PORCH RESPONSES!!

MEEThinks   October 2, 2015   4 Comments on PORCH RESPONSES!!

Between Facebook and the Blog, I’ve received some absolutely wonderful responses to my first message about PORCHES and creating a “porch feeling.” THANK YOU! We have some new words: PORCHLESSNESS and PORCHING, to go along with the “PORCH FEELING.” OH! And “VIRTUAL PORCHES.”  YES!  Thanks so MUCH for ALL you’ve shared! There will be many more Blog poses on porches, but I might be without internet for a few days, so ENJOY General Conference and check back on Wednesday, OK? OK!

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I got so many notes with memories of time on the porch. Sadly, most of them were from the past… from quite long ago. That IS sad. We need to get back to “porching.” It can be a front porch, a side porch (Fei thinks I wrote “a side of pork” and is sobbing)…. We can even do what my wonderful neighbors Ron and Shirley used to do (and I hope they’re continuing their tradition): Put chairs in the yard. I loved visiting neighbors and putting chairs in a circle. I’d take my guitar and some friends and we’d sing the old “camp songs” – the ones we mostly knew the words to.  And as I mentioned, even on my small front porch (I didn’t design the place…) I have a chair and love to sit out there and just THINK when there’s a delicious storm.

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Margaret lives in SW Virginia “where all my ancestors all gathered on their porches and shared stories with neighbors and family.” Great memories! Ann “blew me away” with her note (I’ll share part of it): “As a student at the U of U we actually researched and studied neighborhoods with and without porches. I the topic. My professor Dr. B. Brown is an expert on porches and what they bring to a neighborhood. You should google the topic. Look at older neighborhoods. People use them. The feel is just different than in newer neighborhoods where people get in and out of their houses from the car in the closed garage door. No chatting, no interactions with neighbors.” Fantastic! She said she should continue with her research and then she’d quote mee in her disseratation! HA HA  I guess one reason I miss “porch neighborhoods” is that in my growing-up years that’s what we had. And we actually had neighbors who would sit on the porch and call out to us (and we called ALL neighbors “Aunt” and “Uncle,” which was so nice!). Janet shared a picture of her “patio porch;” it’s beautiful! Trudy said Grandma Healey’s house in Alpine has many porches (front, side, AND back!!), and she includes many sweet memories of many porches. I think we should have a porch convention at Grandma H’s house. Lindy knows of a B&B with a great porch. Chad shared this: “When we built our home we chose a design that had a porch big enough for sitting. I have rocked babies to sleep on the front porch, read books, had family chats (we should do it much more often), held bishoping session with ward members, taken photos of first day of school send offs, and welcomed many friends and family members with hugs and smiles.” (He and I served missions in Indonesia at the same time; he was uber outstanding!)  He included a picture. (This isn’t it! He’s YOUNG!)

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Lorraine said that porches say a great deal about the folks that live in the house. True! It does make you feel more welcome and “comfy” as you get to the front door. James said that “One of my favorite memories is of my wife, cuddling a granddaughter, wrapped in a quilt, enjoying a rainstorm from our front porch. We love front porches.”  Dorann has neighbors who put lawn chairs in front of their open garage doors several evenings a week to watch children play (in their cul-de-sac), and typically others in the neighborhood will stop by. Dorann’s done it too and said it’s very nice. Great idea! Whit (one of my FB Gurus) shared that she and others feel air conditioning and other “conveniences” (maybe including a remote garage door opener?) have led to a decline in “porching.” She had neighbors who’d have a neighborhood BBQ… great idea. We had some neighborhood parties at our home in Mapleton and had neighbors share slides of their family and activities, and we showed them BIG on the side of our white barn! The whole back/side yard was a “porch!”  Jennifer and her husband just bought a home on a street she affectionately calls “Porch Street!” Hooray!

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Lynda said everyone needs to put their cell phones, iPods, notebooks, computers, etc. in a secluded soundproof place and sit on the porch, “look into each other’s eyes, and talk with their mouths, to each other.” Ah…. Sounds good. One shared that her son and friends, when they go out to eat, put their phones in the center of the table. If anyone reaches for his or her phone, they have to treat everyone else! There’s a little place a couple of blocks from me where a copse of Aspen has been planted. In the center there are 6 or 7 chairs and some lanterns. What a great idea for neighbors to gather!! A friend with a home in Park City has a little copse growing for the same “porchable” area.  Charmaine was reminded of Grandma Laurie on her front porch waving.  Many mentioned rocking babies in a swing on a porch, decorating for different seasons, and putting up fun “RULES.”

