Reminiscing on the Front Porch…

LittleHouse

Mary Engelbreit captures the charm of playtime on the front porch! http://www.MaryEngelbreit.com

Hi Friends!

 

I  have always loved old houses. When I pulled up in front of the little house, with the pretty front porch, almost thirty years ago, I started to cry!  Happy tears! I had been house hunting in town and had visited a few houses already. When I saw this little house, from the outside, I had a feeling it was meant to be my “Home Sweet Home.”  ♡ My heart spoke… and I listened!

Our home (Now we are a family!) is a cozy, little Craftsman Bungalow, built in 1922. It is surrounded by tall, shady pine trees and colorful, perennial gardens, but it was the front porch that won my heart on that Spring day so long ago. The original porch swing is still here, just perfect for reading, daydreaming, talking with friends, sipping iced tea, and watching the world go by. The swing is long enough to stretch out and take an afternoon nap! A gentle breeze often pushes our swing on a summer afternoon, as we glide to the music of sweet birdsong.

One of the greatest treasures that came with the house, were my friendly neighbors. To the south, lived dear Mildred, a charming lady in her 90s. She wore a dainty hat and gloves whenever when she went out. A longtime citizen of our town, Mildred had such wonderful stories to share! She talked about carrying her furniture down the dirt road to her house, built one year before ours. She remembered the horses from the neighboring farm squashing the tomatoes in her garden. She showed me a Sears Roebuck home, that was delivered by freight train, and assembled down the block many years earlier.

We quickly became special friends…  always there for one another. Each year, I put my Christmas tree in the window on south side, so that we could both enjoy it. It was no problem to shovel her snow, help her lift things, or to open a jar for her. She liked to call me her “Angel Next Door.” Mildred showed me that it was possible to take care of an old house on my own, even though it wasn’t easy! Every day I watched how hard Mildred worked to care for her home, and I knew that if she could do it, I could do it, too! Without even knowing it, she shared her gifts of strength and courage with me day by day.

Mildred knew that I loved old houses and antiques. She introduced me to the local historical society, where I eagerly volunteered. The very first tomato, ripe from her garden, was an annual gift of her friendship. From time to time, she would leave a sweetly wrapped antique treasure by my front door. Each year, on my first day of school, Mildred delivered a shiny, wooden apple for the teacher, inscribed with the year. They were such heartwarming treasures from a dear friend.

Best of all, Mildred shared stories about my house! She had watched it being built. When the house was finished, she helped to plant the pine trees in our backyard, brought from her grandparents’ farm in Wisconsin.

One day, Mildred shared my very favorite story of all

In the 1920s, our front porch was a gathering place for Barbershop Quartet singers! Such a great, old-fashioned tradition!  Since ours was the only house on our block with an open front porch, it was just perfect for harmonizing on a summer evening. Very often, I wonder about the fashions, the hairstyles, and of course the songs they would sing, so long ago. Our porch swing and the front steps always welcomed the local singers. Mildred was one of those singers, serenading on warm summer evenings.

One day, she shared a little more of the story…

Each of the singers had a rocking chair on our front porch. Mildred wanted me to have her rocking chair! In the 1920s, her chair had a special place on our front porch, as they sat and sang together. Just imagine, how happy the neighborhood sounded each evening when the quartet began to sing!

Mildred’s rocking chair was such a treasured gift. For many years, it had a special place in our guest room. I enjoyed sitting and reading in her rocking chair on quiet, summer afternoons. A few years ago, we moved the rocking chair downstairs to the basement. There it held a big box filled with scrapbooks and photos just waiting to have their stories told. Yet, each time I walked by Mildred’s rocking chair, a wish stirred inside my heart… just waiting for the perfect time.

My heart told me that Memorial Day weekend was the perfect time to honor the past memories of our little house! So, early on Saturday morning, we carried Mildred’s rocking chair out to the garage. I felt so happy! Something very important was about to happen… for the first time since the 1920s!

 

 

This special rocking chair has seen a lot of history over the past century! Sanding revealed bright red paint, beneath the black paint. After some light sanding, I washed the surface gently. Tomorrow it would have a fresh, new look!

This special rocking chair has seen a lot of history over almost a century! 

