Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

King Of The Wild Backyard

Memories Dredged Up From Years Past

Man, you think of some weird shit while squatting on the can at 3 in the morning...

I can't even begin to recall the train of thought that led me back to Dallas, TX circa 1975. Somehow I got to thinking about the backyard on the house on Woodleigh Dr. and the amount of time I spent out there.

As backyards go, for a seven year old boy, it was pretty sweet. Here, let me show you:

1) An old 1950's era bomb shelter. If Dad left the key to the padlock where I could find it, you could open it up, raise the #$&%@# HEAVY lid off the hatch, and climb down a vertical metal ladder to a small antechamber, which led to a tubular shelter with double bunkbeds chained to the walls. It was dank, musty, ill-lit, and a wonderland for a small boy. If we'd stayed in that house, that SO would have been my teenage AngstLair.

2) Back Door & Kitchen Window

3) Climbing Tree. OK, many backyards have climbable trees, but this particular one held a seven year old boy most every day it wasn't pouring down rain. I got really good at using the fence to get up to the lower branches, then scooting up out of Mom's reach. I could even get up there with a glass of iced tea in one hand. Only fell out once, as I recall.

4) Fort Plywood. Dad built a fort for my sister & I out of probably 20 sheets of plywood, then decorated it with cans of Krylon spraypaint. I remember getting really pissed when I learned the next owners of the house tore it down and used the wood for a shed.

5) Outer Mongolia. Zero shade, and hotter than blazes. (That tree was MUCH smaller back then)

6) Shady Acres. Held a couple of large mimosa trees (messy!), and was almost always cool & pleasant. Mom & Dad had their yard furniture and a hammock back here.

But let us speak of tents, for that was the original (ahem) intent of the post.

My late-night woolgathering aboard the throne had actually led me to think about this old tent that was in that backyard.

All I could remember about it was that it was made of heavy canvas, had a Davy Crockett picture on one side, and was held up by some wretched arrangement of a really wobbly 4-way ridgepiece, wingnut clamps and rough wooden dowels. Oh, I also remembered that it was usually as hot as an oven inside, and smelled kind of funny...

Thanks to the Intertubes, if it ever existed, you can usually find a picture of it. And I did:

Dunno who the kid is. The top photo had a 1953 date, which would fit the Coonskin Cap Craze that swept the USA. The color photo, OTOH, had a writeup that attributed the tent to the Franklin Picture Frame Company in 1943.

Where's the tent now? Lost to time. Probably left out to rot, and eventually trashed. I'd bemoan the loss, but in truth, it was a really crappy tent...