The Best Seat In Town

Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels

Back In The Day… There are many advantages to growing up in the city, but one of my favorite is often overlooked and undervalued… that was the pleasure of sitting on the front porch or in some houses the stoop. During a time when creature comforts like television, air conditioners and internet were not critical needs in life …..sitting out front provided sunshine, a cool breeze, company of neighbors and friends and plain old fresh air.

Stop To Say Hello….In my neighborhood stoops were the norm…. which in many cases was a block of granite stone that served as the the step from the front door to the sidewalk on most homes. Our neighbor hood stoop was a four foot long block of granite in front of the Lavalle’s house. There wasn’t much room on that chunk of stone but it was a choice gathering place just the same. Those who wanted to watch the show could take a seat….those who had something to say took the sidewalk stage to tell their stories, jokes and fibs like street performers. Passers bye would wave, honk or stop and ask ….how ya been, where ya been, how’s ya mom, say hello to your dad, brother, sister etc…

Laughter, Memories and Belonging…. It might sound like a simple thing to sit or stand with neighbors out front but it played a big part in our ability to make sense of the world. More important it gave us a forum to laugh at ourselves which provided a counterbalance for who we were and what really mattered. It helped us report and record our failures and successes in life which stitched together became our memories. Those memories provided a sense of belonging to our community.

During the last few years before my mom passed she always wished to once again sit out front. I figured she learned her chops growing up on Marcella Street in Cambridge and imagined she was the featured performer on her sidewalk stage. Known far and wide as a lady who shot from the hip, one was never quite sure what was about to come out of her mouth… but one thing was for certain, it was going to be funny, truthful (as she understood it) and memorable…. If I could transport back in time, I’d port back to the days when the stoop was a thing and I’d pay for a seat on those granite steps…. To me at any price it was the best seat in town……

18-20 Marcella St Unit 4, Cambridge, MA 02141 -®

One thought on “The Best Seat In Town

  1. Ferg,

    Just wanted to say I enjoy reading your Cambridge posts. Your memories of neighborhood life in the “Port” are the same as mine in “Neighborhood Nine” (…guessing it’s a recent naming ‘cause I don’t remember my neighborhood having a nickname back in the ‘60s). It’s been nearly a decade since I last visited Cambridge and my old ‘hood has gentrified to the point where I only recognize the physical structures and even most of those have changed. Anyway, looking forward to your next post. Hope all’s well!

    Liked by 1 person

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