From Our Front Porch


It seems to me it should have had it’s own actual name, such a part of our lives it was. But we simply called it the “front porch”. Parts of our childhood played out for the whole town right there on that big old 10’x30′ front porch of our house on Main Street.  That old gray, wooden floor and us children became very intimate through the years. We knew it’s cracks and painted chips by heart. It welcomed us home every day when we returned from school and again as we threw our bags in the corner after our paper routes. We sat on it’s brick ledges and on the concrete tiers of the steps while friends gathered to hash out our plans of the day.  Like a very close, old friend, my goodness, what memories that old front porch has witnessed!  Hot summer nights found us seeking relief from the heat; five dirty children sprawled upon layers of sleeping bags. The morning sun always seemed to rise too early, to tease our eyelids and dare us to waken. Oh what a sight we must have been for those early morning visitors. What thoughts they must have entertained as they knocked on our door, “Those crazy Rauch kids, always up to something?”

We were directors and actors as we practiced plays on that front porch. With tales of monsters that were meant to thrill, the old porch transformed wonderfully into our stage, complete with drop down curtains.We ventured into our neighborhood and sold tickets to fill the mismatched chairs we provided for our audience.  I still can feel the coolness of that old white bed sheet as it was wrapped around me, the mummy of the play.  I laugh at the memory of our mother arriving home during our great production, so mortified that we dared such a scene right there on  Main Street for the whole town to see. “Those crazy Rauch kids, what are they up to now?”.

Ah and the “hippies”. My parents simply saw someone else’s children needing shelter and a meal and of course we took them in. Those young hitchhikers sat on our front porch, played their guitars and sang their counterculture songs to us. The naysayers must have got their eyes full and shook their heads. But did they know the things these young people brought to us? Did they know how kind and respectful they were to my parents, how patient they were as they taught us kids to macramé belts and necklaces? No those who weren’t present will never understand how those long haired strangers enriched our lives. “Those crazy Rauch’s, always bringing strange people to our town!”

I remember Sheri, the little girl from St. Louis. She was one of the inner city children that came to stay with us in the summer to get a taste of rural life. As I sat on the front porch playing jacks, she skipped around me singing a little song. Sara sponda Sara Sponda Sara sponda Ret Set Set..Ah do re o Ado re boom di o..a do re boom de ret set set ..a do re boom de o….How that song echoes when I see little children playing on the streets. In the civil rights turmoil of the 60’s and 70’s I know that the people drove by thinking “Those crazy Rauchs, bringing “Blacks” to our little town!”

A memory comes to me now of our beloved porch swing upon that front porch. How can a couple of chains and some old wood slats cause such merriment?  The rides we took, the places we went, the stories that were created to the rhythm and creak of that old swing. Big brother, George,  sat in the middle, reached his hands to the chains and pulled hard to flip us backwards. With peals of laughter,  we would swing upside down. Games were invented and turns were taken, pushing and swinging as high as the old ledge would let us. “Those crazy Rauch kids, they’re gonna get hurt!”

And then the evenings would come. And mom and dad and sometimes a big sibling would come out to join us. Here and there a bike rider or walker would stop to chat for a while, crickets and cicadas serenading their banter. Quiet as ghosts, we would slink out to the yard,  catching the fireflies and setting them free again. The sun would sink, the breeze would blow soft and for a while everything  in our little world would feel just right.  “Those crazy Rauchs, aren’t they something?”

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 16:01:29

    When I was a kid, I’d take cover on our front porch during the “Bad Storms” I liked to act out. Bike and baby dolls beside me, we survived many imaginary tornadoes 🙂 I would love to have a front porch again…:)

    Reply

  2. Mo
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 16:28:17

    I got my first kiss on that front porch and another time puked my insides out over the side after a night of sloe gin fizz provided by an Effingham boy that mom thought quite a lot of…probably not so much after she came out to see who was making a scene on that front porch…hahaha …one of the crazy older Rauch kids. Or the time Becky threw apples at cars as they passed by. She hit a corvette as it drove past. He stopped turned around. She flew up onto the porch & hid behind a big box. He saw her hiding & began lecturing her. She said in a pitiful disguised voice, “I didn’t do anything. I’m just a little girl.” He hesitated, then left. Little did he know, she was in high school!,

    Reply

  3. Sara
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 17:04:41

    Haha! Mo, I really should interview you older kids. There are so many different memories you all have on the same subjects I write about. Because there were so many of us, it seems like we were almost two families when it comes to what we remember. The olders remember things we youngers were too young to and the youngers have memories after you all had moved away,. Thanks for continuing to read my stuff. Love you, Sis! 🙂

    Reply

  4. allison niemerg
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 23:40:43

    hahah oh my goodness aunt Mo that is too funny!!

    Reply

  5. Trackback: My Porch Swing is a Time Machine « Magic in the Backyard

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