Friday, December 6, 2013

Front Porch Friends

CB collage

Before the internet gave us a world wide web of friends, we made friends based on proximity. In the small town where I grew up, friends were found next door, around the block, or maybe just down the road.

When my Mom encouraged me to walk the house next to the house-next-door and play with the little girl there that was my age, I was petrified. I am certain Mom wanted me out of her hair and happily occupied. I doubt she could have imagined that friendship would become the fertile ground for my self-discovery. What began with shared games like Red Light, Green Light and Mother May I, summer evenings catching fireflies, and playing school, blossomed and grew into a heart-to-heart link.

We grew up sharing secrets on the front porch of the abandoned house across the street. Everyone in our neighborhood called the old place, “Mr. Peacher’s house.” I never met Mr. Peacher. Never saw anyone come or go – though my friend recalls some summer visitors to this home in our little resort town. The house was inviting in its quiet and unassuming manner. The unadorned front porch served as our own little clubhouse with a beautiful view of the river. On that porch, safely out of earshot of prying adults and pestering siblings, we sat huddled together repeating the cycle: listen, talk, and laugh – over and over again. The seasons passed into years, and soon we were two teenagers pondering our futures, casting our ambitions, and trying to figure out boys. On the front porch of Mr. Peacher’s house, I found the acceptance of a true friend.

When I left the small town, determined to make it on my own (think Mary Tyler Moore), I left behind that friendship. We went our separate ways and years ticked by with no contact. And then, my sweet friend reached out, and the friendship picked up right where it left off. 

Front porch friends have sustained me all my life.  To each of these friends, I offer this manifesto, courtesy of Susannah Conway from her book, this i know.

I am an original. Unique. And every day I will do my best to remember this and graciously accept the extraordinary me-ness that is not ego or arrogance, but a gentle and humble recognition of the fact that
there is only one of me. Just like there is only one of you.

I'm linking up with Kim Klassen today and my Friday Find is front porch friends.


  1. I LOVE everything about this post!! Visiting from kim klassen

  2. I love your header photos, the lines, shapes and textures are wonderful. Your post is very sweet.

  3. Raising a glass to toast family and friends from MARSHALL AVE/BALL ST. May long-forgotten secrets and special memories live on! I am one of those pesky older siblings, now retired and enjoying life in Fairhope, Alabama. I remember Mr. Peacher and his family. Thanks for sharing, Donna. Thanks to my sister for passing this on. Your well-written commentary and beautiful photos made me cry.


  4. Beautiful post. I too reconnected with a childhood friend after 33 years, and we didn't skip a beat either.

  5. You stirred many emotions with this one Donna. It brings back many fond memories of life on Marshall and Ball and all the great neighborhood kids stopping in to visit. That was back when the kids played in the street together--so much better than sitting alone and playing on computers. Life was so innocent and happy in those days. Thanks for the memories!

    I'm the mom of your good friend.

  6. What a lovely post, Donna !
    And wonderful photos !
    Have a nice Sunday,

  7. A wonderful reminder of many happy years at the corner of Marshall and Ball. All the neighborhood kids played in the streets and visited homes on the block, often enjoying special treats at their friends' homes. It was an innocent and memorable time when kids played together outside rather than sitting alone on a computer oblivious of the wonders of nature and the benefits of fresh air. I am one of the moms who loved it when kids visited or spent the night with us. Thanks for the memories Donna.
    A CB mom.

  8. Thanks so much to all for the kind comments. I am shaped by my interactions, and I thank each of you for contributing to my growth in such a positive way.

  9. Late coming to the party, but delighted to be here. I loved this post! Loved the photos, as always, but especially loved the sweetness of a childhood spent in a small town. As a kid growing up in the country, I longed for sidewalks to ride bikes on, friends to go to the dime store with, companionship two doors down. The next time I'm in CB, I'm going to stand at the corner of Ball and Marshall and listen . . . I may hear two girls whispering secrets.


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