There are home movies of my siblings and I, along with some of the neighbor kids, from the summer that I was 11 when we built a "fort" along the fence on the other side of the wooded ravine behind our house. It was a pretty deep & steep ravine, too, so I don't know what we were thinking... probably not thinking at all!
There's a funny scene where it looks like a big sheet of plywood is walking (with help from Karen, though you can see only her hands and feet!). Michael and his friends were scraped up mightily after deciding to "ride" a piece of plywood down to the bottom of the ravine as if it were a sled... and it didn't quite work that way!
Our dad took the movies and let us raid the garage for lumber and tools*, but mainly he hid behind the Super-8 movie camera and left us to our own devices... and that was pretty great!
The mean old next-door neighbors complained about our fort and so it was rather short-lived.
Did you have a clubhouse as a kid? A playhouse? A fort? Everyone's built a fort, haven't they? With boxes, blankets, sheets, and the couch cushions! Right?
My husband built his first clubhouse when he was about 11!
Rusty's 1st Clubhouse - June 1959 - Sunset Beach, CA
And his second a few years later.
Rusty's 2nd Clubhouse... and Fireworks Stand!
Rusty's 2nd Clubhouse - Hanging Out.
Rusty's 2nd Clubhouse - Inside, with Chris.
And, as a kid, finally a third. It seems he's always building something... or planning to build something... a clubhouse, a house, models, remodeling, etc.
Rusty's 3rd Clubhouse - 1963 (and that's Rusty in the photos!)
Rusty's 3rd Clubhouse - 1994 (he's in the window) & 1995 (with the girls).
The first summer/autumn after we moved into our current house, Rusty rebuilt a huge stone retaining wall that accidentally fell over and down the hill when he jiggled it.
The second summer was earmarked for building a clubhouse for the girls!
A Playhouse for Our Girls! (1989)
Eventually, we wanted to build a garage and, with basically only one place it could go on our property, that little house was in the way. By then, our girls were older and not really using the playhouse anymore, so I thought we'd just tear it down and call it a happy memory... but, well, NO! That was not going to happen! Rusty insisted that the playhouse be moved... no small task... and we hired a sign company and their truck-mounted crane to lift it and lower it to its new location.
Model Clubhouse, 2013.
So, about 20 years ago Rusty had an idea to write a book about clubhouses. He collected a lot of information from a lot of sources... and filed it away. It was a very busy time in our lives! Always percolating, a different spin on that book bubbled to the top a couple of years ago. He wrote a proposal and sent it off to some publishers and there was interest!
Published by Storey Publishing, it's a real book!! I snapped a quick pic when the advance copy arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. A great fit in Storey's catalog, the official release date isn't for a few days yet, but Keep Out!: Build Your Own Backyard Clubhouse: A Step-by-Step Guide can be pre-ordered on Amazon (also for Kindle)!
Salt shaker for scale. Also furnishings! And secret escape hatch.
It's a great book, if I may say so. I'm so proud of my husband! Written for kids, 11 and up, it's 224 illustrated pages (most of the tech illustrations were also done by Rusty), meant to enable anyone to build their own outdoor shelter. It's as inspiring for grownups who haven't tried building before as it is for kids, and terrific for parents and kids to use on a joint project they can build together.
If you're interested in purchasing a signed copy, just let me know -- I think I can hook you up! The price is $18.95 (WI residents add 5% sales tax), plus $3.99 for shipping.
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Naturally, I snagged one for a blog give-away!! How could I not??
Do you have a clubhouse memory?
Share it! (Or just say "Hey.")
I'll draw a name at random on Sunday, March 24th, at 6:00 pm CST, from all comments on this post to receive a signed copy of KEEP OUT!!
-- this contest is closed --
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*Back when I thought every garage had a ready supply of lumber and tools!
In the interest of full disclosure, I participate in the Amazon Associates program and will receive a small percentage if you click through an Amazon link and make a purchase. (Thank you!)