I liked to lay on my make-believe bed and watch the birds and listen to them sing. Sometimes I dug roads or built stick bridges over little ditches. The ditches I dug by hand in the soil and would make dams with clay then fill them with water.

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In October when the dew turned to frost, my playhouse was not lost. I moved my playthings into Grandpa’s attic in his farm house. I would move the trunks and unused things aside to make room for my playhouse.

I liked to rock my dolly in an abandoned sewing rocker. I had to be careful, so I would not rock too hard as half of the rocker was missing. When I had my dolly fast asleep, I would color pictures in my coloring book … a favorite past time.

In winter I would watch out of the attic window at the snowflakes that came tumbling down. It seemed snowflakes took a lot of time to dance their way to the ground.

As I watch my grandchildren and great-grandchildren with their curious active minds, I remember my childhood playhouses. They sit in front of the TV playing computer games, eating pizza and drinking pops while talking through ways to improve the computer or to build a home in space or travel to the moon to escape the pressures of life on Earth. I am lucky … I am having the privilege of watching as rugged young dreams unfold, revealing new interest.