A child’s imagination can transform the humblest construction of pillows into a fortification to equal the Krak des Chevaliers. On the grounds of my old school, there was a shack in a state of advanced dilapidation which I decided was an old slave cottage. I knew there was absolutely no chance of this being factually accurate — it probably didn’t date from any earlier than the 1910s — but one could easily picture Aunt Jemima living an abject poverty within its slowly crumbling walls. The shack was in one of the more peaceful corners of the school grounds, and there was an old rope hammock nearby, to which I would occasionally repair for a brief nap after a lunch of particular vivacity.
Despite its advanced deterioration, I found it a charming little structure, and it always saddened me that every map and plan I shuffled through in the Headmaster’s Office featured the parenthetical “(to be demolished)” atop the building’s outline. Indeed, it may have been destroyed already.