1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

Kids in clubhouses create strange rituals.

Every kid needs some form of a clubhouse. Ours was located in a small grove of trees that grew behind our house, on Weaver’s field. It held a few crabapple and wild cherry trees, but consisted mostly of poison sumac. The only substantial tree was a maple at the very back. I named it Old Faithful and made it the centerpiece of our play area.

Kathy and Connie (neighbors across the road), David, and I were the main occupants, with occasional appearances by Mikey, DeeDee, Janie, and our cousins.

We created a perimeter-wall with broken branches to form a rough (very rough) fence. An opening in our wall had to be used to enter or leave. When anyone was caught stepping over our fence to get inside, they had to leave and enter correctly. Rules are rules, especially if they’re Mary’s Rules.

David found a few pieces of board and placed them across a crotch of branches in Old Faithful. Only one person could go up there at a time, because the boards weren’t nailed down and there wasn’t much room.

"No Mom, we didn't pee in Cinderella's pumpkin. We only pee on rocks."

“No Mom, we didn’t pee in Cinderella’s pumpkin. We only pee on rocks.”

We gave names to several other trees. We said Hail Marys and laid wild flowers at the Angel Tree. We threw stones at the Devil Tree, and if nature called, we peed on rocks at its base.

Fast forward: Peeing on rocks is another family trait. Thirty years later, my parents, brother, two younger sisters, and I were escorted by our children to a clump of trees in my parent’s backyard. Rocks had been arranged in a semi-circle for us to sit on while our children put on a presentation.

“I wonder who got Mr. Peabody?” asked Vanessa, at the show’s conclusion.

“What is Mr. Peabody?” we foolishly asked in unison.

Vanessa explained that when playing at the end of the yard, it was too inconvenient to stop and walk to the house to do number one. So they peed on Mr. Peabody, a large stone with a face drawn in black crayon.

We each got up and breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing a blank rock.

“Don’t worry, we thoughtfully turned Mr. Peabody face down,” said Vanessa.

We flipped our rocks over with our shoes.

My youngest sister, Paula, saw Mr. Peabody smiling up at her. Sorry, Paula, but I was glad it wasn’t me.

Lesson learned: Better to be a rock pee-er than a rock pooper.

Related post: Pandemonium Trail/Skinny Legs


Now it’s your turn: What kind of club house did you have?


© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. I grew up a townie in a rural area, and I prefer peeing outside when circumstances permit. People will give me a dumb look when, while visiting their place, I say, “I’ve got to piss.” I then go outside.

  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    You’ve got to be free. I think that’s why God invented bushes and trees (and appropriate rocks). We women are jealous of that freedom.

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