Like many baby boomers, Marty grew up on a front porch drinking lemonade and playing monopoly and cards. But life is different today and not just for his family.
"Those days are over for this country as far as I can see. Maybe in other parts of the country it may persist but the metropolitan areas, we're very high speed oriented, the kids of today, young adults are all into the internet, their phones. There's very little conversation going on these days," Marty added.
Conversation. Engagement. Community involvement. It's easy to look at the past as simpler times especially with the technology explosion we face every year. But Marty offered some helpful perspective.
"You know what? My son Paul here who is 22 years old, 35 years from now will be saying boy I wish we could get back to the old days of 2015 and the way we used to communicate. Can you imagine what it'll be like in another 35 or 50 years from now?"
Over the years as I've gotten older and had a son, I wondered if nostalgia was wasted on the young...that the younger generations haven't lived long enough to value 'what was' versus 'what will be.' But I'm learning that's not always true. On this night, Paul shared perspective well beyond his 22 years.
"I even remember growing up in the early 90s even saying 'oh remember 10 years ago that TV show' or even with internet 'remember dial up.' I love to see the world keep growing but I don't want technology to totally consume the human race. It's important to have human-to-human contact."
A millennial speaking off the cuff about what he would love to see. A proud father standing by, happy his son joins him each year for this Lennon tribute. Lasting legacies that will undoubtedly continue into this family's next generation.
As we finished our front porch conversation, Marty tied it all together by coming full circle as to why we are here.
"This is John Lennon's legacy. You have hundreds and hundreds of people standing here singing Beatles songs. The man had an impact upon people's lives. As a parent we have impact on our children's lives.
In Search of a Front Porch
by Ted Canova
After a full day at work and the nighttime ritual of walking my dog Sally, I could have easily walked inside, shut the door and stayed put for the rest of the night. But something was drawing me to another ritual occurring a mile and a half away. Inside Central Park, people were gathering all day singing Beatles songs as a tribute to John Lennon on the anniversary of his death. So that's where I headed, in search of meeting someone with a front porch story.
When I arrived at Strawberry Fields, I walked down the path to a group of fans, some playing instruments, others singing out, and everyone standing in a tight knit circle. I took in the scene, walked around the circle three times, and jumped on a park bench to get a better view. I looked to my right and standing a shoulder's length away was Marty Trent, a father from New Jersey who has attended every one of these December 8th tributes for the last 35 years. Nearby was his 22 year old son Paul and together we walked down the path to talk.