Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Finally caught up on my Sunday reading and the article on cubby houses for kids brought a cartload of memories from years back. The article reflected on the way kids today don't play outside so no cubbyhouses they have built for themselves.

We didn't build one in our backyard. We simply buried Dad's Morris Minor up to the mudguards and turned the boys loose. It also doubled as the rabbit's hutch, he lived in and under the boot while the neighbourhood gang crammed in the front and back seats.

It was an education on how parents influence their child's behaviour. Bossy mother's kid was all, 'I'll do the driving and don't get anything not on that shopping list." The kid with the speedster father couldn't wait to grab the steering wheel and go vroom vroom and he didn't change when he did get his licence. He even brought his own horn to sound.

Their imagination ran riot and that old car became everything including a stagecoach when they harnessed three labradors to the front. They rigged up the garden hose on the roof and played submarines. Slingshots armed with rabbit pellets were shot at the cats when the car was on African Safari.

It never seemed to bother Harry Houdini, the rabbit, who lived up to his name and was always AWOL. Rabbit proof fences were not the Blight's forte. I know the kids did a lot more than this but I burned all my diaries when they started to read. Who knew the neighbours were going to turn into upwardly mobile yuppies and move away. The dirt I had in those little books...wow!

Back to cubbyhouses. It wasn't only in the backyard but in the house they used their imagination. I didn't care about neat and tidy like the rest of the Stepford Wives in the street so it was always kid central here. I don't know how many times I had to re-hang the curtains or nearly strangle myself in make-believe ship's rigging of bed sheets. I'd open the bedroom door and throw paper bags of food in then go away for a peaceful read.

It's nice to look back and think how much fun it was. Even when the budding architect removed the ceiling in the wardrobe to see what was above it. I thought the possums were loud but try four kids galloping over the roof. The good thing is local government has dropped the regulations about cubbyhouses and we no longer have to go through a permit situation.

When I get rich, my cubbyhouse will be a glass gazebo with wifi connection and a bar fridge full of Dom Perignon.


Andrew said...

WE too had a cubby house. My father built it up in a tree. He died six years ago and only now I am remembering how much more than the basics that he did for us kids. Nice post that stimulated some memories.

JahTeh said...

Thanks Andrew, I remember spending a lot of my childhood in a teatree hedge. The trick was not to get caught by the old lady who owned it. She'd sneak along with a broom and wallop the hell out of us.

Ron said...

Do you know how much that Morris would be worth today? :-)

(I'm getting older and/or blinder or those damn verification letters are getting harder to read!!!)

JahTeh said...

Would you believe it's still running as spare parts in another Morris. You're not going blind, sometimes I have to take off my glasses before I can understand the letters.