by Dennis Dalman
Linda Bilsky and four chums from her high-school years had a chance to play “chimps” for a weekend.
Well, that’s how their friends teased them, anyway.
The five women lived in a treehouse for three days and two nights.
Graduates of St. Cloud Tech High School in 1967, the five gals have been inseparable friends ever since. And every now and then, they enjoy having reunions – just the five of them, no one else. In years past, they had dinner at the Carlos Creek Winery north of Alexandria, they stayed at a cabin on a lake near Sauk Centre, they enjoyed a stay at a bed-and-breakfast in Osakis.
This summer, Bilsky decided, they were due for something different – really different. While reading a newspaper called “Senior Perspectives,” Bilsky came across an ad about renting a treehouse for a weekend. Bilksy’s eyes got wide, and she did a double take. Minutes later she was on the phone, finding out more about the intriguing ad.
She was sold on the idea. So were her friends. The group is, besides Linda (Studer) Bilsky of Sartell, Sandra (Stock Krebsbach) of St. Cloud; Laura (Traut) Marek of St. Cloud (originally from Sartell); Mary (Krebsbach) Morton of St. Cloud; and Margie (Studer) Stroeing of St. Cloud. Margie and Linda are cousins. Sandra Krebsbach is married to Mary’s brother.
As their weekend getaway approached, the five women became antsy with excitement, knowing it is a rare vacation, indeed, that takes place in a treehouse.
The treehouse was built near Wadena by Will and Peggy Line on their property. They used wood from their long-time sawmill business. Now in their 50s, the Lines built the treehouse years ago because it was always a dream of theirs to someday live among the treetops. Once it was built, the Lines lived in it for several years as a virtual home. However, when their daughter, who has Down’s syndrome, returned from a group home, she wanted to live in the family’s ground-level home on the premises, and so they all moved down from the trees and lived there instead. Later, with some reluctance, they decided to rent their treehouse for people who want an unusual getaway – like Bilsky and her friends.
After so much anticipation, the five women were agog with astonishment when they drove up and beheld the treehouse. It looked like some magical home in the middle of an enchanted forest, like something out of a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The house seemed to hover above a canopy of hardwood trees in a dense grove. A stairway with gnarled-driftwood banisters led up and up to a wide spacious deck and into the house.
Thanks to the treetops that literally hug the home, there was plenty of dappled shade and spangled sunlight playing upon the deck and the inside of the home. Welcome breezes tickled every nook and cranny of the structure.
Inside the carefully designed treehouse were a small living room, a bathroom, kitchenette and an upper bedroom level. The floors were wooden, with colorful throw rugs on them. Plenty of windows let the light flood in to the rooms under the metal roof. The house is surrounded by its second-story balcony, and on one side the balcony gets large enough to accommodate a cozy patio dining set, easy chairs and even a hot tub.
The view from the treehouse is dazzling, the women remarked. They could see a pasture, woods and a stream from their treetop hideaway.
“It was just beautiful,” Bilsky said. “We just fell in love with that place at first sight. It was so relaxing for all of us to be there. We were so impressed with how Will and Peggy Line put that place together.”
During their sojourn, the women played cards, enjoyed meals out on the dining area of the balcony and sat in the hot tub. They felt so far away from the world and its old worries.
“At night the stars were just beautiful,” Bilsky said. “It was also cool at night, with no bugs at all.”
They also had intriguing glimpses of night life from up in the treehouse. One night, they could clearly see a badger snooping around beneath the treehouse. The other night, a nearby farmer let his horses out for a run, and it was exhilarating, Bilsky said, to hear and see them at dusk dashing and thrashing freely through the woods. They had also heard the story about a mountain lion that was seen several times in the area, and all the women hoped it wasn’t a mountain lion fond of climbing treehouses to check on the guests therein.
The owners, the Lines, were just as thrilled. Later, Peggy said she could hear – from her nearby home – the five women laughing and having the time of their lives from the deck. She said she was so happy, knowing they were having such a good time, and she concluded once again what a good idea it was to rent out the treehouse – something she and her husband had at first been reluctant to do some years back.
Bilsky said she and her chums will never forget what fun it was to play “monkeys” for a weekend. It’s very likely they will someday live in the treetops once again.