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Sunday, April 28, 2013

SUMMERTIME AND PORCHES



Lancaster Porch


Porches of all kinds are the heart of summertime memories for many of us. Heading into the hot summer, comfortable porch chairs would be dragged out of hiding and placed facing the road. A few folks felt more comfortable sitting on porch stairs.

Porch mornings would be a quiet time for observing nature or listening to a neighbor child screaming as a hairbrush was pulled through their tangled hair. Afternoons were fine for reading a book, working a crossword puzzle or enjoying a good magazine.  Evenings were best just sitting and thinking or chatting with family and/or friends. 





Duncantown Porch 


My memory bank of porches is full  -- great-grandmother and four-leaf clovers -- laughs and heartbreaks --  my dad and dogs -- boyfriends and girlfriends -- my cousin and root-beer floats -- my kids and a raccoon and more. So full that in fact I could write a book just about my life with porches.

I bet you have some favorite memories . . .



46 comments:

  1. Given our weather, Barbara, we don't have that type of porch, ours are enclosed to keep out the wind and rain. However when we think of America we think of porches and white rocking chairs, especially since we spent some time in the 'deep south'. :0)

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    1. Did not know that about your porches. I hope you have lots of windows on your porches so you can enjoy the outdoors. thanks -- barbara

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  2. Both my grannys had great front porches -- with swings and pretty chairs -- I have great memories of both!!!!

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    1. Kay -- I think almost every granny porch had a swing. I imagine you spent lots of time swinging when it wasn't occupied by the older crowd. Porches are great social assets for a house. thanks -- barbara

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  3. The second house reminds me of the one I grew up in. Our porch was slightly larger and the door was off to the side a little more, but seeing this reminded me of the early morning hours I would spend in our little swing.
    Mary

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    1. mxtodis123 -- Something about a swing surely attracts children. Swinging on the porch is a lovely memory. thanks barbara

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  4. My porch filled with grandchildren singing and laughing, my parents' porch swing on lazy summer evenings on a quiet street in a small town...yes, lots of porch memories, Barbara. Thank you for reminding me of them.

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    1. Granny Sue -- your porch sounds like an absolutely fun place to be with all your grandchildren. I can see great memories forming in their minds as they sing and laugh on your porch. A swing on your parents porch is a great memory for you to remember. thanks -- barbara

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  5. This is too funny ~ just yesterday I started reminiscing about the various porches (or lack thereof) on all the homes I've ever lived in, and then got BW to do the same! The porch with my favorite memories was my grandparents' big wrap-around (on 3 sides) with a metal roof (perfect for sitting under when it rained) attached to their old Maine farmhouse. It was deep enough to hold several high-backed rocking chairs and even a picnic table, and since their farmhouse was on 200 acres and sat up on a hill, it had amazing, sweeping views of the surrounding countryside (trees, mostly, but still...) and it was so quiet... the squeak and bang of the wooden screen door, whipporwills calling at night, and the hum of mosquitos in the evening are the only sounds I really remember. I loved to sit out there...

    BW and I both agreed that we're very glad we chose a house plan with a covered front porch on it, and were sitting out there this evening, visiting with various neighbors and dog-walkers as they went by!

    I love the old porches you photographed - my dad always called gingerbread "a maintenance nightmare," and I'm sure it is, but it's so pretty! :-)

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    1. Laloofah -- Your grandparent's porch would be an ideal place to create memories with that fabulous wrap-around and tin roof. There is a house nearby that has a similar porch configuration with a tin roof -- I always drive slow, admiring it as I pass. Your whole visual and physical description of your grandparent's porch can be envisioned in my mind.

      I do think that porches invite friendships. Sitting out on a front porch is especially inviting to those that walk by. You made me realize that the art of walking is on the rise thanks to dog walkers.

      I wish I had a piece of that gingerbread in the top photo. Right now the house is empty and it is rumored that is might be razed. I played with the photo attempting to age it a bit as I also did to the bottom photo. thanks -- barbara

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    2. I hope you'll keep a close eye on that house, then - if they do indeed tear it down (a shame!), maybe you can snag and and recycle or repurpose that gingerbread!

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    3. Laloofah -- Yes, I plan too -- barbara

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  6. I feel like I could step into those pictures and my grandma would be waiting at the door, apron clad and giving out cookies.

