Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our Front Porch: Newton Corner, Massachusetts

Is the front porch an American phenomenon? Do folks in other countries have front porches? Is the front porch going the way of all good things?

Yesterday, Marash Boy took it upon himself to ready our front porch for summer; granted summer is half over, but he had an excuse -- the tornado in Wilbraham, which not only took away our summer's front porch, but the house that went with it!  (See Marash Girl's blogs on the tornado in Wilbraham.)

On one side of our Newton Corner porch sit two comfortable chairs with history:  an Adirondack chair given to us by a neighbor who was moving and didn't have the energy (or the space) to put one more piece of furniture in the van; the other, a rocking chair with the black paint chipping off, a chair that Marash Boy's Uncle Karekin had remade from a broken down chair that someone had donated to the Wilbraham cottage.  (In fact, because this chair was salvaged from Wilbraham many years ago, it's the only piece of furniture from the cottage that was not taken by the tornado!)

So that's to the right of the doors as you walk out of our house.  And to the left is a big round wicker glass top table with 6 chairs around it, admittedly meant for a glassed in porch, but there it has survived for over ten years on our open front porch, which, by the way, was once a wraparound porch that went all the way around to the entrance on the other side of the house (the house is a duplex built in 1870, built by a father who wanted his daughters living right next door!)  The former owner of the house tore down the wraparound part rather than go to the expense of rebuilding it.  Much the pity!  But our porch is big enough for a private chat, or a small dinner party -- we even have 6 stairs folks can sit on if we run out of chairs!

Everyone who walks by our porch gets a wave or a greeting or an invitation to join us! 

We live in Newton Corner where almost all of the houses (except for the young whippersnappers) were built before 1900, and most of those houses have a front porch, a front porch that stretches from one side of the house to the other.  But of all the houses with front porches, Marash Girl has seen only 3 porches ever in use -- her porch, the porch diagonally across the street from her and the porch 5 houses down the street and around the corner.  Walk as we may through the neighborhood, and we often do, we never see folks on their front porches, even on pleasant balmy days. What has happened? Help me out with this one!

1 comment:

  1. the radio stopped the conversation among neighborhood stair/porch gatherers; the television removed them from each other and made them deaf, dumb, and blind to their neighbors. thus the front porch became a useless architectural appendage, and as with all things that fall into disuse, they fall away, forever.