The Front Porch Patrol.
This was a coordinated, unspoken effort to police the neighborhood children. Under the guise of sweeping the porch, shoveling snow, collecting the daily paper or mail, they were always out there.; always vigilant.
The effort was mostly led by stay-at-home moms, grandparents, shift workers with strange hours, older ladies who never married, the retired, the homebound. The only requirement was to care about your community.
If you were caught fighting, or swearing, or disrespecting your elders, it was reported.
If you were injured, or hungry, they would take you in, tend to your needs, then walk you home.
They knew you by name, and where you belonged. Anyone strange to the “hood” was subject to questioning .
“Who are you, where do you live, does your family know you’re here ?”
It was a different era, and most of us would have been classified as “free range” children by today’s standards. There were no visible adults chaperoning our play time.
They couldn’t be seen in the backyards, the alleys, the street.
But the eyes and ears were there, guiding us from that front porch.
We were the lucky ones.