Keep it Real Wednesday
Front Porch Time
April 8, 2020
This weekend, I asked Rosemary to tell me about one of her favorite memories growing up in Cleveland in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Without any hesitation, she shouted, “Front porch time” and her face softened a bit as she reflected.
The stories soon followed about the families gathering on front porches, sharing meals, laughter, drinks and stories. The teenagers talking until all hours in the night on the front porch swing with her parents peeking through the curtains on occasion to make sure there was no hanky panky.
Front porch time continued through my childhood in the 1960’s in Maple Heights, Ohio as neighbors hosted block parties, shared celebrations and became extended family.
But then, something happened. Houses no longer had front porches and were quickly replaced with back patios. Wide open yards were replaced with fences and walls we would hide behind. Garage doors began to close behind us like a castle pulling up the drawbridge. We began to lose touch with our neighbors.
A few months ago, a virus rocked our world and our lives. It has further torn us from each other and created an unnatural distance between each other.
But I have watched something beautiful happen. The stay at home orders has created a space in our hearts to pause, reflect and feel the void of human interaction. I believe we miss each other.
It hurts to see a person sad in the store and not touch their shoulder with a gentle display of human understanding.
It hurts to run to a friend to embrace and then stop short and just smile.
It hurts to see a child fall off a bike in the park and not be able to run and help them up.
A friend said to me the other day that she is concerned that we will never go back to where we were before COVID19…that we would never feel comfortable again hugging a stranger and shaking hands as a greeting.
I beg to differ. We will persevere. We will get back to where we were before this all started. In fact, I think we will be better for it.
I think there will be a revival of front porch time, block parties and neighbors helping neighbors.
It is who we are, and this is our time to shine…to find ways to keep our connections and nurture them.
This weekend several neighbors on our block had our second weekly social distancing get together. We brought out fire pits to put in respective driveways, lawn chairs and food and drink. We distanced ourselves by property lines. We played games, told stories, laughed, shared and just held space with each other during a time in all our lives that we will likely never forget.
It was a time of togetherness, of human connection and some might call it “front porch time”.