Thursday, August 20, 2009

It was just a little house...

A non-descript older house sat vacant at the end of the block. An average-sized house, approximately 100 years old, with four wide steps leading up to a good sized front sitting porch. I passed it almost every day for the two years that I've lived here. It was built towards the street side of the corner lot, which allowed for side and back yards big enough to play badmitton or have a nice vegetable garden. Within the past two months someone had removed the siding and put yellow "caution - keep out" tape across the top steps. Three weeks ago it disappeared. Actually, it was demolished and the lawn was ravaged by heavy machinery. Now a pored cement foundation takes up almost the entire lot, with the base of a two car garage towards the back. There's no longer any room for a garden or a porch.

In our quest for architectural dominance, with grand mansions and no lawn to upkeep, we have lost the fine art of sitting on the front porch to chat with passing neighbors. We are no longer connected to our immediate community.

A few years ago I had the pure dumb luck to buy a tiny bungalow with a teensie yard. The house had a large front sitting porch that was merely a few feet from the sidewalk. Everyone who passed by would say hello, and a few would stop to chat. I got to know my neighbors, not just by sight, but by voice, by their dog's names, and by stories. The hairdresser of the former homeowner even stopped to chat about the dear, deceased woman (Rose) whose house I then owned. I was thanked for my dedication to flower gardening since Rose could not take care of the outside for several years prior to her death at 90.


This photo is of the little house that I used to own (Rose's house). It was a great porch.

Long ago, the front porch was a place for neighbors and families to relax, drink lemonade and unwind, a place to talk over the upcoming school year, baseball teams, and local politics. Wouldn't it be nice if we put more value on front porches and less on media rooms with surround sound?

Welcome to my virtual porch. Sit down, I'll get you something cold to drink. Listen to those locusts, they've been buzzing all afternoon. Another scorcher. How's the family?

4 comments:

MyStory of HiStory said...

What a sweet - but kind sad post. Nostalgic - yes that's the word I'm lookin' for.

Amen to: "Wouldn't it be nice if we put more value on front porches and less on media rooms with surround sound?"

I'm not sure what my dreamhouse is...it seems to change depending on where I am...the beach, the mountains, the country, etc. - or what magazine/blog pic I've looked at most recently :) .... but one thing is for certain - it has a front porch! :)

MyStory of HiStory said...

P.S. I once posted a video of a sweet song called Little Houses --- You might enjoy it (or mb you've heard it?) http://yadayadah.blogspot.com/2009/06/kitchen-dance.html - you might have to watch a brief commercial before the video starts.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Wow..did this hit home for me ! I moved out of a huge "Costco-type" wharehouse in Cambria, CA into a very small, funky cottage sitting in an apple orchard...a still in progress apple orchard in San Luis Obispo, Ca. We are on the Central Coast. Most people looked at me with this dumb look on their face..like, huh? why would you do that? Well, because I want wood burning Vermont Casting stoves..one in the kitchen and one in my bedroom..not a fireplace with fake logs that sits behind glass that you start by turning on the light switch...because I want a pumpkin patch and a place to grow corn and tomatoes and basil and chervil, not a wrap-around deck, and beadboard instead of drywall, and a wooden drainboard instead of granite..etc....

my friends who know me "got it"...but everyone else..not so much....

I LOVED this post so much. Yes to old homes with porches and history, no thanks to cookie cutter track housing....cold and boring....

I'll check back later.....
i LOVE your blog. Great writing!

Best,
Kary

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hello MyStory,
Yes, that song is so true!

Welcome Kary,
How neat to live in an orchard!!! People can buy granite countertops, but they won't have the character and history that your house has.

Why would we just want to be like everyone else?? :)