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?