You Were: The Architect

July 20, 2010

It may come as a great relief to many of us to learn that even ordinary lives can always take a turn for the bizarre. Even if you live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Even if you’re eighty-six years old.

Until you were eighty-six, you led a wonderful life. You and your beloved husband of sixty-three years owned a farm. You had four children and sixteen grandchildren who all adored you. You baked award-winning apple pies and once grew the largest watermelon ever seen in New Hampshire.

Then, one afternoon, your life got unexpectedly interesting. You were weeding the strawberry patch when you happened to see a bright orb hovering above an old oak tree in your front yard. Some might have called it a UFO. Others might have considered it a message from God. Skeptics would have told you it was nothing more than an optical illusion.

Whatever it was, it seemed to say, “Start here.” Not in so many words, of course. It was just a feeling–an inspiration you couldn’t have described. You went straight to the barn and began to haul out every old piece wood you could find. Then you ransacked the shed for nails and tools. Around four o’clock in the afternoon, you started to build.

You had never made anything larger than a bird house (a bird house that had fallen apart two weeks after you’d built it). But now there seemed to be a blueprint stamped onto your brain, and your hands worked in ways you’d never imagined they could. Slowly a simple tree house, cradled in the branches of the old oak tree, began to take shape. Your husband and family marveled at your work. Neighborhood children would sneak over after dark to sit among the leaves.

Then, as the days passed, the structure became larger and more ornate. It sprouted fairy tale turrets and gingerbread balconies. Walkways led to houses that now grew on other front yard trees. New stories were added to the first house. A bathroom was installed, complete with a claw foot tub.

Soon news cameras showed up on the scene. Some of the reporters were struck dumb with amazement. A few seemed intent on portraying you as a batty old lady. The neighbors all swore you’d lost your mind. But you didn’t care what any of them thought. You’d always been headstrong. And your neighbors had always been jerks.

Then one day you stopped. The tree house was complete. There were five separate structures, each filled with modern amenities. (Countless companies had offered free appliances or furniture.) Walkways or rope ladders joined them all into a single village that sat a full fifteen feet above the ground.

For six months, your tree village was just a tourist attraction. Car loads of travelers would pull up in your driveway to gawk at you and your remarkable construction. If they kept their kids out of your flower patch and asked permission before they took pictures, you’d usually offer them lemonade.

When your eighty-seventh birthday rolled around, your entire family threw a party in your magical tree house. Just as you blew out the candles, a roar could be heard in the distance. The walls of the nearby dam had cracked, and water was rushing through the valley. You watched the family farm disappear under fifteen feet of water. The town a half a mile away, where all of your children lived, was destroyed within minutes.

When rescue helicopters flew over, it looked like your whole family was drifting along inside an enormous, well-equipped boat. You stayed long after the water was gone–until the old farm had been rebuilt.

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One Response to “You Were: The Architect”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PenguinTeen, Andrea Cremer. Andrea Cremer said: RT @PenguinTeen: Who Were You?: The Architect http://tinyurl.com/2vr7mfa #theeternalones […]


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