1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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Clubhouse Spies

Just because I didn’t want to be spied upon, didn’t mean I wanted spies to not want to spy upon me. The spies just had to be cute and not be my brother or cousin.

When Dad and Uncle Edward tore down an old farm house to make way for our new home, they bulldozed the boards into several huge piles on the far side of a cow pasture. Spring came and melted the snow, exposing prime clubhouse material.

Later view of farm and demolished clubhouse in the distance.

Later view of farm and demolished clubhouse in the distance, top-right.

Our future clubhouse location was atop a ridge, with a view of our house in the back, an excellent sledding hill in the front, and two cow ponds nearby. The vicinity was surrounded by cows, cow pies, and woodchuck holes.

The boards came supplied with rusty nails. David and I semi-straightened the nails with a flat rock and a hammer confiscated from Dad. I did most of the straightening and David did most of the construction. Several days of hard work produced two-sides of a haphazard frame.

A strong wind blew it down while we were at school. It’s also possible that a few cows hastened the destruction by pushing against the walls to scratch their backs.

Gary and Eddie (Deedee and Corky’s older brothers) were called upon to help Dad, David, and me with the rebuilding. After two days, our finished cabin had a doorway (no door), a window opening, a workbench, and best of all a stage. The workbench was David’s idea, the stage mine. A ladder inside let us climb through a hole in the ceiling and sit on the roof.

Gary and Eddie left, and Corky came the following weekend to help put finishing touches on our domain. Annie also spent the weekend, but wasn’t much of a carpenter.

I brought my dress-up clothes from the house for stage productions. Annie and I made the boys stay outside while we pulled the stage curtain shut and changed into Mom’s old gowns. After Annie and Corky went home, David let it slip that Corky and he peeked through the knotholes and cracks while Annie and I changed. I was horrified.

“Don’t worry,” he informed me. “You’re my sister, so I certainly wasn’t looking at you. And neither was Corky. You don’t have anything anyone would ever want to see anyway.”

Annie was the object of their spying because she wore a training bra. So did I, but mine was unnecessary and lay flat against my chest.

The news of my undesirability did not bring me pleasure. I never resorted to stuffing my bra, but I did occasionally store an extra tissue on each side purely due to a lack of room in my pocketbook.

Lesson learned: Hang a sheet over any open cracks before changing. And I’m talking about cracks between wall boards.

Now it’s your turn: Were you ever a spy or did you get spied upon?

© 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. grassroots08 says:

    I wasn’t exactly a spy, but it may have looked that way to anyone hearing this tale. I was selling magazine subscriptions door to door as a teen. My goal was to make money, since I got $3 for every order that was VERIFIED.

    Upon knocking on one door, a gal came dressed scantily (On purpose I think) and I was staring at both sides of her at the same time. I went numb for a bit, but continued my sales spiel in a daze. I tried not to stare, but it was honestly a hard thing to do. She bought a magazine, and I got what I wanted out of the deal too. $3 that is! What were you thinking?

    When I told the manager I worked for about this episode, he left immediately for her house to VERIFY the order, I presume! So in the end there probably was a peeping Tom, but I assure you it wasn’t me.

    LOL Cheers, Don

  2. You brought back those Secret Seven days for me Mary 🙂 But we never had a club house like you did. Instead we had to make do with the dusty tarpaulin.

    • grassroots08 says:

      I forgot the old abandoned barn that we used as a fort (You would say club house). This looked like a fort with walls and no roof. One winter all of neighboring kids decided to have a huge snow ball fight between two groups of kids. Outside were the really loud ones and inside were the rest of us quieter ones. :-}

      What they didn’t know was GOING TO HURT THEM. We took in bucket loads of snow the night before and made all of our snowballs ahead of time and placed them in a row along the windows. Hundreds of them were poised for action.

      When the enemy was at the gate, we all fired several volleys at them and within a short space of time they called it quits. We were tossing them 3 times faster than they could make them. LOL We won hands down and left when our moms called us for lunch. We vowed to return and fight another day!

      Cheers, Don

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Sumeetha, I’m sure your cabin was every bit as much fun. Most of the fun is in the building of the fort. A bit later I’ll be posting about our winter quarters when we couldn’t access our clubhouse. Kids are happy to have a secret place no matter how fancy. In my post ‘The Surprise’ my brother carved out a clearing inside a hedgerow.

  3. C. Suresh says:

    These reminiscences of yours are great reading, Mary! And THAT final line..:)

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    I don’t know if I was ever spied on. My brother, 3 years younger than me, could have, I guess. You see, we never were forced to spend much time together, living more like two ‘only’ children in the same house. If he ever did, the idea wasn’t conceived by him. It would have been one of his friends, Phillip, who would have come up with that. The kid was abnormally sneaky.

  5. spunkybong says:

    I never spied on anybody, Skinny. Not consciously, no. I was always so straight-laced, y’know. A younger cousin I used to play with, did. He was the one who told me girls were built differently. 🙂

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