Christmas Greetings From All


Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: This photo caught my attention for a certain kind of crystal clear beauty and atmosphere. It is timeless and I was somewhat surprised to realize it was sent on Christmas Day, all the way back in 1909. The message, in a clear beautiful hand, reads, Christmas Greetings from all at “560 Beech.” It is not signed however and it is addressed to Mrs. Harry S. Additon, Dover, New Hampshire. It was sent from Manchester, New Hampshire (I believe, although the state is a bit hard to read where the stamp is canceled) and sent at 12M – midnight? Midday?

It looks like a lovely porch and we are ready to have a look out the telescope and curl up in the chair with a good book. No sign of winter either (there is snow out my New York City window as I write this mid-December) and the evergreens are no indicator as to the time of year. Of course, just because this was mailed on December 25 doesn’t mean it wasn’t taken earlier in the year, and we can’t be sure. Kitty seems very relaxed on his perch for winter in New Hampshire however. (And yes, in 1909 it appears you could mail something on December 25!)

There is nothing like a good porch for sitting on. My grandmother had a splendid one and it is probably the only porch I have had the pleasure of spending any real amount of time on. It was deep and shaded, and the heavy wooden chairs rocked. There was a small table had a red basket made of a thin woody material placed in the middle of it – perhaps with a pumpkin or holding some gourds in the fall. The arms of the chairs were big enough to hold a sweating, heavy glass of ice tea (for the adults) or sweet lemonade (mostly for the kids). There was a bird in the large, old, leafy trees which provided additional shade on a hot summer day, and an old tree stump that held a potted geranium. A whirligig too, but in all fairness I can’t remember if you could see him saw his wood from there or if he was around the other side of the house. That porch was a universe to small kids like me and my sister circa 1970 or so.

My grandmother’s house was on the corner lot of a fairly busy street in a small town, several towns over from where we lived. It was the house my mother grew up in, for the most part anyway, there  having been another when she was very little. (She showed us that house and a candy store had opened in it – fascinating!) My grandmother’s was a neighborhood that still had sidewalks, entirely residential and people did walk by and sometimes they would say hello, mostly not. The back porch was a place where my grandmother could see everything going on in her neighborhood and be seen. There was sometimes a wave from her neighbors, especially her friend Elaine on the opposite corner, across the street. She was a stout woman and she’d say how big we kids were getting. It was the kind of porch that made you more or less the unofficial mayor of your neighborhood, news central.

The porch in this photo is a more private one – shaded like my grandmother’s, but out in the country. This one is for communing with nature and contemplating it, watching birds at their business and spotting the occasional fox or badger, daydreaming. It is a country porch, not a suburban one. Both have their own charms. Funny how it has made me think of long ago summer and fall, but not Christmas and winter. Not yet!



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