In short, it was the way God intended boyhood to be in northern Michigan.
Then my father moved us down state. Down state is a horrible place. To be fair to dad, the small company he worked for went out of business and a job is a job. Still life is better in the northern half of the state.
The next house was situated in the city of hell. Not literally Hell, MI. Hell, MI is actually a fairly nice place. No we moved to a big city outside of Detroit. Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the economy sucked. Mortgage rates were 18%. We had to get a smaller house in a subdivision in town. They still own it. I hated that move, still do.
The one thing the house did have was LOTS of big trees. Willow trees are easy to climb, easy to build forts in, and great for making whips out of the branches. I built a tree fort, because that is what boys do. It was the crappy job that you'd expect a kid would do with scrap boards and the bent nails swiped out of the Folgers can in the garage. It was my fort. It was cool. Which is how it is supposed to be.
I expect that my hammering and other shenanigans didn't do the tree any good but in the end it was the infestation of carpenter ants that killed the tree. Well they didn't actually kill it. Dad made the decision to get rid of the willows out of the yard. He hated raking all those little leaves and branches. Keeping the carpenter ants form infesting our home was as good an excuse as any. There was a large area of woods and fields that were undeveloped between our subdivision and the interstate. Operations moved there. That location had the additional benefit that my little brother couldn't go because it was too far away.
Boys build forts. The best ones are tree forts. Is there any male, I won't call such a creature a man, that didn't have a fort as a boy? Apparently there is in Georgia. From the I can't believe it happened in the USA file:
11-year-old building tree fort says officer pulled gun on him, friends
HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A fifth-grader says he was terrified when a police officer pointed a gun at him and his friends while they built a tree fort.
Omari Grant, 11, said he and his friends often play in a wooded area behind his home and were building a fort when a neighbor in the next subdivision called police to complain about what the boys were doing.I believe the kids. I think some dumbass cop pulled a gun because some nosy neighbor woman called 911 to "save the environment" and "protect the children". Good thing the cop had a gun, the boy might have fallen out of a tree and broke his arm. It's much better that a so-called adult was ready to shoot him dead to prevent it.
The boys admit to cutting down some limbs to make their fort. I don't know how much damage was done to the trees. You know how you fix that? The person who owns the trees cuts a good sized branch from one of the downed limbs. This is what is known as a switch. Then you have the boys line up and bend over. Apply the switch to their behinds. Problem solved. No guns needed. If that is too drastic, put them in the back of the cop car and haul them home to their parents.
I don't care that the cops responded to a bunch of black kids building a fort. I don't care that its Georgia. Black boys should be able to build tree forts without getting shot. What is a 5th grader going to do, dis yo mamma? Better have your gun out, you never know, the kid might say something mean to you.