by Barb, enjoying a Maine summer
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Our theme for July is Hangouts & Hideaways. At the end of the month we’ll be celebrating two Wicked books that center on places where people gather. But before we get there, let’s go back in time. When you were a kid, did you have a special place where you would escape to when siblings and parents and friends got to be too much? Maybe a place you could stick your nose in a book? Indoors or outdoors, cozy or the wide-open spaces? Tell us all about it.
Edith/Maddie: Can I cheat and say it was the book that was the hideaway? As the third of four kids, I didn’t really have a place where nobody could find me – except in a story. I have such fond memories of sitting outside in a southern California summer under the peach tree with a homemade chocolate milkshake and a book. It might have been something by Jules Verne, something in the Borrowers series, a biography of Jane Addams, or one of the Mushroom Planet stories. It didn’t matter. I could hide away and be lost until someone brought me back to earth.
Liz: It was always books for me too – and usually in the summer I would find a quiet place somewhere in the yard where no one would bother me. When we got a pool, I did like to float around on the floating lounge chair with my book – that was awesome. It was a small above-ground pool so there wasn’t too far to float, but still!
Sherry: Oh, how I longed for a hideaway! A playhouse or tree house or secret passageway like the kids in my favorite books had. The two closest things we had were an old set of bunk beds in our basement where we hang a blanket from the top bed to cover the bottom. That ended when a student at the junior high where my father taught house burned down and my parents gave that family the beds. We also had a big box that something came in — maybe our ping-pong table — that we’d set up in the basement to use as a house.
Barb: We moved a few times when I was a child. Each house had its own hiding place. But the common thread throughout my childhood was trees. I was always up in one. Reading, watching, or just hanging out, I was happy above the earth, among the branches.
Julie: We had a playhouse and lots of woods when we were kids. That said, like Edith and Liz my escape hatch was always a book. My sisters used to make fun of me because they could talk about me in front of me, but if I was reading I didn’t hear them.
Readers: Tell us about your childhood hideaways.
I always was in the woods as a kid, we had fields in back of our house separated by rock walls and we’d use sticks and branches to make “forts” off the walls as hideaways. I loved to climb trees to hide away too and I remember I climbed an old pine tree so high once, I was scared to climb back down so my dad had to come rescue me!
My parents had a huge pine like that in their yard and somewhere I have a photo of all four of their kids in it.
There was a set of lilac bushes in the back yard that I could crawl into and sit in an opening and read. It was nice and cool and hidden from the rest of the world!
And smelled wonderful I’m guessing.
As the oldest, I frequently had to babysit, so no getaway. But when I could, there was a tree in cut-through to our local supermarket down by the railroad tracks. I liked to sit up there with a book.
There was the time I tried to hide in the attic, but my brother thought it would be funny to lock me in. I tore off the insulation trying to get someone’s attention and I never did that again.
Oh my goodness, Liz! That is a funny/terrible story!
It was fairly traumatizing at the time. Needless to say, I didn’t do that again. My mother couldn’t decide who to be angrier with: me for destroying the insulation or my brother for locking me in (and it was summer, too).
A book always figured in the hideaway. I grew up in a garden apartment that could have been designed by a lego engineer. Lots of ninety degree angle corners. The super decided to soften the look by planting large, flowering, bushes. You could find me under the bushes, pressed into the vee of the corner, book in hand. We also had a large weeping willow on the property that made an excellent reading room under the fronds.
My grandparents had a large weeping willow in their yard that I loved hiding under.
Living on a military base where it was restricted about what you had and where, there were no club houses or hiding places other than up in the big tree we use to climb. I remember it as a huge tree, but often wonder how bit it really was since I’ve always had this somewhat fear of heights.
I did have a secret place inside. My bed had a bookcase headboard and on the back side there were these little shelves under where the books went on top side. If I wanted to keep something a secret or hide it away just for me, I would get under the bed and crawl to the space between the wall and my bed and use that little shelf area to stash it. I’m sure Mom knew about it as thorough a housekeeper as she was, but I was sure no one knew about it but me.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
I love this story of a hiding place.
I had two places I would go. One was under the bushes in the backyard. I couldn’t be seen and the lilies of the valley planted all around smelled wonderful. The other was in the “attic” of the garage. I could climb up the studs in the wall and escape entirely. I could hear (and see between the floorboards) but couldn’t be seen or heard. Loved it. And, of course, a book was always along.
We had a garage like that at one of our houses. I loved it.
I had my own room, so there was that. I had bunk beds, and I always slept on the top bunk. So I could crawl up there if I needed to. But I wouldn’t say I had a place where I could truly hide. Except in a book, as is probably the case with just about everyone here.
Living in the city, there was no place to hangout during the summer, so I hid in my room with my book. Sometimes I went to the library and found a small corner and read there as well.
“Books” appears to be the common answer here. Not surprising.
Books are the best hiding place ever…you can travel to a new place, play with the characters, and get out of drying the evening dinner dishes. At least that is what I did growing up! At my grandparent’s farm there was a great hiding place (to my mind) where three trees grew close together and I could sit in the middle area and feel invisible.
I would hide in my closet and read.
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