The Crick

It was the forbidden place. A small creek at the end of our unpaved alley.

Filled with all sorts of dangers, it was our second home. The parents might have known about it, and looked the other way.

There was a primitive tree house, a rope swing, a log bridge over the water. tree-house-rope-swing

There were also small snakes, frogs, biting insects of all kinds, and as we learned a bit too late, poison ivy.

All that aside, it was paradise, our everyday summer destination.

The pictures shown here are very similar, but not the real thing. It did not exist, so how could there be actual photos?

It was not gender-specific, it could never be. There were too many alpha females in the hood.

There were no passwords, no secret handshakes, no rules. If you and your friends got there first, it was yours, at least for an hour or so.

Somehow, we all survived to talk about it.log bridge

Years later, I would take my own kids there. The tree house was gone, but the rope swing remained. They too were mesmerized.

I suspect for most of that afternoon, they didn’t even think about the video games they’d left behind at the other end of the alley.

Kids and nature…the perfect combo. Some things never change.

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38 Responses to The Crick

  1. Kids and running water too! The crick sounds wonderful. We had a stream beside our house and it was a blast to dam up. Kept us busy for hours. I never considered how much my mother probably loved it.

    • We were definitely “free range” kids. I think about the parents who were recently arrested in suburban Maryland for letting their kids walk to the park alone. We have always had stranger danger issues, but I think we have gone overboard with the helicopter parenting. Thanks, Diana. ☺

  2. LaVagabonde says:

    What would childhood be without a fort? Yours is particularly interesting because it was shared amongst the neighborhood. How cool that your kids got to see real evidence of it. That never would have worked in my ‘hood. The dueling gangs each had their own fort, and it needed to be guarded against vandalism.

    • Hey there, Julie. We did share; there was a pecking order when bigger/older kids came around. But they tired more easily, and we just waited them out. Oh, so sad on the gangs. I guess we just had framework, and there wasn’t much to steal/vandalize. ☺

  3. Amy says:

    Oh my this post brings back so many wonderful memories of our tree house hidden in the woods by the creek behind our house. I wish that every child could have a place like that they could go to without all their gadgets :).

    • We lived in the woods near the Ashley River in So. Carolina. There were bike/walking trails and kids’ hideouts everywhere. We were the last family on the block to get Sega Genesis (new at the time, early 90’s). They never complained. ☺ Thanks, Amy

  4. Outside was the best part about childhood – love this post Van! ❤
    Diana xo

  5. Nurse Kelly says:

    Absolutely beautiful – I was there with you – I love your writing style, really. 🙂

  6. George says:

    I hope they never do change. Very nice

  7. Angie Mc says:

    How sweet, Van. I grew up urban and yet we found our cricks! Tadpoles, minnows, cool water on my the toes…nice ❤

  8. writerinsoul says:

    This is very sweet and clearly evokes people’s memories. We also played in the creek behind our house, but my family being what it was (not free-range kids! Not the girls anyway), we weren’t supposed to. However it *was* the best, especially hopping from rock to rock (and hopefully not into the water) and pretending we lived there.

    • Thanks, Colette. There is a college in PA. called Slippery Rock. We all know where it got its name. ☺

      • writerinsoul says:

        Oh! That’s one of those obvious-type names that I might not have taken as literal! (p.s. “Seeing” both you & Angie online tonight on this fine holiday weekend, I thought, “My ladies are out there.” Just thought it worth sharing.)

      • Yep. Nice relaxing day. Beautiful weather. A bit of yard work, took a nap, charred some mammal flesh, (sort of )watching a Sci Fi movie. The good life. ☺

  9. lbeth1950 says:

    Perfect. I was right there with you. We’d stay out till Mother blew the car horn for us to come home. Never got hurt or in trouble.

  10. Yecheilyah says:

    Reblogged this on Pearls Before Swine and commented:
    Short, sweet, and to the point. Love the message Van. 🙂

  11. Outlier Babe says:

    Los Angeles is so…I had to drive my kids almost an hour south to a park in Orange County and pay a token fee of a dollar for entrance into a (marvelous) park where they had free-range access to a pond with old tires, a board raft, a tree house complete with hanging ropes, and a limitless supply of scrap lumber, hammers, and nails with which to build up or tear apart said treehouse to their heart’s content.

    • “They paved paradise…and put up a parking lot ” Joni Mitchell ❤️ Sad that is not in our immediate surroundings for so many. But…better than nothing ??

      • Outlier Babe says:

        Ha! I KNEW I’d visited! Right in the middle of the day, per the timestamp. WTHeck…? But I’ve been doing my lupus coma right then lately, setting a timer to wake up for work (I work late). And napping AGAIN later. That’s my excuse, anyhow.

        Yes. It was better than nothing. They had our big back yard, too, but your own back yard is never the same as running wild in the outdoors somewhere else. I do give myself a huge pat on the back that I schlepped them all the time to what L.A. offers of the great outdoors–and the greenest places, not just the dried-up cr#p places. Plus got them involved in Scouting. Yay me.

        (You should see the lovely Mom’s and Christmas cards I get each year flowing with thanks for that and the rest. Oh–I don’t? They don’t even call? And they live locally? I must have been a TERRIBLE mom! Booo, me! 👿 )

      • Oh, no. There must be a story there, Babe. I’ll get to it, I’m sure. In the meantime…I’ll just click “Like”. Thanks for all your visits and comments. ☺ Van

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