Sunday, June 29, 2008

Alabama: One Big Front Porch

"Alabama, they say, is like one big front porch where folks gather on summer nights to tell tales and to talk family."

That's how the intro begins to Selma author Kathryn Tucker Windham's book, "Alabama: One Big Front Porch," and boy, does my well-worn copy bring back memories!

I miss my old front porch...the one I grew up on...a wrap-around with gingerbread trim, a swing beneath a cupola and a hammock on the side screen porch. We even had electric lights and fans out there, and it was where we gathered at night to cool off, play dominoes, drink lemonade, eat homemade ice cream and tell tales.

On hot days, I would spend the afternoon in the hammock reading "Nancy Drew" or sitting on the porch shelling butterbeans with my brothers as we told jokes. During summers of the 60s, we could sit on the porch behind the giant azaleas and not be noticed as we watched Civil Rights demonstrations across the street at the courthouse. It's where we sat on election night waiting results of the vote and where we watched hometown parades and state campaign rallies.

Oh, the stories I could write from my front porch education!
Did you grow up on a porch?


Z said...

Sounds idyllic and I hope you do write those stories. Do you think air conditioning combined with 'must-see' TV contributed to the general demise of the porch culture?

Anonymous said...

I am like you. I think California should be guilty of inventing the Ranch House because that put the front porch behind the house where it was promptly called the "Patio" where you sit in the sun, getting blisters, wondering what the noise and laughter is out front and where the neighbors went.

Those things like people walking past and speaking or showing off the latest surgery or telling the neighbor that her son kicked Aunt Maude's cat last week. That all disappeared.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville, Ohio happened naturally.

smilnsigh said...

What a glorious entry! Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories.

I grew up in a house with a front porch, but it wasn't as lovely sounding as yours was. Just a plain front porch with 3 columns and that was that. I don't remember it being used for sitting.

We had an enclosed back porch, with screens in the summer, where there was furniture for sitting. But... that's just not the same. -sigh-

And I must try to find a copy of that lovely sounding book.

'Miss' Mari-Nanci

smilnsigh said...

Got a used book, on Amazon, with '1-click.' :-)

'Miss' Mari-Nanci

marley said...

I really enjoyed your post today. The way you described your 'porch life' was brilliant. I can see it now...

babooshka said...

This is one of those images, porches and quliting that can only be associated with America, and a strange "feel good" factor. I have enjoyed the artwork you have featyred recently

D said...

What a great post. We spent lots of summer evenings on my grandmother's porch, listening to the cows across the road or eating the blackberries we picked. There was a spot on the corner that always caught a good breeze. We rocked in big old rockers. She burned rags in a bucket to keep the mosquitoes away. I miss the simplicity.

Rambling Round said...

I appreciate your comments!

Z, I am sure ac had a lot to do with the demise of front-porch tales and culture, as well as TV! So sad!

Abe, how did you know I now live in a "ranch house" without the ranch to go with it? Haha!

Smilingsigh, I did have a neat porch, but any porch will do. I really appreciate that porch even more now that I don't have one!

Hmmm... I didn't think about porch life being associated just with America, and D, how lucky you were too! Can't beat eating blackberries either!

Eve said...

Absolutley grew up with a front porch. And a back porch too. The adults sat on the porch while the kids played games under the street lights. Red Rover and crack the whip...and caught lightning bugs, well the boys did.

I live on the Gulf Coast but when I was a child, we lived in Fayette for a while. My DH and I fell in love with Foley and Dothan when he was working in that area. Wonderful people.