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    1. Birdie -- Your grandma is the kind I liked to know -- cookies are wonderful, especially chocolate chip and peanut butter ones. Makes me hunger for them just writing these words. thanks -- barbaara

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  7. Sadly I have no porches in my memory. None of the houses that I grew up in had a porch. My house now has a very tiny one and hubby and I sometimes sit and watch birds on the metal bench that has replaced the wood pile that is there in the winter.

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    1. Tabor -- The porch I grew up with was not huge but it served as an outpost for children and adults to socialize -- sometimes folks spilled out over the grass when there wasn't enough room for all. Some folks call their porches stoops -- I associate them with eastern and midwestern cities. Although stoops were small they still served a valuable social aspect for the owners of the house. Nice that you have a deck which I believe can serve the same purpose as a porch in some respects. thanks -- barbara

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  8. Sitting on the porch as summer dusk fell -- after a long sunny day -- and waiting for the fireflies to begin to twinkle! Slightly less relaxed: morning, sitting on the porch with a dishpan full of just picked peas, shelling them. How sweet they smelled, and the occasional one popped into the mouth.

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    1. June -- Oh the fireflies -- of course. Soon they will be out here providing flicking points of light. I still sit outside for a while in the evening when the first of the fireflies appear. Yes, sit-down
      hand-work like shelling peas could be done so well on a porch. You even remember the fresh smell of the peas. thanks -- barbara

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  9. Indeed. We have a beautiful deck facing west under the oaks. It gets used but not nearly as much as the small porch facing east and the sunrise. There I read, watch the neighbors go by to work and a family of goats across the way going about their business. A special place to slow down and smell the roses....:)

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    1. troutbirder -- I think for many the modern day deck is experiencing some of the same uses as a porch. You have both deck and porch. You enjoy your porch for bringing on your day. Your deck for another use. Porches have a story to tell for sure about our country -- it is often where the flag is flown and sometimes banners are hung for certain occasions. Where, at one time, doors on front porches were festooned with black wreaths when someone died. thanks -- barbara

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  10. Chasing fireflies while the grownups talked on long humid summer evenings. Good memories.

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    1. claggle -- Oh yes, grownups could talk forever on those long humid summer evenings while the children ran back and forth catching fireflies. I remember similar evenings when I was young. Agree they are good memories. thanks -- barbara

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  11. There is nothing so wonderful as the front porch...especially if it has a wonderful bench swing attached to its rafters!

    Love the photos~

    Jan

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    1. Jan -- from the comments I have received I am realizing the importance a porch swing plays in some folk's memories. My grandfather has a porch swing but I don't remember swinging on it -- I probably did -- just don't have it stored in my memory bank. Porch swings are still popular today. thanks for the nice comment about the photos -- barbara

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  12. Memories aplenty. What better place to play on rainy days? Or sit in a rocker, or swing on the creaky porch swing.

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    1. NCmountainwoman -- yes, I remember my grandchildren playing on my front porch when it was raining. Rockers and/or a swing almost seem essential on covered front porches. My dog and I enjoy sitting on my porch and watching a nice spring rain come down. Smells so good. thanks -- barbara

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  13. I grew up in the Bay Area, which does not have real summers, so porches are not part of my childhood memories.
    What we have now is a deck, partly covered with a tarp, which has been the site of many a wonderful social occasion. We also have a lanai, but that is a work space. Most everyone has a lanai, which is a covered outdoor space, and these areas enhance our outdoor living no end.

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    1. Hattie -- A lanai -- I am not quite acquainted with this -- heard of it but not quite sure how they are used. Looked it up and Merriam Webster said it was a low slung Hawaiian open sided structure that catches breezes -- apparently made just special for outdoor living. Wonderful! thanks -- barbara

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  14. Where I grew up in Iowa some families moved their beds onto their screened in porch and slept there as it was the only cool place to be had in those times. I'd go sleep in the back seat of the old mans car. Better than the upstairs.

    The cool trim on porches as your pictures show is also what I pay attention to including the the two porch doors. The interior porch door is not always the main entrance. My favorite is the wrap around two sides with pillars and plenty of room.

