Tree houses

One of my favorite books when I was little was Miss Suzy by Miriam Young. I loved everything about this story and in looking at it again recently I was delighted by the cuteness, the adventurous nature of Miss Suzy, her kindness and industriousness, her bravery and capability — and her awesome tree house.

Image from Miss Suzy by Miriam Young

After my dad died, when I was four, my mom moved from Connecticut to Florida to be near her mother. We arrived via train to a fanfare of palm trees and a parade of heat. Like most single mothers, my mom was in for some hard times.

When my mom remarried five years later, and we moved over to a nicer side of town in Bradenton, Florida (we moved from East Bradenton to West Bradenton/Palma Sola — right near Anna Maria Island), my siblings and I suddenly had a well treed back yard and a beach right down the road.

One of the best things my older brother, Thom, did was to make a tree house for us in the largest pine tree in our back yard. This tree had branches that curved right down to the ground and as the tree height advanced so too did the level at which the branches jutted out. You could use the bottom-most branch as the first step to a stairway of branches that wound around the tree to the top where our tree house perched.

At the top there was a branch near the platform that stuck out past all of the other branches. Onto that branch Thom had secured a green garden hose which dangled down to about six feet above the ground. We would grab the hose, launch ourselves and fly-bounce down out of the tree. A bungee jumping kind of egress.

I loved to lay on the platform and feel the breeze stir and move the branches of the tree (which would sway the platform), smell the pine resin; watch the dappled shadows play.

Image from Miss Suzy by Miriam Young

Links of interest

In celebration of tree houses and summer, here is a link to:
Now That’s Nifty: Amazing and Awesome Tree Houses.
World tree house list and tree house designs from Tree House Guide
Origins of bungee jumping from

Miss Suzy Squirrel by Miriam Young available at

Product description from

Miss Suzy is a little gray squirrel who lives happily in her oak-tree home until she is chased away by some mean red squirrels. Poor Miss Suzy is very sad. But soon she finds a beautiful doll house and meets a band of brave toy soldiers.

How Miss Suzy and the soldiers help each other makes a gentle, old-fashioned tale that has captured the imaginations of girls and boys alike for forty years. Arnold Lobel’s enchanting pictures are sure to make the kind squirrel and the gallant soldiers the everlasting friends of all who turn these pages.

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