Adults often want to spend time away from children, but it is equally true that kids like to get away from grownups. They construct all sorts of structures to allow them to hide out for a while. Above is a simple fort made of sheets and chairs, hastily assembled by two kids playing detective.
My friend Skipper had a cloth teepee that he set up in his room to retreat into. I had a cloth that fit perfectly over a card table which was designed to make the covered table look like a little house with an opening to crawl in through. My siblings and I used couch cushions, chairs and blankets to make a space to hold four kids, a dog and two cats. The neighbor twins had a tree house, but we never were so lucky. I did carve out a space for myself under several fir trees among violas and buttercups and had little fairy tea parties there.
It turns out that the need for a sheltered space continues through our lives in different ways. In grade schools teachers have come up with various strategies for children who are feeling overwhelmed by emotion. Sometimes it is a corner with pillows, sometimes a special chair, sometimes just a desk away from the other kids. Unlike being sent to the corner as punishment, the child is offered a chance for a little break to settle down while still being with the class. As adults we too sometimes need to cool off. Instead of raging at one another, we take time outs for ourselves and go to a place similar to a blanket fort, perhaps the back yard or the car. I know mothers who have locked themselves in the bathroom to get their sanity restored.
I would love to hear about tree houses, forts, hideouts and caves that my readers once treasured. By the way did they have signs like “No Boys Allowed?”