From the days of my youth I desired to have a tree house. My dad always said I would get one and there were many times I doubted him because well, kids aren’t all that patient and I was certainly no exception to this. My dad was true to his world though and we build a tree house at 136 Sincerely Road.
It was awesome. I could climb up through the trap door and stand on the first floor. There was even a little attic area where I could store things. I loved it. I loved the view of the woods that I had when I sat up in the pine scented room. I loved running circles up there around the tree trunk. I had even decided that the four walls would be painted after Griffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravelclaw and Slitherin. One wouldn’t have to know me long to discover my fascination with Harry Potter. I had already begun saving money for the paint.
Meanwhile, I had a mission. I was going to find all the different types of fungus in the woods and put it in the attic. I would pretend it was food. Don’t worry though. As a young child I learned the hard lesson that fungus is not for eating. I once popped a mushroom from the lawn into my mouth. It was a dose of ipecac and several moments of barfing later that I determined never to make that mistake again.
But back to my fungus collection that I was definitely not eating. I wandered that small area of woods for hours finding bugs and plants of all shapes and sizes. I had never seen anything like them in Utah. There was this plant called Skunk Cabbage. I know I have some oddities about me. One of which is that I actually do not mind odor of skunks. At all.
But again, back to the fungus. Skunk Cabbage is not a fungus
I gathered all the types I could find in my backyard and set them on the floor of the tree house.“Lara that’s gross,” my sister said upon seeing the huge pile in our shared tree house
“No it’s cool.” I assured her and she didn't touch them.
The next day I awoke with a strange rash on my arm. This must be a recurring theme in my life. For a few years earlier I had to miss school on account of a rash of blisters in my name on my arm. I hadn’t previously known that I was allergic to milkweed. I just thought they were nature’s quills. I wrote all over myself. I wrote my name on my arm. Come morning, I had blisters spelling out my name and blisters peppering my arms and face. I wish I had a picture of the blister name today.
But no, this new rash was not of blisters. My mom put cream on it just as any good nurse does. It didn’t go away though. Funny how doctors can guess at things so well.
“Have you been in the woods?” He asked me when my mother decided the rash was sufficiently strange and needed looked at by a professional.
“Any chance you were in contact with fungus?” He turned my arm to examine it more closely.
“Yes.” My mother had made a point of not telling him about the collection.
“I think you have found a relatively rare specimen because it’s now growing on your arm.” I admit it was cool.
My mom made me get rid of the fungus collection.