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Debbie wishes she could post pictures of the front porch of her youth (said she doesn’t know how, and I don’t know much yet either). Her Mom and Dad would sit and watch the kids play night games (oh does THAT bring back a slug of memories to mee!). She remembers stretching the long phone cord out there to talk to friends. And a final gathering after her Mother’s death, before the home was sold…. Tender. Ann suggested a kind of campaign slogan: “Porch Hearts United!” Sandra said she’s been thinking a lot about porches lately (we’re on the same wave length!), and she hopes to have one someday. Lindy has a backyard “porch” and puts up fairy lights “for ambiance in the evening.” FUN! She mentioned the Andy Griffith show, especially when they’d sit on the porch “chewing the fat” or playing a guitar and singing. Sweet! Jill’s the one who came up with the great word “porchlessness.” She’s going to start a Porch Fund. Beth grew up in Vermont “and when I moved West, a porch was a must.”  Kathy shared wonderful memories… playing, talking, singing, telling stories, shelling peas on her Grandmother’s porch. And she continues to sit on porches!… watching the neighbors’ cows from a back porch, seeing crops being planted and growing, etc. Irene feels we’re losing the art of just talking and interacting with each other.

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I’ve got to get ready to go to the Temple, but you can tell I could go on and on. And ON. I love this topic! MUCH more to share in the future. I’ll be checking in. So keep a watch for more Blog posts. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!

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4 thoughts on “PORCH RESPONSES!!

  1. Angela

    I love the idea of porches! They bring so much warmth to a neighborhood. I think I need one. Time to move out of a condo!

    Reply
  2. Janet Kerr

    I brought up this topic of porches at my work the other day during lunch. It was quite an interesting discussion with quite a variety of experiences shared. I was surprised how many haven’t ever had a “porch experience” and couldn’t imagine ever having the time as young working Moms (meaning they’re carrying 2 full-time jobs, the first one being a wife and mother) who were raised by working Moms. How sad. They did admit it sounded lovely. It made me realize that is probably the main reason for the loss of those precious porch experiences we treasure so much; Mothers needing to work outside of the home to make ends meet. It’s another one of those timing things. I’ve visited with some of my neighbors who have porches, or have created patios similar to mine and who actually use them. Most of them are “empty-nesters” or single like me. The few with young families are “stay-at-home” Moms. We have all created that space for the very feelings and experiences you have shared here.
    There was quite a discussion about the different purposes of a front porch compared to a back one. Consensus was that back porches require an invitation, formal or informal. But you can’t just barge in unless you’re family or very close friends. When someone is sitting on their front porch, you feel more welcome to stop by and visit, no invitation needed. In my youth, that is why I would walk around the neighborhood, hoping someone would be out on their front porch to visit with. So often they were and I loved those visits. Often many would gather to be included in the fun. So many fun memories. It’s why I created my front “patio porch,” doing the best I can with what I have. I just wanted a place that had that “welcoming feeling,” saying, “come, sit a spell.”
    I hadn’t ever thought about pulling out my guitar and camp song books. I’ll have to try that. It makes me want a fire pit and s’mores, but that might be a back patio type of thing. I guess that could happen as the night progressed.
    Thanks for giving me a fun conversation starter and much to ponder on. I have decided, when the time comes, my mansion in heaven (and yes I intend to inherit a mansion there) will definitely have a full sized, wrap-a-round porch where all are welcome. In fact, I can just imagine people’s comments as they walk by. One will say, “Is that Janet’s home? That’s not a very big or fancy mansion, but oh…, what a porch.” And the other will say, “Yes, and Janet’s sitting there, enjoying the sunset. Let’s stop and visit for a spell. Maybe we can convince her to bring out her guitar and we’ll have a lovely evening together, singing those good old camp songs. I’ll bet she still has some of those old song books.” And she will be right.
    OK, this is way too long and I need to get to bed and “dream of my porch above.” Please know you’re welcome to stop and join in anytime. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Janet Kerr

      I know I’ve commented enough. But wanted to share some results I think you’ll like. This topic of “porch feelings” has come up several times now in our lunch conversations at work. One young mother chastised the others for using the excuse of not having the time. She’s a full-time Mom, works outside of the home full-time, and is a part-time student. She just moved into a new neighborhood that is a “porching” kind of neighborhood and they are loving it. This was their first summer there and everyone was out with their children, teenagers included; the children playing those summer games while the parents sit and visit or join in. She says she’s never felt so welcome in a neighborhood before and actually knows her neighbors better because of it. She is also seeing the positive effect it is having on her children and their family relationships. So some of my other co-workers have decided to make a better effort with their families and neighborhoods. I’ve loved these conversations with my friends. Most of us have resolved that we can do better at spreading the “porch feeling.” Thanks for getting the conversation going. See what MEE started and isn’t it GREAT!!! 🙂

      Reply

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