Deanna in Westford shared this today with neighbors on her FPF…
The thing I love about Front Porch Forum is the feeling of connecting with my neighbors and the sense of community. It’s nice to be able to communicate with your friends and neighbors in a positive way.
Liam posted this heart-warming note to his Front Porch Forum in Cornwall, VT today…
Where to start? Perhaps the best place to start is to say Ben is home and safe. And a lot of that is due to Front Porch Forum…
Ben, our 9-year-old Border Collie, came to us in March having been the stud dog for a puppy mill is PA. He had been locked in a crate 23 hours a day for most of that entire time. He essentially knew nothing about being a dog outside of his crated world. He has been steadily learning about the wider world since his rescue. Monday night he got lost and didn’t know how to find his way back…
At 5:30 the road commissioner called and said Ben had been sighted on Rte 30. We drove to the spot, but no Ben. We went back home and, among other things wrote up a post for FPF, assuming it would be published at the end of the afternoon, as such things usually are.
Wrong! FPF published it IMMEDIATELY! Within minutes, we got our first email about Ben. Reports of sightings began to pour in and continued throughout the day.
After a short while, it appeared that Ben was operating within a fairly small area of Morse Rd in Cornwall. As we went out to explore the area and check out the sightings, everywhere we were greeted by people who knew the story and were on the lookout for Ben.
Long story short, We eventually tracked Ben [and now he’s home]. FPF was instrumental in this community-wide effort. Their quick response set a whole chain of events into motion that resulted in our famiy being reunited. Not only are we so glad to be living in this wonderful and supportive community, we are so glad that FPF is a part of it and has the capacity to really energize it in pursuit of a common goal. Thank you FRONT PORCH FORUM and thank you Cornwall!
Posting published on the Cabot Front Porch Forum Saturday…
Hansel is a shepherd/lab mix, black with tan markings on his chest and legs. He’s wearing a blue collar on which is written my phone number (though it may have rubbed off). He ran off with my landlord’s dog mid-morning on Saturday. Landlord’s dog was discovered in front of Cabot General Store late afternoon Saturday, Hansel is still wandering. Hansel is friendly and will come when called. Please call with any sightings or information about my best friend.
Followed by this one Sunday…
Hansel was several miles away, in lower Cabot. He’s home now, safe, exhausted, limping a bit. Many thanks to all who were watching for him.
And infinite thanks to FPF who posted an entire forum that contained only the posting from me about Hansel. I won’t wait until I win the lottery. I’m making a donation to Front Porch Forum this week. It is an invaluable and vital connection for us all.
By Georgia Lewis
As a child in the 1940s, I enjoyed lazy summer days playing on our big breezy front porch, in the downtown immigrant neighborhood of Buffalo where we lived. In the evening, Mom, Dad and Yiayia, my Greek grandmother, would come out, too. They’d sit on the porch in their white wicker chairs, just like all the other families on our street, visiting back and forth with the neighbors on their porches, all new to the country, sharing gossip and (when we were lucky) sharing wonderful ethnic pastries they’d baked earlier in the day, while the kids played street games. That was when I was a little girl.
In Amherst, the upscale suburb where we moved when I was a teenager, it wasn’t quite the same. There we sat out on patios in back, in Adirondack-style chairs behind hedges and fences. There were no sidewalks and passers-by because everyone drove. You issued invitations if you wanted the company of friends.
Later, when I’d grown up and gone away, my parents moved to a second floor flat a bit closer to the city. In that neighborhood they hauled their folding aluminum chairs out into the driveway and watched the traffic go by. They got their neighbors to do the same and once again enjoyed the informal, daily banter of friends reviewing the day. When they eventually rented an apartment back in the city, they’d sit out on their tiny balcony overlooking a parking lot, calling hello to the few passersby they knew.
Mom said that when she was a girl people would sit out on summer evenings around the fountain in a downtown park, which was actually just an island in the street. It was cooler than their crowded upstairs apartments. On really hot nights, if there was a breeze, they stayed all night and slept there, outside, without fear.
In Potomac, Maryland, the Washington, DC suburb where I lived for 40 years, where my children grew up, houses are air conditioned. People rarely venture outside during the muggy Maryland summers. When they do, they use backyard patios and decks where it’s quiet and private. Instead of congregating in parks, each family has its own playground equipment in its own yard. Busy and driven, neither the adults nor the children are home much so they don’t really know their neighbors very well. They don’t mingle. They know nothing of street games and porch culture.
Once, when sirens wailed and stopped a few doors down from us it turned out to be a devastating teenage suicide–people discreetly kept their distance. My mother, who was visiting at the time, was incredulous. She expected everyone on the block to rush over to find out what happened. To her, it seemed rude not to, as if we didn’t care. To my neighbors, it would have been rude to intrude on a private tragedy.
I learned where my family’s sitting out custom came from when I went to Greece. There it’s called “peripate”, which taken literally means the opposite of sitting–“walking around”. Perhaps it began as walking around to visit in the evening but evolved into more sitting as time went by. Or maybe the younger folks would promenade as the older ones sat. At any rate, the purpose is to mingle.
