Ken and Janice Tate

Dear Friends of the Good Old Days,

In my humble opinion, there’s no better feature on a house than a welcoming front porch. And if that porch has a big ol’ wooden swing hanging from its rafters, well, that’s the cherry on top.

I realize a front porch may be out of style these days, and not in step with some of the more modern architectural designs, but I think that’s regrettable. In my Good Old Days, I spent countless hours on the front porch my folks added on to their 1920s-built, two-story home. The porch was made of flagstone, had a shingled roof, and was large enough to host make-believe tea parties, neighborhood games of jacks, and playtime with an ever-present batch of kittens. The wide grout between the rocks became roadways for our toy cars and trucks. And its location perfectly served as a shaded home base during hot summer games of tag and hide-and-seek. Only strangers came to this entrance—everyone else used the kitchen door by the driveway—so the front porch was all ours.

But best of all, that porch had a swing: a barn-red one, consistently in need of another coat of paint. I was often found sprawled out there, feet propped up on the armrests, reading a book, or playing the harmonica I got for my 10th birthday (see photo). If I went missing, my mom checked the porch swing first. As I got older, that swing was where I sat and watched the cars go by, hoping one of them with a cute boy driving would stop for a flirty chat.

Apparently I’m not the only one with a nostalgic affinity for porches. We received scores of contributions from our readers on the topic. We share a sampling of them in this issue, along with stories of unforgettable classroom characters (some were us!) and train travel through a child’s eyes. If you’re lucky, you’ll be reading all of them on a welcoming front porch somewhere.

’Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger signature
Mary Beth Weisenburger, Editor

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.