Saturday, November 08, 2008

Writer's Island Journals
prompt # 5

Porches are great places to learn. They're like classrooms; neighborhood classrooms. You learn different things depending on what porch you sit on; front, back or side porch. Each gives it's inhabitant a unique perspective on the outside world.

Now I'll give you that not everyone is a porch person, and that's ok, we can't all have the same likes and ways of looking at the world. But I'm a porch person, born an bread. Probably my favorite porch is the one I spent a lot of time on as a young lad growing up: Aunt Nellie's. Aunt Nellie and Uncle Ed's front porch wasn't all that big. You could fit three porch chairs on it, four if you put one in front of the door. And you could rest your feet up on the railing without any manuevering or stretching. Really, it was small by todays standards but it got plenty of use and the railings subbed as seats too when necessary. It was close to the side walk. The steps down met the edge of the sidewalk. One chatted with neighbors passing by, and cross porch talk was common. I spent many an afternoon, especially on rainy days, next door on Linda's much larger porch learning how to become a champion canasta player. No this isn't going to be about becoming a champion card player, but it did seen to fit, so why not use it?

One of these days I'm going to start a new blog and call it, "life from Aunt Nellie's porch."

One of the things I did almost daily at Aunt Nellie's was to read the newspaper. The fact that I could read means that i must have been between the ages of 8 and 17. In those formative years, years before TV (we got our first TV when I was twelve), two things in the newspaper interested me: the comic strips and the sports page. Is the light bulb starting to brighten now? The sports page for sure had plenty of champions. The comics were full of heroes, and champions too. This is where the lessons of my family were reinforced. Characters that stood up for the underdog, who believed in being responsible, in hard work, patriotism, and mom and apple pie. most all of these characters have passed from the funny pages. Prince Valiant is still with us and I still read him every Sunday. In my formative years though, these are the characters that impressed me and imparted their values to me and my friends:

Joe Palooka was my most favorite. Other favorites were; The Phantom, Popeye, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, and Superman. Let's not forget Captain Easy.

These guys were courageous, upstanding, champions of the little guy and America. Each of these characters displayed integrity, honesty and citizenship. They showed courtesy and respect for authority as well as respect for others, property and the environment. They displayed a strong work ethic, and self discipline. They had an appreciation for education, and had courage and a spirit of cooperation.

Another champion:
Gene Autry's horse.
We listened to the radio out on the porch too.

What a success story that man was for representing the best of humankind.

Autry created the Cowboy Code or Cowboy Commandments in response to his young radio listeners aspiring to be just like Gene.

1.The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
  1. 2.He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
  1. 3.He must always tell the truth.

4.He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
5.He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6.He must help people in distress.
7.He must be a good worker.
8.He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
9.He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
10.The Cowboy is a patriot.

Champions on the sports page:
How about Oct 5th, 1955. I was 10 years old and my team beat the vaunted NY Yankees in 7 games. The Brooklyn Dodgers won the World series champion ship!!

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images

Johnny Podres, with Roy Campanella, right, and Don Hoak, was at the center of Brooklyn's celebration after winning Game 7 of 1955 World Series.

If I asked you what you'd guess my favorite breakfast food was in those years, you'd probably say Wheaties and you would be 100% correct. The Wheaties box was another place to get introduced to The Wheaties box was another place to get introduced to Champions:
and it still is

Aunt Nellie's porch was a great place to study humankind and see what it was that made someone a champion.

There is a park across the street from Aunt Nellie's house and I played a lot of baseball there and watched many local athletes compete there. It was a training ground for many local champions.

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Blogger Epiphany said...

I love that you wrote about porches. I loved my Grammy's porch in Kansas - which I actually wrote about in my post from yesterday -and my great-grandmother's porch in Texas. I learned so much about life on those porches. Its so wonderful to revisit those times when everything was so much simpler.

9:12 PM  
Blogger willow said...

I have some sweet porch memories, too. My great aunt had a wonderful swing on her Indiana porch. Brings back thoughts of a quieter, simpler day. Sigh.

I grew up eating Wheaties, too!

9:50 PM  
Blogger Remiman said...

Aunt Nellie was actually my great aunt too. Since my dad was the youngest of 11 children and both his parents died young, his father's sister, Aunt Nellie was a surogate and likewise served as my grandmother.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Churlita said...

I love porches too. I don't have one now, but my friends do, and there's nothing like drinking beer or wine on the porch and talking with all the neighbors as they pass by. Man, I miss Summer already. Sigh.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Stan Ski said...

Sitting on the porch and socialising - great when it's warm enough to actually do it.

8:03 PM  

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