One of my very first memories in life is sitting on my grandparents’ porch, rocking back and forth on their hanging swing watching the cars go by. That was it for me, my love for porches had begun. Porches and I have been inseparable ever since. Whether it was a hot summer afternoon sitting on my parents’ porch drinking iced tea, or a freezing October night huddled around the big space heater—not being able to feel my toes but never once thinking of leaving. The porch and I are two peas in a pod. There is something about the security of a roof yet the openness of the outdoors that does something to my heart. (Fun Fact: I almost went to the University of Dayton because their official student portal is called “porches”. True story.)
So, when I was looking for a place to live in Oakland, I didn’t care about much. I didn’t care if I had my own room, or if we had a laundry in unit, or frankly if we had functioning heat (which I currently don’t). All I asked for was a porch. Or even something that was porch adjacent, I would settle for a balcony, a fire escape or a slab on concrete I can put a chair on. My hopes and dreams came true when I, Katy Montgomery, was able to acquire the porch that could put an end to all other Oakland porches.
When I say my porch is almost perfect, I am not joking. A space big enough to sit comfortably with a group of friends, room for movement, socializing and a perfect corner seat on the ledge just for me. Yes, there is likely lead paint flaking into my drink, the floor has more dirt and broken glass than I would care to admit, and there are open wires hanging from the ceiling with the remnants of light that once existed, but it is perfect and it is mine. Well, shared with the eleven other people that live in my house but hey, details. Between my four roommates, myself, and the seven fraternity brothers that live below me, this porch has received its fair share of experiences. To spare everyone who lives at my address, I will not be revealing any embarrassing stories or perhaps illegal ones; instead I will declare the age-old rule: what happens on the porch, stays on the porch. But what I will say is that this porch has seen it all: drinking, heartbreak, dinners, laughter, drinking, naps, Sunday brunches, late night study sessions, and drinking.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my porch, but there is room in my heart for all porches, especially those quirky little porches lining the streets of South Oakland. If you ever lose me at a party in the depths of South O, don’t even bother looking in the basement because I am sure as heck not there. I am sitting on the porch basking in the glory of the crumbling infrastructure of Oakland homes, the shine of the hospital lights upon the streets, the sound of a drunk freshman puking in the bushes and, you know, nature. Getting a bit of fresh (ish) air away from the chaos and giving me the perfect location to both mingle while also giving me a head start for a quick getaway.
I’m not one to romanticize much, but gosh porches do it to me.
If you are ever walking down the poorly lit streets of South Oakland and you spot a lone girl sitting on her porch, looking calm and goofily smiling to herself, don’t hesitate to stop by and say “hi”. I’m sure she would love to share her love of porches with someone who admires them just as much as she does.