Playing Naked Indian

Tales of Vashon

‘Where are you going with

My stepladder?! ‘ John’s mother yelled out the kitchen window..

He and his  friend Gene were passing by with an old stepladder they had ‘liberated’ from the root celler.

‘We need it for our new clubhouse’ , the boys responded.

‘What do you mean… new.. clubhouse?  What’s wrong with Playhouse that your grampa built?’

‘Well we can’t use it anymore.’

‘Why not? It’s got everything you need , and you boys put that stepladder back where you found it. Last time you two left it in the mud by the barn’

‘We can’t use the playhouse ‘cause it’s got… well it’s got … girls… and they won’t let us in…because we bring dirt and.. cooties.. ‘

john’s sisters and their friends had successfully staged a coup of occupation and so after replacing the ladder , John and Gene went off with whatever scrap they could find to build a ‘tree’ clubhouse… and strictly …’no girls allowed’ kind of tree house , not that any sensible girl would actually dare  venture into such a flimsy structure that the boys had constructed about ten feet up in an old cherry tree. Besides the ladder was half rotten  old rope with hacked off branches as crude footsteps which served to deter even the club members (both of them ) from using the ‘fort’.

The materials for our beach forts came in with the tide, with fresh pickings after every tide.  If the log was too big, we used a rope or two to drag it along the beach.  I yelled at Kit, our next door neighbor: “When you pass the rope under the log, tie it off with a timber hitch.”  Uncle Bruce had been teaching us Boy Scouts how to tie new knots such as a bowline on a bight or a timber hitch.   “Run the line under the log and loop it around itself and then wrap it around the line under the log, forming a slip knot that is easy to untie.”  When Kit had accomplished the knot, he threw the line over his shoulder and couldn’t move the log, until I added a second line to the log and we proceeded to drag the log along the beach at the head of Quartermaster harbor.

We had a big log just above the current tide line and proceeded to make a lean-to by dragging our new log to the front of the lean-to to support the 3 or 4 inch poles that would make up the roof.  There was a huge island of kelp that had broken loose and we used kelp fronds and sea weed to make the roof waterproof, which it seldom was.  Kit found the prow of an old rowboat sticking out of the sand and was able to prop up the bow with a driftwood post and Kit stayed dry when we didn’t.