Pat Shingleton: "Treehouses and Try-Outs..."
The Animal Planet broadcasted a series entitled “Treehouse Masters” and arboreal architect Pete Nelson’s expertise in showcasing these amazing structures. He’s incorporated his exploits in a book appropriately entitled, “Treehouse.” Todd Graves and family were showcased on this broadcast as was Shaquille O'Neal. Lutz’s Construction Co. had their shop and dump site adjacent to our neighborhood. The site provided scrap wood that was reused for projects such as soap box derbies and tree houses. Our tree houses included strips nailed to a tree providing a ”ladder” to the top. There were no “plans’ for the construction, just a handful of kids pounding nails into boards. The tree house test included a heavy shower and how much water stayed out. What wasn’t tested was the weight-wind scenario. Six kids jammed into a tree house was followed by cracking and crashing as the tree house turned into a ground house. Another seasonal story... Our Little League baseball seasons initially began with a “tryout.” Each kid with glove in hand warmed up by playing “catch” and also donning a sign, pinned to the back of their sweatshirt, that showcased a huge number. Some kids were grand-fathered into a team because an older brother played for a sponsoring organization. The league included: The Elks, The Moose, The Kiwanis, The Lions, The American Legion and The Rotary. Our brothers, Denis and Mike, always played for The Elks but Don Huffman wanted me and Kevin on The Rotary. All aspects of the game were practiced and a practice ending shower resulted in “sliding” practice. Hook slides, hand slides and leg tuck slides were practiced. Mom wasn’t very pleased with the muddied, grass stained “jeans,” that came in the back door.