A Boathouse – If these Walls Could Talk



I spent my life on the shore of a lake.

I had no floor, it would have been silly to put a floor in a boathouse.

I can best describe myself by having you imagine a shed, a car port, stuck out over the water and someone would park, dock or tie up a boat here.

I am certain boathouses are featured in one or two horror movies.there must r be movies that use boat houses, terror movies.

I am grey, damp and spooky on stormy days, at high tides and low. A sheltered dock, a covered bridge without an exit…

I housed an assortment of tools that stuck to pegs on my walls. I had nets and fishing poles, lengths of rope.

It was dark inside, cool, cold, extreme in comfort. My main purpose was to protect a boat from serious weather, provide a boundary for the boat and a storage place for the tools.

It was all business, with water, no one sat around inside me. People come to the boathouse to begin or end a day of activity, not to hang around and break out sack lunches.

Mostly. There are always exceptions and young people with raging hormones can be counted on to cause a ripple.

There was the girl who came out here with a guy. They climbed onto the boat and well, they did what kids do as they reach the age or hormonal chaos. They came down here regularly one summer.

The world was hardly ever quiet out here. Water always lapped at my insides and out, wind rushed under my eaves.

One day the water receded. The lake became smaller, and pulled away from me. I kept expecting someone to come out and move me toward the water again.

The boat I used to protect stayed anchored to the shore, the sun beat down on it. The wind tossed it.

The man who owned the boat still came. He removed the tools he had always used, leaving the extra ones till they were quite out of reach without the water to use as a floor.

One day the boat came up out of the shallow water and up onto a cart like thing with two wheels and out and away it went.

I was no longer useful.

People did come at intervals, again, young people smoking cigarettes and getting stoned. A beer party, someone built a camp fire under me and they had a keg of beer. Cops ran them off.

People still come. They don’t come all the way inside. Some of my supports have given in and I totter.

I have become a scene, a site, almost a memorial. People come and take pictures of me from many angles. Some photographers bring tripods and waitfor the sun to shine just right.

Most of the time, I just sit here. Unlike the outhouse, I have no spray paint. But, a while back someone did make off with two of my boards. I suppose that means I will live on.

For now, I’m not a useful thing. I’m a shell, a has been, forgotten by a lake that dried away.

The Boathouse

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.


  1. I remember a boathouse and one boat that was pulled up by the bank and left by the boathouse. My father went to return it to the boathouse and as he moved the boat, a nest of cotton mouth or water moccasin snakes went crazy. My father took one of his new oars and beat it to smitherines tryint to fight off the nasty snakes as they were on attack mode. It was a horrifying experience I will never forget. I do not like boathouses, they are dark and dank and scary to me now.

  2. Hi Jan!

    When I wrote this back in November, I was seeing one of those horror movies where the boathouse had a water floor. I didn’t know they could have wood.

    I learn new things every day!


  3. Nice writing! I wonder if everyone is lucky enough to have had a boathouse in their life? The boathouse belonged to my great uncle, but of course it was all of ours. There was a pump in the boathouse though I can not remember what it pumped. There was always the smell of the river, (Illinois) gasoline and engine oil. The boathouse was up on the beach a little away from the water with an always sandy wood floor. I remember life jackets lived in the pump house and a set of oars and of course a couple of engines. Thanks for the memories!

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