In Greece every town has a square, which may or may not be an actual square-shaped space. What’s important is not the shape but that it be a space large enough for people to congregate. In Sparti, a town of perhaps 15,000, it is a real square, bordered by the town hall on one side and various shops, outdoor restaurants and cafenios (coffee houses) on the rest. People of all ages meet and mingle from dusk “˜til midnight. Children ride bikes and play, teenagers hang out and adults eat at the outdoor cafes. You can take an hour negotiating a meal for the group, family style. You can sit at the table with a cup of coffee for hours and not feel pressured to move on and let the place make higher profits. The owner might even join you.
In Klada, my grandmother’s birthplace, population 250, the “square” is simply the end of a street that’s been widened a bit. A few chairs in front of a small taverna define it. And in Paraloggi, my father’s birthplace, a tiny village at the top of a mountain, a stone wall at the village entrance serves as the square. The night we drove up to Paraloggi at dusk we were greeted by two dozen weathered-looking men and women, some barefoot children, a donkey and two collie dogs gathered at the wall.
Searching for relatives in these villages, we would arrive at dusk when people were sitting out, and ask if there were any Macherases or Kalogereses or Demopouloses left. We’d be invited to sit and have some juice. We’d be asked about the USA, my children, my parents, my visit, if my daughters were married, if I had grandchildren. We’d learn about their families, too, and any possible connections they had to anyone anyplace in the USA. Our question about my relatives was incidental to the opportunity to visit. You can’t be in a hurry in Greece.
Sitting out is just one of many signs of the communal culture that is Greece. For example, the subway seats face each other, encouraging communication. Shopping is a social experience. On entering a shop, you are expected to chat with the clerk and on leaving you exchange polite good wishes. And the huge stone amphitheatres of ancient times are still used for performances, providing another way for people of all ages to congregate.
A favorite shared pastime in Greece, another form of sitting out, is gathering to watch the sun set. This happens everywhere in the cities, in the mountains, by the sea, on the ships. People congregate in a spot with a good view and chat while they wait for the show. After the sun sinks, they applaud as if watching the curtain drop on an opera or ballet.
Thinking about these spectacular Mediterranean sunsets and the time it takes to properly enjoy them, I contrast the culture of my origin with the American one, the culture of rugged individualism that tells us we can do anything, be anything, own anything, if we work hard enough and compete fiercely enough. The culture that says we must learn to hurry, multitask, be efficient, get ahead. The culture that tells us not to just sit around with friends and neighbors and watch the sun set.
It takes time to live a communal life, to connect with other people. It happens in places where people value live conversation during long, leisurely meals. Where people don’t arrange the furniture to face the TV and watch talk shows, but instead arrange the furniture to face and talk to each other. Where people have friendly conversations before conducting business. Where people gather to watch the sun set and clap when it sinks slowly into the sea. Where people think it’s fine to simply sit out together and do nothing at all.
Now that I’m retired I’ve been thinking about these things, about the value of sunsets and front porches. Being mostly American, I didn’t take the time before. The Greek in me seems to be emerging in my later years. My downtown Bethesda condo faces West and if I sit out on my fourth floor balcony I can often see a lovely, if not spectacular, sunset.
Shared by Sue on today’s Five Sisters Front Porch Forum…
Reports Roger: “It was surreal seeing a moose waltzing down Charlotte St.”
Neighborhood dogs (well, one in particular) say: “Surreal schmurreal. Where’s the blood pressure medicine?”
Others reported on FPF seeing the moose near Oakledge Park.
Check out Nik’s video in the comments… next to Calahan Park in Burlington.
From Penny tonight on the Morrisville FPF…
Hi Neighbors! If you are like me the markings on your tires are written in another language! I mean 205/55/R16? What the heck?
Any way several months ago a fella from Front Porch Forum sent me some information on tire sizing and I came across this web site which is SO easy to use. You put in the make and model of your car and year and it tells you all kinds of tires that will fit your car! I also double check with my car fella just to make sure…
Also I want to post a HUGE thank you to FPF. Today in just 2 hours I found my second set of summer tires for the season! Also last fall I found my sister and friend winter tires within days!
I LOVE FPF!
Posted by Debra on the Waterbury FPF today about the actions of the local long-term community recovery director (Tropical Storm Irene disaster coupled with closing of major employer)…
I want to publicly commend Barbara for her postings on the Waterbury Front Porch Forum.
I admire the way she gets the information out about what projects are happening around town and their status. Her updates to the proposed MC, and times of meetings that are being held, have always been non-opinionated and informative. Also, the inclusion of the various other things going on within our town (e.g., the demolition & reconstruction tours being done at the State complex and even info. about our town’s annual Green-Up Day), are all to the point and give good information for those with a possible interest.
FPF has proven to be a great media tool for passing information quickly, as often-times the date of a meeting or a special event cannot really be planned for because by the time we read about it in the Record, that day is almost upon us and it may be too late to do something.
More & more town citizens sign-up on FPF every day, and while not everyone in this community has a computer, or access to one, most do or they have a smart phone. I’m also guessing that not everyone takes time to log into Waterbury’s Town site. I know I don’t, as I often forget or cannot take time to go the extra step to do so.
But notifications for each FPF hit my personal email box on a daily basis and they are right in front of me. I have found, like I’m guessing others may have as well, that these postings are a a great way to stay in touch with what’s happening (be it projects, updates, for sale stuff, special events, etc.) within our community.
I hope Barbara, or someone else, will continue getting town information out on FPF – even when this current bond vote is resolved one way or the other – as I think it’s a great way to communicate to those who live here, and, for all of us to stay informed as a community. Thanks for doing these, Barb!