Does anyone remember those evenings on the front porch
breaking beans and stringing them to make 'leather
britches," peeling little knotty apples to dry them
on a screen in the sun? Makes my mouth water now just
thinking about fried apple pies and old timey stack cake.
Children playing with June and lighting bugs. I remember
taking the light part and wearing it for a ring. Oh, the
things we did to amuse ourselves. My grandparents, Tilman
and Emily Dunn Keck were a very important part of my
growing up years. I just wish I had listened closer back
Does anyone have any ideas how we can impart this
important message to our children, today?
Gayle, the only suggestion I have is just DO IT with your
kids...go outside and sit on the porch, shut off the TV
and talk. Let the kids play. I live out in the country,
and I have to beg and plead with my kids to come in to
eat, etc., let alone go to bed. They come in filthy...and
oh do I mean filthy.
My kids play a lot like I did when I was growing up, and
I really have to bite my tongue to keep from getting on
them about being filthy etc. I remember catching
lightening bugs, but what I remember better is making mud
pies...oh was I an awesome mud pie baker!! My pies had
green grass, dry grass, hay, straw, sawdust, rocks,
pebbles, sand, leaves and you name it used as special
People have just gone away from the "family"
way of life and everyone leads their own life from the
age of birth now days. TV is more important than family
Sooooo until I get that message properly written...I will
simply say...spend time with your kids like your parents
spent time with you...you say why can't things be like
they used to be...well they can....just do it...bring
back the old ways.
from Mary Ann
Did you ever sweep the dirt with a broken tree branch and
rock line the wall for a play house? You definitely did
not walk over the walls, you went to the appropriate
door. Or did you grade the dirt to play cars and make
roads? Have you put a quilt out in the shade of the house
and found the pictures in the clouds in the sky? How
simple the days were, but fun. We played together at any
age and got along because we were taught to love and
respect each other.
Yes, yes, yes, Mary Ann...I've done all those things! How
about raking and using leaves as the walls of the house?
Not as orderly, but they worked. Hopscotch, jacks,
hide-n-seek? How many still have their skate keys? I have
my skates but the key has been lost...:@( I remember
sitting on the porch swing in the summer. My father would
sit and brush our (my sis and I) hair in the evening and
tell us what it would be like when we grew up and had a
family of our own. Things didn't turn out the way I first
imagined, but I had a wild imagination *grin*. We sure
didn't have the worries that kids do today. Thanks for
the memories... :@)
Oh, Mary Ann, such a nice memory! I gathered pine needles
and wrapped twine around the tops....made the best
playhouse broom! And those playhouses plotted out in the
dirt....you must walk to the 'window' to see who was
coming to visit!
I've been a quilter since the age of 8, and have always
made 'play quilts' for my children and grandchildren to
spread out under a shady tree to read and play. I was
surprised when my daughter included one of her own
childhood play quilts in with her daughter's things on a
recent visit. It was hard to believe the little squares
came from leftover fabric from her toddler dresses!
from Patti in Alabama
Just wondering if only people from the South remember
sitting on Grandma's front porch, eating watermelon and
spitting the seeds off the porch, ( when your parents had
always told you to eat it at the table like a civilized
from Katherine in Colorado
I remember the porch at our house as a child. In the day
it was a good place to take our naps, as it was covered
with vines to keep it cool, and as was just mentioned a
nice place to gather for cores such as snapping beans,
and shelling peas, preparing apples for a pie.
But the most fun was laying in the grass and watching the
art work in the clouds, and then at night the wonderful
starry creations. To many city lights to see all the
night beauty, but do still lay in the grass during the
summer, with my grandkids, and giggle, and as my little 3
yr. old grand son says -- we're just watching the world
from our ListHostess, Shirley
Our neighbors always had a nice garden. I only remember
us having one once...maybe Mom got tired of doing all the
work?! So...I remember as a child snapping peas and beans
with the neighbors, feeding the goats, horse, chickens,
guinea hens (Lord, how they screech!!) and other assorted
Time has passed and even though we haven't been neighbors
for 30+ years, we've kept in touch. I told the mom
recently my happy memories of when she did homemade
rootbeer. She was surprised I remembered it. LOL - I
remember wondering if the lids would blow off. And
helping to wash/sterilize all those jugs!!
We don't have lightning bugs in Washington State :( but I
saw them in Kansas when I went there 2 years running in
the early 90s for family reunions. The first trip, I went
alone. The 2nd time, Mom and my sister went with me (oh,
what trip!!!). When we left the nursing home one evening
after visiting an elderly cousin, I was in the car and
couldn't figure out why Mom and Linda were taking so long
getting from the sidewalk to the car.
Looked over, and Linda was pointing at something. Well,
there wasn't anything to look at that I could tell...
When they finally got into the car, I asked what they'd
been looking at. Linda said, lightning bugs. Oh, I
replied, maybe that's what I kept seeing here last year.
I thought I was dizzy and seeing stars!!! Sheesh...one
more blooper for me to live down...
I remember snapping those beans, not for britches but to
eat.(smile) I also remember playing with lightning bugs.
The summers I spent with my grandmother will always make
me smile. Thanks for helping me remember truly good times
Oh man, you picked some great memories!!! My great aunt
and uncle lived "in town" and they had a front
porch swing. My legs weren't long enough to reach the
ground to help "push," but I remember being
fascinated with the perfect rhythm of that swing. We fed
birds and tossed nuts to the squirrels that lived in this
huge shade tree in the front yard, snapped
beans, ate watermelon and generally watched the world go
My great aunt and uncle never had children and I remember
spending lots of time with them ... and loving it. My
great aunt taught my sister and I to slurp spaghetti like
big worms (we could only eat it that way at her house!)
My great uncle taught me to fish (with the patience of
Job, I might add), and he had a workshop in the basement.
I used to spend hours with him "fixing things."
They were in their sixties when I was born, and some of
my best memories are of time spent with them.
I think back and am amazed at the constant relationship I
had with them all through my childhood. I always wanted
to stay overnight at their house (and they would let
me!). When my uncle was in his 90s he would help me do my
chores (had to mow 3 acres with push mower, rake the
grass and haul it to my mom's garden) ... and no, it
wasn't punishment, it was my regular summer chore.
Now punishment took a different angle: my dad was not a
violent man, but he did expect that a child should do as
they were told. I can't remember what I did wrong, but I
remembered the punishment well enough to never get in
that much trouble again. My dad had a "chat"
pile (very fine chipped rock/gravel) which he used for
various work. For punishment I was to move the chat pile
from point "A" to point "B." Eleven
wheelbarrows full -- two of which I dumped over because I
filled it too full and couldn't push it.
By the time I got the piles moved and told my dad I was
finished, I had big plans to stay out of his hair for a
while. Well, that's when the real punishment began -- my
day wasn't over until I moved the chat pile back to where
it was in the first place! He didn't need it moved, but I
needed a lesson I wouldn't soon forget!
page was last updated June 24, 2002.