In the beginning it was just that, a single screened in porch extending the full width of the house on the west. It was a big dust catcher. To hide the utility end of the porch, we made a trellis and installed it as a divider. It went from floor to ceiling. At this time we had a three-year-old granddaughter living with us. So…. I could see how this south end would make an ideal play pen.
I covered the floor and wall below the windows with linoleum for easier cleaning. It was also ideal in that one could rest assured the she was safe and happy, with only a peek now and then through the dining room door.
She was very happy there, and when she wanted to be alone, she would pull the door shut, and no one bothered her. But there was no way for her to leave the porch except through the dining room.
Of course, she had all out doors for fresh air and lots of room for exercise. The porch was still open to all kinds of weather, and in case of rain, we’d have to put all play things back against the house wall.
She was a little clipper. One day she wanted to move more things than she could carry in both hands. She figured it out though. She filled her two sand buckets with the smaller things, grasped the dolls under one arm, put a bucket bail in her mouth and the other bucket in the other hand, and all bent over, she made the move without incident.
The back porch was ideal when playmates came for a visit. It was so easy to keep a watchful eye and ear out for anything that might come along as differences of opinions and such. I know she enjoyed the many months that she was in the play pen.
Eventually she out grew it. We then, with the help of our men folks, converted the old cistern concrete platform that is just off the north end, into a play house. We added a wooden floor, three walls and a roof. The fourth side opened into the utility end of the porch. That gave her access to the yard without having to run through the house proper. All too soon she out grew that too.
After that we used the little room for storage of garden tools and such. Another phase of my back porch history was ended.
This essay was written by my grandmother, Lucile Ann Bigler, probably half a century ago. It was found, undated, in a small box of her manuscripts. Probable date is 1960-something.