Out on the porch: An intangible essence – #atozchallenge

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!

Out on the porch of our Whispering Chimneys farmhouse I whiled away many an hour — as did my family.

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.

The front porch at Whispering Chimneys the year my family moved there, as documented in my baby book. Scan: Molly Charboneau

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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10 thoughts on “Out on the porch: An intangible essence – #atozchallenge”

  1. Just wonderful and resonates so much!

    And brought back a nephew memory–his father was a construction worker and my nephew’s first word was–backhoe! Amazing–at the time, I didn’t even know what that was.

    This brought back other sweet memories of my grandparents’ front porch in Burlington, Vermont…ghosts from our pasts–present in our hearts.

    1. Well now I feel better! Truck seemed odd for a first work…but I guess it’s whatever environment you’re in 🙂 Glad you, too, had a youthful porch experience.

  2. I always dreamed of a house with a big porch. Never got one, but I love your memories. Find me here. LINK

    1. Thanks, Susanne! We lost our front porch when we moved to the suburbs. That’ when the back yard — with its own intangible essence — took over as a window on nature

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