My tree sat outside our house in the naval estate at the top of town. I cant remember what type of tree it was – back in early to mid 80’s I could tell you what K.I.T.T. stood for and how fast Airwolf could fly, but anything that didn’t involve action tv shows was beyond my remit. Still, that tree on the grass slope behind my house was one of my favourite things from that part of my childhood.
It had strong branches that began about a meter and a half up its trunk, so being one of the taller kids in the area meant I could climb it with a moderate struggle. The branches splayed out and upward so that once I’d climbed up to the first level there was a good place to sit inside the leafy cocoon it formed. Climbing still further up, the branches opened out at the top to form an area that could seat two in relative comfort, should one of my friends make it up into my tree with me.
I spent hours just sitting in my tree – watching the neighbourhood and listening to the sounds of the summer. Not that climbing the tree was a fair weather affair for me – I remember rolling a decent sized snow ball to help me climb my tree wearing heavy moon boots during the middle of winter.
All the kids in the area knew that the tree was my tree, and I became quite protective of it. I had a bit of a fight with the boy next door at one point because I was sure he’d climbed my tree while I’d been away visiting the grandparents. He probably hadn’t, since he was quite small, but he had managed it before, so paranoia set in. My best friend convinced me that the boy next door had indeed not climbed my tree, but that was only after I’d made the boy cry, and I felt bad about that. But in defence, it was my tree.
One morning, as I got ready for school, my mum urgently called me downstairs because a man who lived in the house behind my tree was up a step ladder, cutting the lowest branch with a saw. I was so upset I nearly cried, but as much as I wanted to run outside and topple him from his ladder, I’ve never been much for confrontations.