We discovered bright red paint, beneath the black paint. After some light sanding, I washed the surface very gently.

Tomorrow Mildred’s chair would have a fresh, new look!

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On Sunday morning, our special rocking chair sported a fresh, cheery coat of paint.

Now it will be protected from the elements for years to come.

 

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It’s such fun to have a cozy, new place to sit…

 

… and read,

… and read,

 

 

… watch the world go by,

 … and watch the world go by,

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…  while enjoying the old-fashioned pleasures of afternoons on our front porch! ♡

Our hot, sunny Memorial Day was just perfect for viewing the flowers growing near our front porch. While rocking, we enjoyed…

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the dainty faces of Columbine, in soft purple and the very palest pink,

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Dianthus, just beginning to bloom,

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 Shasta Daisies bobbing in the breeze,

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Cranesbill Geraniums with pale purple blossoms,

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and lovely Anemones, welcoming everyone walking by!

This Memorial Day weekend brought back so many treasured memories. It also made me pause… and think about the time when our home was newly built. There was so much happening in the world, in our country, and in our little neighborhood. Just imagine what life was like on a quiet street, a long drive from the big city, in the 1920s…

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Thanks for visiting with us on the front porch! It’s always a delight to see you here!

 

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Do you have a favorite story about your house? I’d love to hear your stories, too!

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18 thoughts on “Reminiscing on the Front Porch…

  1. Dawn, reading your blog posts is like a visit to your front porch, rocking in Mildred’s chair and sharing in sweet conversation with a dear friend! What a special friendship you were blessed with! Mildred was my godmother’s name….the one who made the baby quilt for me! I loved this post so much! Hearing about the history of your house from someone who was right there is so wonderful! Your porch looks darling!! xo

  2. Oh, Karen, thanks for your kind words! I was just going to share the rocking chair pictures… but I just had to tell more of the story. I was so fortunate to meet such a special neighbor ~ a kindred spirit from an earlier generation! What a grand lady! (“Grand” was one of her favorite words!) ♡ Did you notice the book on the little, shabby, white table from the 3 French Hens market?

  3. Your house sounds wonderful! I hope to someday live in a friendly little neighborhood in a house as charming as yours looks in the pictures you’ve shared. Also, Anne of Green Gables is a fabulous choice for a summer read! I’ve been wanting to reread it lately, along with my childhood Little House on the Prairie collection! Talk soon 🙂

  4. Hi Chris! I’m so happy that you stopped by! There is a little sign in our kitchen that says, “Love grows best in little houses.” We think that’s very true here. The front porch feels like a summer living room. Can you believe that this is the first time I’ve read Anne of Green Gables? It’s such a wonderful story!
    Happy summer days! ♡

    “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ~ Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

  5. I truly enjoyed your story! What a gift to have that neighbor! Wouldnt the world be a better place if we ALL could have the gift of a neighbor like that? And BE a nieghbor like that! Great chair too!

  6. Hi Jayne! So true… I was so blessed to have wonderful, older neighbors all around me. They always made me feel welcome. Now I’m the older neighbor here, giving advice to the young families. It’s a full circle of love! Hope you will meet so many nice neighbors in your new home, and feel Southern hospitality at its finest! Happy gardening in Savannah! ♡

  7. Thanks for your touching words, Barbara! It will be such fun to read in the rocking chair this summer. I’m headed out to read and relax right now! So happy that you stopped by for a visit today! ♡

  8. Good morning Dawn! I am so blessed this morning to have discovered YOU – thank you for leaving me a comment. I am always touched when someone new comes by to read my posts then leaves their name. How else can we then find others with similar interests AND lives?

    I am so inspired by your post and conversation here. We too are in the midwest, Minneapolis to be exact! Eighteen years ago when we moved here from Boston, Mass., we were looking for homes. I knew what I wanted, but of course, all the lovely tudor homes were just a tad beyond our price range. But when we saw our current home, like YOU, I feel in love with the possibilities. It is a brick cottage on which we recently (2.5 years ago) added two dream rooms. One of them is the great room and we are finishing off the vaulted ceiling this summer with exposed beams. The other room is a medieval style room to act as my husband’s office.

