Looking Back to 1962-The Neighborhood Treehouse

In the treehouse, we plotted all sorts of pranks!

Being 9 year-old tomboys, both Teresa and hated dolls. I remember decapitating Barbie dolls and using them as hand-grenades and sending them to an early grave.  No more dolls for us, but a treehouse? That’s more like it!

Summer swelled with possibilities, and luckily our neighborhood pal Dennis had two treehouses on his property.  Our favorite one overlooked the ravine next to Carpenter Ave, and provided a wonderful hideout.

Dennis had a few white rats that we used to hoist up to the treehouse on ropes. Why we did this, I’ll never know.  I guess most kids experiment with animals when they’re young.  Hey, using a magnifying glass to burn ants seemed like a good at the time.

We’d turn the rats upside down and watch their worm-like tails spin and spin as they tried to right themselves in our hand. Hey, what rat wants to expose its genitals to huge beasts like us?

In the treehouse, we’d plot all sorts of things.  Should we swing from the cables and land in the puddles below? Why not heave dirt clods and see if we can hit the windows on a house across the gully? Will Dennis’ mother get mad at us for tracking mud onto her pristine carpets? And do we really have to go home?

Dennis also had a second treehouse near the garage. This was a much larger structure, and could easily accommodate a group of us from the neighborhood. We considered ourselves members of an elite club while we were in this structure, and we probably did things related to bloodletting or some sort of paranormal ritual.  I’m sure we recited chants and probably thought we could levitate the rats if we tried hard enough. Back then, I’m sure we thought we’d be bonded for life.

Sadly, kids grow up, and eventually go their separate ways. But those times in the treehouse represented an uncluttered period when we didn’t have to make too many decisions.  Parents protected you and made sure you were safe. Food magically appeared on the table. School and chores were your only responsibility.

Movies like “Stand By Me” always take me back to those un-troubled simple times. 

I sure miss those treehouse days.

How about you?

teresa mcgrath June 19, 2012 at 02:18 PM
great article mary....the treehouse by the gully was so small and had traditional lines...we'd climb up and enter thru the trap door...the rat had a parachute attached as he was tossed out of the treehouse....we were awful kids....forts were built in the gully, and we could view them from the treehouses....such fine memories...thx dennis and family for building them
Mary McGrath June 19, 2012 at 02:38 PM
I suspect most kids had a bit of a sadistic streak...But, it was all good fun.
Richard Niederberg June 20, 2012 at 02:05 PM
They were interesting-looking treehouses, acessable theough a gully, if I remember correctly, but the closest I got to a house on Pacoima Court was when I purchased a Winnabago motorhome, that had seen better days, parked in a driveway for $6,000.
Mary McGrath June 20, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Hi Richard, thanks for your post....Right, you could view the smaller treehouse from Carpenter Ave. right before the school. I wonder if it's still there? As Teresa mentioned, we entered through a trap door that was about the size of a large possum. Thank you Dennis Vitarelli for the wonderful memories...


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