I grew up in a huge brick house that sat on thirty acres of land with an apple orchard, a big stand of lilac bushes and a row of ancient and enormous Oak trees. They presided over the property line between our yard and our neighbour's.
When I was twelve, my older brother was fourteen, and my younger brother was eleven. Between the two of them, they built a tree house in one of the oaks. It wasn't much more than a plank platform and several old brocade drapes that were strung up above all four sides of the platform. There were short boards nailed to the trunk that served as a ladder.
In the summers, all the kids from the farms along our road would congregate in our front yard. It had a small baseball diamond of sorts, and there were no cows or chickens wandering around on it like the other kids' places did.
Towards the fall, we would pick the apples from our mixed orchard. There were MacIintoshes, and Granny Smiths that we called transparents, and Russet apples that we called potato apples, because they were not perfectly round, and they were brown. They also ranged in firmness from hard to the consistency of rock. They were everybody's favourite weapons for the apple wars.
The neighbours on the farm right next door had three girls. At that time, the oldest was twelve, like me, then a ten year old, and an eight year old. The three girls and I liked to collect potato apples by the tin bucket full and haul them up to the tree house.
My two brothers always had a bunch of boys in the neighbourhood hanging around our yard. They ranged in age from about ten to fifteen. Anyway, all four of us girls would hide up in the tree house and rain down volleys of potato apples on the boys.
Of course the boys would throw them back at us. The old drapes were thick and heavily lined. They made wonderful walls, because when the apples hit them, they would just billow in, and the apples would fall down. I don't remember any of us girls being hit with an apple, at least not while we were in the tree-house.
There was this one day that autumn that ended the apple wars. I threw a good sized apple at one of the teen aged boys and hit him right between the eyes. It knocked him out! My oldest brother yelled up that I had killed him! I didn't really believe it, but I stupidly started to climb down to see for sure.
I got half way down, and the boys started throwing apples at me, so I climbed back up. I was only wearing shorts, so I ended up with a couple of huge bruises on the backs of my legs. The boy that I had knocked out ended up with a mild concussion. All of the parents forbade any more apple wars.