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    1. One Fly -- I know what you mean about upstairs bedrooms in the heat of the night. I know of second story screened in porches on old houses in southern Ohio that folks called sleeping porches. Maybe they are the same as what you mention in Iowa. In the case of these two porches the doors you see in the photos are the main front doors. I also like the wrap around with pillars -- it seems to have such character. thanks for the comments -- appreciate it -- barbara

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  15. Hello, Barbara. Well, I would love to read a whole book of your porch memories (and a book of your photos & narrative!) Please, do keep sharing your sweet memories! You evoke here that wonderful peaceful quality of the front porch...I experienced it at an inn in Rockland, Maine last year, on their big wrap around porch...Something about them makes you just want to stay, to be fully in the moment. I didn't grow up with a porch, just cement steps where we played jacks & cards...Happy May Day, Rita

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    1. Rita -- I've never stayed at an inn but I have seen several old ones with a porch like you describe. The ones that I have seen overlooked Michigan lakes -- I can understand why folks would want to stay for long periods of time. Cement steps with a landing are considered a porch. I too played jacks and cards on my home porch. When children have a porch all to themselves they can be silly, loud and messy -- just what kids love to do -- thanks for your nice thoughts and a happy May Day to you -- barbara

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  16. PS I adore your photo of the quilts...As always, from an artistic point of view, the patterns, the textures & colors, but also the love & lives that went into those quilts...You have just brought tears to my eyes, remembering a quilt that my mother made...but that is another story...Thank you, Rita

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    1. Rita -- oh yes -- this is an old cupboard of my daughter's that she has filled with textiles. One of the best quilt books that I have read recently is titled, Communion of the Spirits by Roland L. Freeman. In this book Freeman captures the spirit of quilts made by African American women. Each woman had a personal story that she shared with Freeman. He presents these stories in a rich and diverse way. Highly recommend it. You are fortunate that your mother quilted. thanks -- barbara

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  17. Porches lend so much character to old homes.

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    1. Birdman -- I like to think that not only do old homes lend character but newer porches are social hubs for family and friends. thanks -- barbara

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  18. I love that you can take an image and tie it to beautiful thoughts, thank you for getting me to ponder my own porch memories... One in particular is of my Grandfather listening to the ball game on his transistor radio while he chirped to the birds.

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    1. Sublime Birdy -- What a fascinating memory of your grandfather. My father had a screened in porch and he too sat out on it and listened to the ball games. I wonder if people still listen often to ballgames on the radio? thanks -- barbara

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  19. My favorite sort of porch is the big wraparound porch of Victorian houses -- big enough for a courting couple round the corner at one end and a gang of eavesdropping siblings at the other...

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    1. Vicki -- Oh yes -- and what trouble those siblings could cause the courting couple! Victorian wrap-arounds are one of my favorite styles too along with the plain mini porches built on 40s houses. They all offered social opportunites for the household. thanks -- barbara

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  20. A bit of Americana for us Europeans :-) , but then every culture and every nation have their own versions of "the porch". For me it was sitting on the grass outside our summer cottage, reading and listening to pop-music on thee BBC long-wave band.

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    1. RuneE -- Your words ring true -- a porch can be defined by the culture in which you live. I find it interesting that there can be so many differences. Sometimes our porches overflow with folks requiring some to move to the grass where they do much of what you did at your summer cottage. Older folks taking a chair out on the grass while the young ones actually sitting on the grass. thanks -- barbara

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  21. I grew up in Florida and our house had a very small front porch -- but there was a screened porch in back and a patio. The house we built in the NC mountains has a great view, rocking chairs, a ceiling fan and is a popular sitting spot in nice weather,

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    1. Vicki -- the photo of your porch with its accessories (dogs included) is most inviting to those of us that like country. I can imagine an evening with family sitting and chatting on a cool summer evening watching the fireflies off in the pasture. thanks -- barbara -- FOLKWAYS - NOTEBOOK

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  22. I don't see how people can live without a big front porch. I was just about to go out and sit on mine. I have many memories of sitting on front porches - mainly my grandma's front porch. I'd sit with her and wait for the mailman, we'd swat flies when they landed on the banister and I'd sit there and wait for a ride to church.

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    1. Janet -- In so many parts of our country, it was common to have houses that came with large front porches up through about the end of the 30s. After that time porches diminished in size. Those old front porches sure did leave us with some good memories. thanks -- barbara -- FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK

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