Birthplace of Writers
I remember the first story I wrote. It was on the front porch of the house where I was born. I wanted to feel and look like a real writer and used Grace Metalious on the back cover of Peyton Place as my model.
Dressed in a sweat shirt, I lit a cigarette and typed on a portable typewriter. I used an empty tuna can as an ashtray. I may have added a glass of wine to perfect a writer’s world. That story is forgotten but that day is still etched in my memory. I made a lot of smoke. I was a writer.
I thought of that porch when I rode through a neighborhood in the Bay area a few days ago: beautiful homes with well manicured front lawns but not a sign of humanity in sight.
Our porch, two steps from the ground, was the gathering place for neighborhood kids and adults. We sat and talked story until the sun went down. Many bottles of beer were emptied by my father and his friends after work. Sometimes we just sat in silence and watched the day end. Then everyone returned home for supper.
It was my porch until I left home at age 18. During that year, the house was split in half by earthquakes. Before the lave flow could reach the house, the Red Cross took the house out in two parts and after a year, it was relocated to a new site. The Red Cross did what needed to be done without input from my parents. It was a time of disaster.
The Red Cross built a porch nine steps from ground level and gave us a panoramic view of Ohi’a trees and rooftops. Someone knew the porch had to be retained. That house no longer exists and I live in a different state now.
The other evening I observed people with electronic gadgets attached to their ears, each in his or her own world, walking past our house. I thought of our porch.