May 17, 2011

The Pines

2012"The Pines" 50 years later.
I wrote the following story four years ago after passing by the old house where I grew up. I stopped by recently and visited with couple who bought the house from my parents around 1963. The photographs contained in this post were all taken 8/7/2012. 

Pines c.1962
By John R. Greenwood

Three years of honing your tree climbing skills will make you a true professional. It will also consume many bars of Lava soap. Anyone familiar with Lava has probably spent some time in a pine tree. The year is now 2008 as I drive by and check out the old house. It has had one paint job in the last fifty years and has had no major remodels. It appears just as it did back in 1960. The high I get driving by is unlike any drug. I return instantly to those “Wonder Years”. My refuge during those years was, “The Pines”. They survive today; a patch of sticky white pine nestled in the back corner of the old property where I grew up. “The Pines”, came complete with an assortment of logs trimmed perfectly for log fort construction. A seven-year-old pitch covered boy can build a lifetime of memories with a pile of pine logs. Then there was the scary old jail. Not a real jail but an abandoned pig pen overgrown and dark, a dungeon full of pine needles and fear, a true goldmine for a young boy with a thriving imagination. I would play alone for hours yet be surrounded by hundreds of cowboys and Indians. It might have been a day of fighting German soldiers or rescuing an injured pilot who crashed in the pine jungle. The true excitement came with climbing those pitch-coated pines. Oh, how mom must have hated those beautiful creations of nature. I would come in the house a black sticky mess, coated from head-to-toe, hair clumped and matted, torn pants and shredded white t-shirt, scabbed and bloody, exhilarated and happy, hungry and happy. A kid living life as it should be lived at seven years old. I was a tree climbing, fort building, running, jumping mass of energy that could go from dawn to dusk on a glass of Kool-Aid, a peanut butter sandwich and an imagination. Memories of “The Pines” warm your heart and calm your mind. I believe with all my heart that a grove of white pine could cure most childhood problems that exist today. If I close my eyes almost half-a-century later, I can place myself in the top of one of those swaying, sticky giants. You could see for what seemed like miles then and when I climb that tree in my mind today, I can see as far and as clear as I could in 1962. 

Remnants of the old pig pen are still visible

"My how you've grown!" 


  1. I think we are lucky to have lived when kids were allowed outside to play by themselves without constant adult supervision. You had your pines, I had my creeks and orchards, where adventure tales came to life. Thanks for this very evocative memory.

  2. love your blog,
    join poets rally please, we value talent and offer lots of encouragements.

  3. natural adventure is powerful =)

  4. Yes, and it hangs with you like a happy farm dog...