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Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Every home around me has a back deck with the exception of one house: It has a front porch. What was it that inspired everyone to build a deck on that back of their houses? To get away from it all is my surmise. The whole time I have lived in my house, I always wanted a deck out back; got it when this house was remodeled and loved sitting there. It was like being in the woods and ever so peaceful. Then it became too peaceful for I see no one unless people are here with me.

Within the last several years, I have seen photographs of front porches and I was instantly taken back to my grandparent’s house for it had a huge one. Everyone in the family sat out there when weather permitted and people would stop by and talk about this or that. “Visiting” it was called and that’s not done in today’s world much if at all. Trust me, I was a visitor to just about everyone’s front porch in my grandparent’s neighborhood. Kids played on them, people discussed events and problems and even ate out there. It was a wonderful mecca for happy or lonely people.

I would compare a front porch to therapy in today’s world. And no, I haven’t had therapy but thinking back to front porches, so many problems were solved on them, friendships made and  they were places to just drop by. Oh I see a lot of them on much older homes in my city and have such a desire to go and sit down on one. But since I don’t know the inhabitants that would not be a safe thing to do in today’s world. Still I linger for a front porch as no doubt many others do as well. Being out behind one’s house on a deck is not interacting with people. It’s isolation at its finest.

And yet in today’s troubled world, unless you lived in a gated neighborhood, a deck is about the only place you have to get away from it all and feel safe. Therein is the shame of it all. Who wouldn’t love to sit on a front porch and talk to passing neighbors? It certainly would heal a lot of wounded people in that they could talk about their problems instead of hiding them deep inside. At least I have my memories of my childhood spent on a front porch and they will stay with me forever. It was nirvana. It was the rule and not the exception.

If you have a front porch, count yourself lucky for you see day by day the passing people, pets and know what is going on in your neighborhood. I mourn not having one built onto my house when it was remodeled—I got a back deck instead. What was I thinking?

Sherry Hill

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