Large yard …
I didn’t realize how lucky I was when I was growing up. My parents’ home has two large side yards and a large backyard. When my siblings and I were kids, we would play in the yard every day with our neighborhood friends.
The side yards were perfect for all of our games. We spent many hours playing softball, kickball and volleyball. My sister, best friend and I would practice cheerleading routines and play with batons in the yard.
And in the fall and winter, my brother and I would toss a football back and forth. It was especially fun to dive for a catch when you could fall into a pile of leaves or soft snow.
The older I got, the more I appreciated the yard as it was a place for me to take photographs of my mom’s beautiful flowers and test out my portrait skills by doing photoshoots with friends.
Now that I have my own yard—which is much smaller, I realize how fun it was to have such a large yard growing up.
Front porch …
The place for our family to be in all seasons but winter was the front porch.
In spring, a freshening breeze blew the dust of that sedentary season off family members. In summer, during an era before air conditioning, that breeze and the shade from the bedroom above cooled those who sat in its chairs on a hot afternoon or still-warm evening. And in autumn, the porch afforded a view of the vivid fall colors of the trees in the distance. Even during winter, sitting on the wide porch railing offered some respite to those shoveling snow off of the driveway.
Family gathered on the porch for conversation and comfort. On patriotic holidays, neighborhood friends found their way to the porch in order to watch the displays of community fireworks set off only a few hundred yards in front of it. And visiting relatives lingered on the porch long after they departed through the front door.
Many of my memories of childhood were born on the front porch.
Swimming pool …
My parents put in a swimming pool when I was 5, and that always was my favorite thing about our house. My sister and I have summer birthdays, so we had the best parties ever when we were growing up. My mother used to boldly keep the pool open well into September, and it made summer feel longer when I could swim after school. She still has the swimming pool, and I still love reading a book on a raft or jumping in after a long run—I leave a bathing suit at her house year-round.