Passing through tiny Kennard, Ind., yesterday I came across these women on a front porch. I stopped in my lane right in the middle of the highway, which was also the main street. There was no other traffic. I jumped out of my RV. “May I take your picture?”
Yes, they said. I think they may have thought I was crazy, jumping out of my motorhome like that, asking to take their picture. They didn’t know that I had been looking for someone sitting on a front porch for a few days, which would mean for a few states.
You don’t see many front porches today, much less people sitting on them.
That’s a shame. I think the disappearance of front porches has a lot to do with how isolated people are from one another these days. We don’t know our neighbors. Back in the old days, sitting on a front porch was an important way people socialized. They sat on the porch, sipped an ice tea, and chatted with their neighbors as they walked by on their way to the grocery store, or maybe were out for a stroll.
Then came air conditioning and TV, and everybody moved inside. Porches sat empty and new houses did away with them all together. People sat in their fenced back yards. Nobody saw anybody any more. It was easy to go years without even knowing your neighbors.
The woman on the left said she had just sold the house. She and her husband lived there 47 years, but he died recently. She sold it for $42,000 (she originally asked $69,000). She’ll move into a condo, she said, looking sad. Her husband made many improvements including an 800-square-foot addition in the back. “He was real handy,” she said. Where I live near Seattle, a nice house like this would go for $300,000 or more.
I wished people still had front porches and still used them. I think our country would be a better place.