Grandma’s Porch

My grandma’s house in Chicago has an enclosed front porch. There’s a swing out there, a few chairs, sometimes a table or two. I’ve sat on that porch, I’ve eaten on that porch, and I’ve slept on that porch.

In 1987 by buddy Jeff rode along with my family on our annual Chicago vacation. That’s us outside the Museum of Science and Industry. I’m on the left, Jeff’s on the right. My cousins Brandy and Paula are down front and my sister Linda’s on the right. That’s my Uncle Joe behind the pole. I don’t remember who took the picture. During that trip, Jeff and I slept on grandma’s front porch. We spent the first night sleeping on grandma’s plastic lawn chairs, which didn’t prove to be particularly comfortable. The next night, we attempted to drag a metal bed frame up from the basement to sleep on. In the process, we put a big rip in the linoleum on grandma’s kitchen floor. We covered the rip with a kitchen rug and, after everyone else went to sleep, snuck out out of the house and walked to the nearest convenient store to buy some glue. The convenient store clerk, convinced we were going to sniff the glue, would not sell us any. Instead, we bought some rubber gasket sealer. We got lost on the walk back to grandma’s house and got stopped by one of Homewood’s finest, who gave us a personal escort back to grandma’s house. We were able to sneak back in without being noticed. The gasket sealer, as expected, worked horribly for repairing the linoleum. We left the rug in place covering up the tear and never told anyone. It’s probably still there.

Then there was the time in the early 90s that I tried to impress a girl by telling her I was “planning a trip to Chicago by myself.” Her response was, “can I go too?” With my bluff called, I had to admit that I didn’t really know how to get to Chicago, nor did I have a car that would make the trip.

“We can take my car,” Susan said. “And we’ll get a map.” And, just like that, the two of us set out on our first road trip together. We weren’t sleeping in the same bed at that point in time and so the two of us ended up out on grandma’s porch. At least I did. I think Susan got a bed inside the house. The picture above is of Susan next to a model from Independence Day on display at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Then there was the infamous drive I made from Boston to Chicago in the late 90s. After a week’s worth of nightmares about my flight home ending in a fiery crash while stuck in Boston for work, on the day of my flight home I was informed that my plane had been delayed due to mechanical issues and that was enough for me to cancel the flight and rent a car. I picked up my rental and set out from Boston to Chicago. Susan, Jeff, and his wife Heather set out from Oklahoma to meet me there. We all rendezvoused in Chicago and crashed on, you guessed it, grandma’s porch. The four of us drove back from Chicago to Oklahoma the following day. The plane I was supposed to fly home on exploded.

Not really. But it could have.

Now, grandma’s porch is not the only place to sleep when we visit Chicago. My Aunt Linda and Uncle Buddy have a spare bedroom and couch that are always available. My Aunt Debi and Uncle Joe’s house has futons, couches, recliners, and a spare bedroom as well. Unlike a hotel, these are not places one needs reservations for. I’m sure I could show up in Chicago any day of the year unannounced and have a place to stay. If I had friends of family in tow, they would have a place to stay too. That’s just how my family is. I’ve taken a few friends with my on trips to Chicago. All of them have left well-fed and hungover.

But all of those places are first come, first serve, and all of them are more comfortable than grandma’s porch, which is guaranteed to be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. During the summer, you’ll get to sleep to the soothing tones of Homewood’s police and fire departments, guaranteed to wake you up at least once during the night.

That being said, grandma’s house was always open to anyone needing a place to crash for the night — and if all the beds were taken, there was always room available out on the porch.

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2 comments to Grandma’s Porch

  • I bet your Grandma knew you messed up the linoleum on the floor, but didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. Haha. Grandma’s always seem to know what the Grand Kids are up to :)

  • Mom

    First time your dad and I went to Chicago, he’d wrecked his bike and didn’t have a ride. I said we’ll take my car. LOL AND, we slept in lawn chairs on the porch. Different house, different porch, same old story. :-)