Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dream House : : Anne McAllister

800px-Tree_house 1I’ve just been writing a flashback scene in my book which has to do with a tree house.  My hero and heroine – adversaries from childhood – have been, in a rare moment of collaboration, building a tree house. 

And I’ve been thinking back to my own childhood – of dreams of tree houses, lavish and rustic at the same time and real tree houses (not an easy fit in a eucalyptus tree, let me tell you!).  And my fingers have been itching to get out the pencils and paper and draw them all over again.

Tree house 2They were my original dream houses.  I wanted them high, where I would have a room with a view, and sturdy, though with just enough sway to let me know I wasn’t on the ground anymore.  I wanted them wind-proof and water-proof and with lots of bookshelves (a girl can’t look out the window all the time!). Besides, this was my dream.

A couple of my sons built a tree house in the woods not far from our home.  It was drafty and teetery and I had visions of them plunging out of it when the least breeze Tree_House_-3came up. But I managed to shut my mouth and not voice my concerns. It was ‘their’ dream house – and boys have to have dreams, too.

I remember going to Disneyland when I was young and, as I recall, there was a sort of Swiss Family Robinson tree house there.  Or may be I dreamed it. But it was everything I thought I would want in my dream tree house. 

When I was looking for images to illustrate this piece, I fTree house 4ound this one from the Disneyland at Hong Kong (or so it says). I didn’t even know there was a Disneyland at Hong Kong (I thought there was one in Japan).  It speaks to me, too. And I wouldn’t mind having it right on the edge of a river or lake like this one, either!

These images all resonate with me. Some are way more lavish than any kid could make. They are certainly more lavish than my hero and heroine are making.  They’re more lavish than I dared dream of as a child.

But they do two things – they prove to me that my dreams are shared by a lot of people, and that sometimes dreams can coincide with reality, even if in the instance of tree houses, mine didn’t.

They inspire me. They make remember childhood dreams and they make me dream still.

They also, honestly, make me want to go round up a few grandkids and watch Swiss Family Robinson again. 

Did you ever dream about making a fantastic tree house?  Did you make one?  Just how universal is my tree house dream house fantasy, anyway?


Attributions: Tree house 1: By ( [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tree house 2: By Grandy02 (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tree house 3: Stanley Howe [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tree house 4: By Dave Q from - CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


girlygirlhoosier52 said...

We never had the appropriate type of trees to build with. But I have seen some truely fantastic ones online...

Mary Kirkland said...

I never had a tree house when I was younger, we had a tire swing and a large wooden board nailed to some branches in our Avocado tree. It was kinda like a tree house...that we had to share with the bugs. So No, I wouldn't want a tree house...I don't like sharing my place with

Linda Henderson said...

I never had a tree house growing up but I always thought they would be cool. My youngest daughter when she was younger she went to Girl Scout camp one year and the campsites were in treehouses. She really enjoyed staying in a treehouse for a week.

Anne McAllister said...

Girlygirl -- I love looking at the ones I can find online. Feeds my dreams.

Mary, I totally understand not wanting to share your house with the bugs! Dream tree houses don't come with bugs. It's the joy of fantasy -- no bugs. But there are bugs in my heroine's tree house, too.

Linda -- Sounds like a great Girl Scout camp your daughter went to. Mine went to a Girl Scout horse camp several years in a row. She liked horses better than tree houses, but I think both would be great.

Pat Cochran said...

Never had a treehouse! My paternal
grandfather was a carpenter, but he
and my Dad were too busy building us
a house to live in to spend time on
treehouses! They also helped build my
maternal grandparents' house next door
to us. They did put swings up in all
the larger trees in both lots. At the
point where all this home building was
going on there were already four of us!

Liz Fielding said...

I not only yearned for a tree house as a child, Anne, but I've got one in my work in stasis, too. Something in the air, maybe. :)

Mary Preston said...

I love the movie SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON. I do recall a tree house from when I was very young. Obviously built for my older sisters. We moved before I got a chance to play in it.