GUEST BLOG: Front porch memories

Editor’s note: To read more of retired Gainesville educator Jane Elder’s blog, “Ozark Road,” visit

I was born in a small town in north central Illinois. The railroad splits it north and south. We lived on the north side, but truly there wasn’t much difference on which side of the tracks you lived. We were all neighbors. We all had front porches.
There is a song about wishing the world had a front porch. I remembered it when I ran across this old picture of my grandfather, my aunt and my grandmother sitting on the front porch of my childhood home there on North Center Avenue  many years before I was born. ...
I love this picture. I remember that porch. We played on it when it was raining. We sat there and waved to people going by. We hollered at our friends to stop and visit for awhile. But mostly we just sat and talked. Or at least the grown-ups did. 
I had many a doll tea party on that porch.
Our daughter Nina has the table and chairs now. It was a small version of a table and chairs you often found in drug stores and cafes – an ice cream set, is what we always called it. Four chairs. Room for me and three of my best friends. Or one friend and two of our dolls. Or just me and three dolls. Tea was served in the Blue Willow tea set I loved. Maybe a cookie or two. But always tea.
In my memories, soft summer breezes blow across the yard. Mowers make that swish-swish sound of blades moving rapidly. No one had a power mower back then, only the old-fashioned reel-type mowers. No gas. Just arm and leg power.
How peaceful it would be if we could make the people in charge of our rag-tag world sit down and sip a little coffee or tea on the front porch. Get to know one another. Share ideas. Or just sit and enjoy the view of people peacefully passing by. Stop and wave. Share a joke. Be friends.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423