Saint John — Youth, as we well know, is fleeting. Childhood memories fade away into the foggy reminiscences of a jaded adult — but not all of them. In some cases, a small few remain.
Some such memories belong to Saint John native Daniel Creaser. After having his memory jogged by a recent CBC article on the remnants of the Fort Dufferin military site, the 26-year-old bank clerk’s mind became flooded with reminiscences of another fort. His own fort, built sometime in early 2002.
The name of said fort? Danny’s Super Awesome Blanket Fort, version two.
Daniel said that he and his friends had built the fort on a whim one night during a sleepover. It became an oasis of recreation for several weeks before his mother moved out, late one February night, taking him with her.
“After that I hardly ever went back to Dad’s place,” he said wistfully. “For a couple years, he mostly just took me to bars and bowling alleys during visitation until Mom said I couldn’t see him anymore.
“Hell, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the darn thing was still there.”
Daniel agreed to return to the site, accompanied by a Manatee reporter, to see if the fort did, in fact, remain. Sunday evening, he pulled into the driveway of his father’s west side home for the first time in “many years.” Visibly nervous, he knocked at the door.
After several minutes, Edward “Eddie” Creaser came to the door half-naked and seemingly intoxicated. The man recognized his son, if not immediately, then after some very light prodding. He invited the guests in.
Eddie seemed to have no memory of the fort, or hardly any other aspect of Daniel’s childhood. He even called him “Charlie” at one point. “I forgot there even was a basement in this place,” he said, scratching a greasy chin.
After some more awkward chatting, Eddie and Daniel, father and son, made their way down into the basement for the first time in more than 15 years. The room was pitch black and smelled of mould. Eddie tried the lightbulb, but it didn’t work, presumably having blown sometime during the Obama administration.
Through the shadows, a vague shape could be made out. Daniel swore under his breath. “Jesus, is that…”
It was. Although time had taken its toll on the structure, the the Super Awesome Blanket Fort, version two, still stood.
Many artifacts of the past remained…Archie digests, obsolete video game cartridges, old childhood drawings, VHS cassettes, all sitting in a pool of spilled popcorn and sticky soda stains.
The edifice itself, although erected just shortly after the turn of the century, remained remarkably intact. This was likely due to both its impeccable craftsmanship and the quality of the heavy blankets.
Amazingly, while the fort built by a team of 10-year-olds, a group not known for its ability to effectively carry out tasks, the final construction stayed impressively close to the original blueprint, which had been saved by Daniel’s mother.
A funny expression crossed Daniel’s face. He looked up at the Manatee reporter. “I dunno, man.” He said. “As a grown-up, this whole thing seems pretty stupid.”