Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lenni, Pennsylvania, 1974 (II)

Living Out of Doors

In the previous post, looking back at my picture project from a small Pennsylvania town in 1974, I mentioned how even back then it was startling to see how much time the kids spent playing outdoors, with no adult supervision. It wasn't just the kids. Older folks spent a lot of time sitting on porches, talking over fences and railings, doing yard work in yards no larger than the living room.

The young adults in town also spent a lot of the summer hanging around outside on the street. One of the few businesses left in town was an informal custom garage. You definitely could not get your state inspection sticker renewed, but if you needed someone to help you work on your trike conversion of a '61 VW chassis, it was probably the best place in the county to go.

Families spent lots of time on the porches. Nearly every house had a front porch, many had a side porch as well. Porches seem nearly to have disappeared from suburban house design over the past decades. Even when a subdivision's houses have porches, they seem to be nothing but an architectural decoration that nobody uses.


Simon Griffee said...

I love your Lenni, Pennsylvania series Carl! Beautiful photographs, and a melancholy story.

Programmed childhoods, people who spend most all their time shut in a house or in a car are a depressing reality. It's good to see a glimpse of another way of life.

Carl said...

Thank you, Simon. This set of pictures does feel like a window into the past. I'll try to put up another installment from the series soon.