    Your beautiful porch….oh yes, a perfect place to READ and watch nature go by! I too am an educator. I am a French teacher, and I love what I do. I try to write poetry on the side, and I intend to write my memoirs. A dear blogger friend also recently sent me the best book I’ve read in a while: THE WAITING by Cathy LaGrow. If you have not read it, do so. But have a box of tissues at the ready! I spend this entire week every evening on my enclosed deck, reading this true story of a 103 year old woman who had to give up her first child to adoption. She finally met her 77 years late, and it is a story to read on your porch!

    Thank you for this tour of your garden; your pickett fence is so beautiful! Happy Sunday, Anita

  9. Oh, Anita! Your sweet comment this morning, on the one-month anniversary of my little blog, has made my heart sing! ♡ Heartfelt thanks for writing! Isn’t it wonderful when kindred spirits find one another this way? Your brick cottage sounds just lovely. I understand exactly how you felt when you first saw it! I love that you are a French teacher! I studied French in high school and college. My feet are so happy whenever they are on French soil!! I still enjoy reading French, and dream of taking French classes again in my retirement. (I actually use another “R” word. I’m calling it my Renaissance!) The Minneapolis area is one of my favorite places to visit. I’ve met such warm, friendly people there!

    Thank you for the wonderful book recommendation. I will look for it! I hope you will continue to write poetry and will begin your memoirs. You have a gift for words and the powerful images that well-chosen words create, Anita! I think you would LOVE the latest book by my favorite author, Susan Branch. A Fine Romance is her handlettered, watercolored diary of her two-month journey through the English Countryside. Susan & Joe traveled to England, aboard the QM2, to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Susan shares their wonderful adventure in this treasure of a book! Susan Branch is hard at work on her newest book, a memoir of her move across the country to Martha’s Vineyard and her first little home there. She has a special gift for celebrating the small moments of every day! Be sure to visit her blog! (My white picket fence herb garden was inspired by one of her books!) So much to love!

    Come visit again, Anita! A bientot! ♡

  10. I really enjoyed looking at your porch too! Over here we dont have the tradition of doing up our porches and then sitting out there, we tend to do that in our back gardens. I just love all your lovely flowers spilling out all over the place, wow, what a lovely space you have created!

  11. Hi Krissie! Thanks for visiting… all the way from Australia! Long ago, when I began looking for a little house, I knew it must have a front porch. It just seemed so old-fashioned! I really LOVE sitting on the porch, in the rocking chair or on the swing. It’s so nice to slow down and relax, with a good book or a good friend. It’s really fun to talk with neighbors as they walk by! Will you be able to spend time in your garden over the winter months? ♡

  12. Hi Dawn, It was wonderful reading about your front porch. Today most people are in their back yards and from the back you don’t see many of your neighbors. You were lucky to meet your neighbor and to be come such great friends. Again, today we are sooo busy it’s hard to find the time to just sit and share our own personal stories, let alone stories about the history of our towns and nation. Listening to stories my parents shared of how they felt coming to this country has been amazing. We should start writing them down. Thanks Dawn for sharing your house story. It’s now your story. Enjoy your day on your front porch.

  13. Hi Anna! So happy you stopped to visit today! We really should start writing our stories down. You’ve just given me a wonderful idea! Thanks for following my blog, Anna! Enjoy the last weeks of summertime! See you soon. ♡

  14. Hi Brigitte! Thanks so much. So nice to see you here! Life is full of surprises… and blogging has been a wonderful new experience. Look for the Lilacs post! ♡

  15. Dawn, what a wonderful gift you have for putting your thoughts into words on the written page for all of us to read. I enjoyed your story and could feel the love and devotion you have for your home. Mildred sounded like a lovely person you only read about in stories! Thanks for sharing and hope to visit your porch again – oh and Ill take a bit of lemon with my summer tea..

  16. Welcome, Penny! Heartfelt thanks for your kind words! I never ever dreamed that I would be blogging. I love writing letters and taking pictures, so it’s a perfect fit! My home is such a special part of me. We’ve been talking about having a special celebration in a few years, when our house is 100 years old! Tea with lemon… coming right up! Come visit often, Penny! ♡

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