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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


This summer my porch has become a real extension of my home. I have dined out there almost every evening for the past several months. Recently when my son and his two children were here the rocking chair beckoned both my son and his daughter to come sit and read. It has become what a porch in summer is supposed to be. I have fond memories of porches in the summer. My South Carolina grandparents had a huge front porch on their house that we visited when I was a small child. Shaded by trees it was much like an outdoor living room with the exception of the large bench swing at one end which we grandchildren would fight to be able to sit on. It only comfortably accommodated three, and too often, as the youngest cousin of the four cousins, I was often the one who couldn't get a place on it. At Tuckaway, the mountain cottage, there was a long porch that extended the length of the house and overlooked the waterfalls. It, too, had plenty of seating for all as well has having a hammock at one end. The adults would sit up there and chat while the children played in the stream or ran around on the rocks below. At my Virginia grandparent's home the porch was much smaller and had little if any furniture on it most of the time. But there were evenings when we visited when everyone would gather on or around the front porch to enjoy the cooler evening breezes, the adults chatting and we children running around in the yard trying to catch fire flies. The house I grew up in in central New York State had a large front porch, too. Half of it was enclosed until I was in high school. I don't recall it being used very often by my parents, but my sister and did use it. Most of the chairs were metal and not all that comfortable. There was a large metal glider, too, that I enjoyed the most. It had a very distinctive squeaky sound when being used. Gliders like that one are still available and are considered "vintage." I saw one similar to the one we used to have that had been fully restored and was selling for over $1,000! These days because of central air conditioning, porches, especially ones on the front of a house, seem to be more cosmetic than useful. Most of the houses on my street have small ones and, for the most part, they have some kind of furniture on them. But I seldom, if ever, see anyone sitting on them. As an extension to a house's living space, porches usually can only be enjoyed less than half of a year. But every spring I look forward to getting my porch set up for use, and I am glad that this year I have been using it daily. And now my grandchildren have been able to add porch memories, too.

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