Steven Mark Revland

artist - musician - craftsman

award-winning designer

and furniture maker

[March 7, 2021]

simply revland: the fort

" . . . if it only had an escalator"

According to Webster, a fort is a place that’s made strong and secure. It can also be a fortress or a fortification.

But for a child, it can simply be a patchwork quilt held up by clothespins or a large cardboard box turned upside down. Simplicity, as a 7-year-old, seems like the most logical route toward a satisfactory outcome, unless you have a treasure trove of raw material beneath the front porch, and a blueprint leading toward a continuation of solitude and independence. In other words . . .

a clubhouse made for one.

I really had no intention of creating some sort of Taj Mahal, as this blog post might suggest. I had yet to develop any skills, or pretentious visions of grandeur, but I had a hammer, a hand saw, some used nails, and a plethora of 2 by 4’s, plywood, used siding, and some shingles, all waiting for me behind the magical mystery door. As long as I could slap up 4 walls, and a pitched roof, I was good to go, until my vision of a pot belly stove, complete with chimney, invaded my skull full of mush. Winter was approaching and, if I didn’t want to envision “hooky” as a seasonal sport, this source of heat was imperative.

Now, when I think of my parents, Cletis and Edna, I’m reminded of the long-running “Peanuts” comic strip series. Ageless children ― Charlie Brown, Linus, Pigpen, and Lucy ― somehow living in a world void of adult chaperones . . . no parents, no supervision. What a beautiful premise it is and was . . . as it was perfectly indicative of my life experience. How could they not reign me in? I mean . . . really . . . installing a crude furnace in a backyard fort as a 7-year-old? Seriously? Perhaps they knew something I wasn’t aware of. Perhaps they saw me as a special needs child, someone who potentially required additional skills of self-preservation.

How could he survive as an adult without a proper education?

I’m sure they were praying that my behavior was like a passing storm. That I would “grow” out of this enigma-laced space in time. Little did they know.

The Revland Clubhouse, in my mind anyway, was a huge success. I eventually allowed one member to join: my friend Beaver, who lived down the block.

He understood me . . . as he was also a bit nutty. One memory I had was he and I having a good laugh over the shack’s lack of an escalator, something he and I worshipped at the Fargo downtown Broadway Woolworth's store.

Photo Credit: NDSU Library

in closing . . .

. . . the clubhouse was a fortuitous prelude to each backyard project, and just a stepping stone toward developing the skill sets required for future success.  I had more plans.

Next weekend? A multilevel tree house.

Stay tuned.