Thursday, February 10, 2011


I haven’t had a front porch since I was a kid, though I’ve had balconies, stoops, fire escapes and back terraces. Speaking from memory, then, better than on the front porch was under it – vines, potato bugs and damp, the shade, refuge, eavesdropping. And while the porch may have been a good perch for watching whatever was happening around the neighborhood, under the porch spared you all that.

Stoops, on the other hand, are a place to be seen. It's no accident that they are like chairs. They prove important, imperious, immovable.

As for balconies, they’re best for beating rugs. Or throwing the contents of the chamber pot overboard. Or reciting Edward Lear poems. If your kids get lice, put the bedlinens out there for a couple weeks. If the balcony is off a room rarely used, you can hide there effectively. If it’s not lightninging. Germans are crazy for balconies. As for me, glad owner of a back terrace, I’d rather have a bigger bedroom.

Oddly enough, fire escapes make a great place to smoke.


Kathleen said...

I'm zinging on the word "lightninging." Love it!

Kass said...

What a great commentary on these 'other' places. I think I could be a big bungalow porch person with a little encouragement.

SarahJane said...

I could go for a screened-in porch myself, as long as there some good trees to look at, and crickets.

Jeff said...

Can't play stoop ball without a stoop - off the curb just didn't work.

Balconies were where you sat in the movies to hide from the usher lady and flicked pieces of popcorn onto the seats below.

And fire escapes - that's where we slept our summer nights before we could afford air conditioning...after staying out late sitting on the stoop...

Back terraces? No clue - didn't even know what a tree was until I saw one in my first grade reader...

- Jeff

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