Renee Morad, NJ

Premium Writer

Renee is a freelance writer focused on health and science, technology, and personal finance. She has been published in The New York Times, Scientific American, Forbes, and NPR, among other outlets. Previously, she was a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal’s personal finance magazine SmartMoney and a homepage editor for She is a graduate of New York University with a BA in Journalism. Prior to her journalism career, Renee was a professional contemporary ballet dancer. She performed in theaters around New York City and on a cruise ship that sailed around Scandinavia, Mediterranean Europe, and the Caribbean.

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

Did You Eat?

On a typical weekday afternoon, my younger siblings and I would race home from the bus stop at the tip of our long, winding driveway. In our suburban Connecticut home, we’d slide our backpacks and jackets to the mudroom floor and answer our mom’s burning question, “Did you eat your lunch today?”

“Yes, moooom,” our voices echoed.

My mother was almost always in the kitchen, wooden spoon for stirring never more than an arm’s reach away. Marinara sauce was usually simmering on the stove as she whipped up her latest Italian dish. Dad was still out building others’ American dreams, literally, as a home builder and electrician.

The four of us children, and our small army of neighborhood friends, would dive into the depths of our own imaginations for the rest of the afternoon. Treehouse escapades, ballet lessons in the foyer, street hockey marathons held with reckless abandon and not nearly enough padding, and more unfolded each day.

But once the dinner table was set and we all took a seat, time stood still. There was a peaceful calm, a unified front, a sense of comfort that each of us now-grown siblings still carry with us to this day.

Now, in a suburban New Jersey home, two little girls return from school, dropping their backpacks and jackets to the entryway floor. They escape to the playroom, devising scenarios with a rotating cast of dolls against the backdrop of a giant wooden dollhouse, practicing cartwheels on their gymnastics mat, and drawing imaginative murals with crayons and chalk. Some time after, they crowd around their mom’s iPhone to FaceTime with their grandmother, Mema.

Some 25 years later and now 150 miles away, the same question slips out from the speaker of the phone.

“Hi, my beautiful girls, did you eat your lunch today? …And what are you having for dinner?” my mom asks.

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