Don’t cut my tree down, Dad! It’s not just my tree, it’s my tree!! It’s my tree. it’s my tree……….Dad?
Here’s a view of the original house from the back yard in 1949 and there are the sisters. Cute, huh? Margaret is the littler one. This is pretty much what the house looked like when Mom was days away from Margaret’s delivery, one chilly October day. While she and Magger were in the hospital, Dad was madly plugging the daylight in the siding. Insulation wasn’t a word yet. Some would say it’s a fixer-upper. It was the definitive tearer-downer, which they did, but not until 1961-1968. It took a while, but that’s another post.
The mound by the house on the viewer’s right is a cave of sorts. Dad built shelving for jelly and other jars’ storage. Spiders liked it in there too. In the winter, it resembled a hill for sledding and sliding.
Here we have the parents, May, 1950. Dad had been a hired hand when Mom announced she was pregnant with the third one. “Well, maybe it’s a boy.” Or, not. They were 42 and 43, no money, had a slanty old house, 3 little girls, aged 6,4, and 3 months. But look at them. They loved each other. The sun is shining, life is good. And life progressed.
The first big project was not only installing indoor faucets, but building a kitchen for said faucets and a utility room for … you know …. utilities–roll out that wringer washer on Monday, go outside and get that tin tub for the Saturday baths.
I disliked the outdoors in general because there were so many icky snakes around, mostly garter, bigger uglier ones lurked. But I disliked cleaning house more. So every chance I got to help Dad build stuff, there I was by his side, his little Carpenter Nurse. Like Radar O’Reilly, I anticipated his needs and ran for the proper tool, held things, took out slivers, and actually picked up some construction skills.
As the home improvements progressed, Dad built the breezeway extension to the utility room and kitchen that was built when I was in the buggy phase. My pear tree was in the way of his plans. No, Dad. Please don’t cut it down.
I wasn’t athletic. Active, yes. Skilled and competitive, no. I was consistently chosen last for any and all mandatory team sports. And the choosers groaned for good reason. I not only threw like a girl, I couldn’t run and I couldn’t catch squat.
So, being able to climb a tree, even that sissy pear tree, was a triumph. It was my alone place. I would hide in the leaves and watch the world. I would hang from my knees on that bent branch and watch the world upside down. It was my special place. Now it was in the way. In the way?
He did it. Plans were locked in. The wheels of progress ran over my pear tree.
Chop. I ran to my room. Chop chop. I was crying. Chop. Chop. I heard it fall and crash. Just a tree, they said. But….. it was my tree. My place to just be. Adjustments are hard when you have to make them all alone.
Then, without futher fanfare, just a little pouting, it was time to move on. I really appreciate having that picture, junk and all.