Southern Living turns 50 in February 2016, and to help us celebrate, I recently asked for your Southern Living stories. Did we ever publish one of your recipes? Did you ever use a Southern Living house plan? Did the magazine have a profound impact on you in some way? If so, we want to hear about it, and, starting now, we'll be opening up the SL Mail Bag and posting one of our favorite letters each week. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane through the eyes of our readers. To kick it off, here's a story of three boys and their cool fort from June 1968. Thank you, Cindy, for sending the letter and photo. ~ SE



I read in this month's issue that you are looking for stories about those who were featured in early editions of Southern Living Magazine. My husband, John McCachern, and his two brothers were featured in the June 1968 edition standing next to the Play Fort/Shed built by their dad, Carey McCachern, in their backyard in Winston-Salem, NC. They affectionately named the fort, LaSaJo—using the first two letters of each boy's name (Larry, Sam, and John). My mother-in-law (Mary Lib McCachern) still lives in the same house—although the fort is long gone. When the boys got older, they took the roof of the fort and moved it to their property at Lake Norman where they used it as covering for boat parking. So, they continued to get use from this project throughout the years. I have heard many stories of the fun they had playing on LaSaJo. It was a great play area for the boys, but their dad, an engineer at Western Electric, had an ulterior motive in building it because he needed a place to store tools.

I wonder if they would have even had a photo of the fort if not for the magazine. All three boys are still living—as is the friend who was pictured. My husband is the littlest one standing in the front. I've attached a copy of the article and another picture taken of the fort at the time. Recently, I put together a "Shutterfly" memory book about the family's home. I included a page-and-a half about the fort and the magazine feature. It brought back good memories for everyone.—Cindy McCachern, Edmond, OK


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