The Last Time I Stepped Out of The Magic Tree House
By Cassie Montgomery
My friend once told me that my parents put me down after holding me one day and then never picked me back up again (a really cheerful topic for 15 year olds, I know), and before I even had a chance to wrap my head around that existential dread-inducing thought, I couldn’t help but relate it to quite a few parts of my childhood: old baby blankets that now rest under my mother’s bed unused, rattles tucked away to prevent any more wear and tear, and books– so many books now collecting dust. I swear I must have read those little chapter books by the dozens every week when I was young, but none more so than Magic Tree House.
Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series filled our shelves at home. I preferred the history-blended-with-magic that permeated their pages over the kindergarten menace that was Junie B. Jones or the sweet fantasy that was the Rainbow Magic series. I felt like Jack and Annie’s third sibling, racing to complete missions from Morgan le Fey (though now understanding more of Arthurian legend, this seems like a fairly problematic choice), to perform Shakespeare at the original Globe Theater or cross the Delaware with George Washington. Eventually though, I put down a Magic Tree House book and never picked it back up again
It’s not like I knew it was happening. I didn’t just set down Magic Tree House #36: Blizzard of the Blue Moon one day and say “Goodbye my beloved… I will never see you again.” I don’t think I would have wanted to ever leave the tree house behind if I knew I wouldn’t return to its creaky wooden walls; I loved them that much. But I know now there had to be a day where little-me slid one skinny volume of Jack and Annie back onto the bookshelf and never went on another adventure with them. I graduated from trekking through time with Jack and Annie to roaming the halls of Hogwarts with Harry and rebelling against the Capitol with Katniss. My reading level grew, and my Magic Tree House collection was donated.
This wasn’t a bad breakup, though. I don’t yearn for a better time when I would read three in one day, or dream about ripping pages from the binding. I will always keep the memory of Jack and Annie dear to my heart– we just fell out of love. The Magic Tree House carries memories of my childhood I never want to forget: reading with my twin and picking a book for my grandparents to buy from the Barnes and Noble children’s section. I don’t think all breakups have to be bad– I think, as cliché as it sounds, growing apart from the things we used to love is a part of growing up.