Laura Richards, MA

Critically Acclaimed Writer

An experienced journalist for over 15 years, Laura focuses on writing personal essays and reported pieces on a wide range of topics including parenting, lifestyle, health, and evergreen content. Some of the many publications she’s written for include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe Magazine, Redbook, House Beautiful, Woman’s Day, Martha Stewart Living, Reader’s Digest, and U.S. News & World Report, among many others. Laura was born and raised in the Boston area and has chosen to raise her family here. She lives west of Boston with her husband and four sons including a set of identical twins.

As a Story Terrace writer, Laura interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

The Bonding Power of the Front Porch

It was the height of the real estate bubble and my husband and I were priced out of the town where we were renting. We saw a listing in a neighboring community and put in the winning bid on an adorable Cape. Overpriced, yes, in a neighborhood with “a lot of pickup trucks,” as my father noted, but it was ours. It was home.

The house was on a long, narrow lot, and the houses on either side were too close for comfort. It didn’t have a garage or any bells and whistles, but it did have something unique, something that none of the other houses on the street had: a glorious farmer’s porch straight across the front. I instantly fell in love.

We furnished it with a line of rocking chairs and a porch swing. The porch had such an inviting quality that everyone who passed by was drawn to come up and rock for a while. It provided the chance to meet and get caught up on the goings-on of their lives. My porch essentially introduced me to my neighbors and helped to forge deep bonds that remain today.

In the early days, I noticed an older couple who took a nightly walk and would wave to me on the porch. Eventually they would end their walk by coming up to chat and rock. I learned that they raised four daughters a few houses down, were French Canadian, and loved Christmas. When my boys were born, they became like grandparents. She made goodies and even knitted blue-and-white blankets for them. One night she arrived on the porch in tears to tell me that they just couldn’t keep up the rigors of homeownership any longer and were moving into an apartment. She and I stood, both in our pajamas, and cried in each other’s arms. We promised to stay in touch, which we did until their deaths several years later.

The porch is where I sought refuge on September 11, 2001 and many other times when life didn’t make sense. It was often a place of solitude from the rigors of parenthood. Its wood posts bear messy pencil lines that lovingly mark the heights of my kids as they’ve grown.

A balm and a comfort that I still enjoy every day.

laura-and-fourth-son-on-front-porch

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