At Front Porch Storytelling (LLC), our approach to book publishing and book writing is rooted in the same stories and traits shared on the front porches many of us grew up on.
The American front porch was open and sociable, a part of the house that belongs to everyone. In essence, it was an outdoor living room for family and friends to pass the time- a place where advice was garnered, jokes were told, songs were sung, and stories were spun. The front porch represented the cultural ideals of family and community. When you walked down the streets of Hudson Falls, the importance of its role in building community was evident.
This is the house that I grew up in on William Street. Let me share with you the story of how my front porch and the tale of “The Garden Raid” came together.
In 1962, a couple named John and Sue moved from Fort Edward to Hudson Falls with four of their seven children. They were known as the Nassies, not to be confused with the Massie family.
On the day of my arrival, a young boy of approximately 4 years of age pedaled his red tricycle across the concrete slabs of the sidewalk. His thighs and knees bobbed up and down with each stroke of the pedals. His arms were tuck tight to his side as his head leaned out over the handlebars. He raced towards the house at 100 mph. Well maybe not 100mph, but definitely faster than the village speed limit. He skidded to a stop next to the old maple tree and introduced himself. “Hey. My name is Scott,” he said. My longest friendship started that day.
The upstairs window to the left was my bedroom. There were two sets of bunk beds, four brothers, eight stinky feet, and a countless number of Smelly Socks. Empty tree branches and piles of fallen leaves meant that autumn was in full bloom. It was a time to play football and get in a last night of backyard camping. The neighborhood was our playground- front yards, backyards, schoolyards, and even an occasional garden.
At night and on rainy days, my brothers, sisters, Scott, Bruce, Mark, Darf, and other childhood friends would gather on our front porch to listen to my mother tell stories. Me, my family, and friends were the characters in many of the stories. No matter the challenge, the children on William Street always came out on top. Now as I reflect back, it is apparent to me that I learned some of the most important lessons in life on my front porch.
My mom shared the gifts of understanding that things aren’t always what they first seem to be, friendships are made over time, we were all born with special gifts to share, when you give to others you are giving to yourself, and life is about making choices for the better of all.