Nothing hurts the look, style, taste of a grand old Maine house more than removal of the front porch.
The glassed and variety of open outdoor wrap around original porch structures make the “home sweet home”. The porches not just nailed on to Victorian Maine homes for simply show or curb appeal though.
Maine porches still get used, are a working part of a healthy home.
Turn off the television. Power down the ipod, lap top, Droid phone electronic device. Come sit a spell. My Mom used the front glassed, screened porch for her daily lessons. To prepare for the day with the beauty of her many flower beds in view as she studied scripture verses.
With song birds serenading due in part to well stocked feeders she tended. And with lots of sunshine hitting the porch due to it’s eastern orientation. The therapeutic setting complete. To open up her heart to commune, connect with her creator. No distractions, no intrusions on this daily exercise to spend time on the Maine home porch.
Afternoon naps, nodding off happened on that same porch too.
Starting a good book in the maroon and white sofa glider that begged for an oil can as you settled in or got up to leave it. Then laying it down for a little shut eye. Completely at peace, in your own little world feeling the sunshine warm your skin.
Company landed on the same porch in season. Evening talks on the Maine home porch were extra special. With family conversations continuing in to the night as parents switched on lamps to add a rosy glow to the summer living room gab fest. Maybe sampling some home made grape nut ice cream added to the communication. Double scooped on a generous slab of hot out of the oven strawberry rhubbard pie. That was not out of a boxed mix but from a recipe handed down from the last generation of cooks.
Family history porch stories were my favorite as the youngest of four boys.
Because I came in later in the game. Could not remember all the tales, experiences my older brothers could from being in those family events. Memories, being part of something bigger than ourselves is why the front porch was a special place. Part of daily life as free therapy sessions too before days of fifty five minute visits with a total stranger paid to listen.
The Maine home porch a super place to park it on a regular basis growing up. To help sort out problems or as a place to share joys depending on the day. Or as a working area to shell a fresh pail of pea pods. To remove the silk, shuck the ears of corn from the garden out back. With the grandmother supervising the operation. Sharing wisdom with a grandchild who helped picked them before supper. One that would end with fresh strawberries collected earlier to go on fresh baked short cake biscuits. With some whipped cream to complete the sweet treat.
Sometimes porch talks revolved around, about the farming year.
With predictions of the season being a bonanza or a “lean, just try to break even one” shaping up ahead. Breaking even was considered a good year because you got to do it again. You stayed on the farm. And survived whatever struggle the weather, the outside produce markets threw your way to see if you had a sense of humor. If you were built with the right stuff to persevere. And become stronger because farming, like life was not going to get any easier.
The front porch I grew up on had an old sofa bed with a cover. Had been moved from One Watson, Three Franklin Avenues to the farm on US Rt 2 outside Houlton Maine. The light green painted wicker rocker, upholstered darker green cushioned love seat extra seating options if the squeaky glider was in use. Pick a chair and begin the conversation, the family connection.
With the screens doing their job and windows raised, you felt almost outdoors.
Where all Mainers strive to be as much as possible. In winter the porch hibernated while the conversations moved in to the Maine farm home kitchen. Where a pair of rockers sat waiting near a glowing Jotul wood cook stove that warmed your bones. With help from a cup of fresh tea, coffee, a home made cookie to nibble on. While your insides, other parts were heated up and any chill removed.
Porches in Maine, not just for looks, show. Where time is spent through out life as family, the most important institution laughs, crys, shares setbacks and joys together. To weather the storms and periods of blue skies and sunshine in Maine. Find your place in the space of Maine.