Out on the porch: Destination or state of mind? Fifteenth of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck — I’m more than halfway there!
And over the years the front porch evolved from a mere destination to a state of mind — tranquil, contained and ideal for watching the world pass by.
An outdoor multipurpose room
In warm weather, our porch served as a sort of outdoor multipurpose room connecting our side of the farmhouse with my grandparents’ side.
We had a regular-sized living room door that led out onto the porch and my grandparents’ big main door opened there, too.
Each door had its own set of steps onto the lawn — and a third set of steps at the side was great for running to the big swing set across the driveway.
The farmhouse had two other porches — a small one off our kitchen for toting groceries in and out and a rickety one we never used off my grandparents’ wing. But the front porch was where all the action happened.
A great escape
Out on the porch you could see and hear the traffic on Route 20. So it’s no wonder my first word was truck, not Mama or Dada — much to my parents’ disappointment.
As I grew older, the front porch became a great escape. It had Adirondack chairs where I could sit and take in the view — with flat arms wide enough for snacks or a coloring book. And the porch roof provided cooling shade on a sunny day.
From the porch I could spot the letter carrier delivering the mail, so I’d know when to head down to the mailbox. And sometimes I’d find my grandmother out there — working on her knitting while she kept an eye on the antique shop — and we’d have a chance to visit.
A special feeling
There was a special feeling on that porch — an intangible essence of my early childhood that I thought I’d lost when we left the farm and later when I moved to New York City.
But then I visited the Queens Farm Museum one quiet weekday — and as soon as I sat out on the porch of the Adriance farmhouse the familiar feeling returned.
And just like that, I was back on the porch at Whispering Chimneys as if it was yesterday — surveying the world and watching the traffic go by.
Up next – Peg: My post-war mom. Please stop back!
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