Do you remember the first time you saw the front porch at Randolph School? The first time you climbed the stairs, looked at the welcome sign, stood before the big front doors, and maybe even sat for a minute on the bench? How about the first time you walked up to the porch with your child, holding their hand as they struggled to control the tottering weight of their new shiny backpack? Think back to the first time you peered expectantly up at a porch filled with children, looking for your own special child as they, in turn, stretched their necks, peering down from the porch trying to catch sight of you. Perhaps they were quick and met you with a jump on the brick path leading to the porch steps, or maybe you got to the steps first, or even all the way up on to the porch itself before giving them a big hug.
Our expansive and welcoming front porch has been an important feature of the Randolph School building for a long time. As far as we know, it has been attached to the building since it was constructed some time around 1890. In that time, I imagine people used to call out from our porch to neighbors as they rode by on horseback. Later, they probably marveled as the first automobiles streaked by on what was then Rt. 6, heading north to Wappingers Falls.
The porch has stood the test of time well, and remains as beautiful and important as ever. It does, however, need a little bit of tender loving care from time to time. Over November break, a crew of carpenters will be swarming beneath the porch, digging holes and pouring cement to fortify and replace the foundational support system of the porch which has slowly begun to show the effects of years and years of Hudson Valley weather.
In thinking about the porch, I offer you an invitation to do something I did today with a group of Upstairs students that brought a smile to my face: Take a moment to close your eyes and think about the first time you saw the porch at Randolph School and climbed it’s steps. How did it make you feel? Think about your favorite memory or experience on the porch. What was it? And then take a moment to think about what the porch represents and means to the students and families of Randolph School. You might be surprised to find a little smile on your face as well!
Enjoy your long weekend. I’ll see you on the porch on Tuesday!