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« You don't have to be so schneid about it | Main | Copy that »

January 29, 2007



But the milkman and the iceman AREN'T COMING ANYMORE.

Not now, but someday, in our hour of greatest need, they will come again.


Thank you for a very informative piece on "service porch". This is the closest I've come to a definition of the word which, incidentally, is used in a book I'm translating. I didn't actually get anywhere closer to finding a proper translation of the word (as you say, no dictinary even mentions it) but at least I kind of know what it is now. Still, I may have to opt for the "laundrey room" rather than the "porch" explanation.

Susan G. Finley

Thank you, thank you. My daughter-in-law just asked me what in the world was a service porch. She'd actually been in mine in southern California but had no idea that that was what it was called. I was raised in Fresno California and my father was from Utah and my mother was from Oregon and that's what they called that room in both houses that we lived in. All of them had washing machines, sinks, utility boxes, hot water heaters and a broom closet. The milk man and the iceman (during the war) used it as the enterance (service entrance?) All these houses were built in the late 30s but I have a friend with an older house where the room could actually have been a porch before it got enclosed. I think the term won't die out until the original service porches are gone, unless we forget to tell the new owners what they're called.

L. Thompson

Thank you, thank you for this as well. I have never called a laundry room a service porch, however, in all my parents and grandparents suburban Southern California homes of the sixties there was a laundry room, with a half-bath, and a back door with a window that let 'back door friends' (not the kind referred to in the song) but neighbors and the milkman and the girls selling cookies visit without going through the formality of the hallway into the living room.

The home I live in now, built in 1962, has an abbreviated service porch, with a dutch door, a bath and a place for laundry machines. These doors had their own doorbells and a ring that was different from the one at the front of the house. Do you suppose it was a pretense of the era? A modern suburban tradesman's entrance? I wrote the term in a story and realized I probably hadn't heard it in almost fifty years. So I googled it, winding up here.

Dang, ours didn't have a salami! I feel so cheated. I am not anywhere near old enough to have had an ice man, but the milk man came to our house, and the family used it as the entrance since it was the closest to the detached garage where we parked my mom's pink 57 Bel Air.

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