The Last House That Dad Built

playhouse-being-built

Recently I was cleaning my guest room, which also serves as a shrine to some traveling memorabilia & childhood memories. I noticed a photo taken in DeSmet, South Dakota; the last house that Pa Ingalls built.

I thought about a time when people had to rely on their neighbors and natural resources to survive and protect their family. I wondered if people today would be so altruistic to help another need. Then, I remembered a house my dad built- and it didn’t cost a penny.

In 1979, my dad built a playhouse for my sister and me. It was truly built from the generosity of neighbors, family, and friends. The door, nails, most of the wood & roof shingles came from donations of what people had ‘extra’ in their garage or basement. Maybe it helped that my dad was a pack-rat, and always saved things because ‘you never know when you can use them again’.

The last house that dad built became a hang out for the neighborhood kids. Our mother always knew where we were, and who were our friends. It transitioned from a pretend school house, to walls lined with posters from Tiger Beat magazine. Later on, it became a shed for mom’s flower pots & gardening tools.

playhouse-finished

The little house is now gone, but the lessons learned will last a lifetime. Most people are kind, think twice before you throw something away, and the best memories are usually the ones that never cost a penny.

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