Jessie looked around the yard. For a minute, she was concerned. Then she smiled. She saw something that Henry and Violet had not seen. “Watch this,” Jessie said to Violet. Jessie leaned over the porch rail. “Who wants chocolate chip cookies and lemonade?” she shouted. Henry, Jessie, and Violet soon saw two little white sneakers dangling from within the tree on Grandfather’s front lawn. “I do!” came a small voice from behind the leaves. “But I can’t get down!”
-The Boxcar Children; The Boardwalk Mystery, Gertrude Chandler Warner
Chocolate chip cookies and lemonade…. nothing takes me back to childhood faster. While looking through my collection of Boxcar Children books I remembered how much I loved mystery and how I would imagine myself living in an abandoned boxcar. And how I envied my cousins who did live in a railway car.
Thirty-five (plus) years ago my aunt and uncle lived their dream of life in a red wooden caboose. The ex-Canadian Pacific Railway car backed onto the side of a rolling hill on their tree farm in southwestern Ontario.
A house eventually was built around the caboose and when my cousins were born, the caboose became their bedroom. For a kid, and for the kid in all of us, it was the coolest thing ever–cubbies, built in bunks for cosy reading, and a cupola served as both lookout and a special place to play board games.
When the house was transformed into a castle (another dream made real), the caboose was moved next to the pond and became the ideal hideaway. How I wished we lived there! I guess collecting the books was the next best thing.