When Mame McGrath's family moves in across the street from a magnificent Queen Anne-style house, she notices a catatonic young man rocking on its wraparound porch. Mame proclaims boldly that she will restore his psyche—devastated by a drowning in Keuka Lake—but what she doesn't anticipate is that he and this house will become the heart of her existence.
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Along an elm-canopied boulevard rising from a quaint Finger Lakes village stands a magnificent Queen Anne-style house. In the summer of 1920, when Mame McGrath and her family move in across the street, she notices a catatonic young man rocking on its wraparound porch. Mame, a newly hired elementary school teacher, proclaims boldly that she can, and will, restore this man’s psyche—devastated by a drowning in Keuka Lake. What she doesn't anticipate is that he and this house will become the center of her life.
The House With the Wraparound Porch weaves a riveting tale of the four generations to whom this home becomes more than a shelter from life’s storms. It houses their memories of triumphs and failures, of joys and sorrows that ripple across nine decades. Though many will move on, this house will always be a part of them, because it resides always within the deep heart's core.
NOTE: Book is available in paperback and all digital formats.
From the Prologue
On Christmas Eve 2005, a red hatchback with Ohio plates slipped through a quaint Finger Lakes village and climbed a gently rising boulevard toward the rural edge of town. It passed rows of stately houses crafted in a grander era of architecture, when ornament was testament to a builder’s skill.
The thirty-something blonde driving the car slowed as she read house numbers aloud, and then hit the brakes when she saw an address matching the paper slip in her hand. She backed the car up and pulled into the driveway behind two cars sheltered under a broad porte-cochère. From her large shoulder bag she pulled out a reporter's spiral notebook and opened to the list of names her mother gave her and memorized them.
She stepped out of the car and the magnificence of the Queen Anne-style house caught her breath. Its beautifully turned wraparound porch spoke of a time when conversations lingered outdoors on a summer's eve. Balsam wreaths with gold ornaments and garnet-colored ribbons hung from the tall windows. On this dreary December afternoon, the amber glow of lamps within beckoned cheerfully behind lace-curtained windows.
A group of middle-aged women engaged in animated conversation within the dining room. She wondered which one of them held the key to her past. Something drew her eyes up to the carved angel frieze in the gable over the porch steps. Was this a good omen—a sign she’d be welcomed? The woman pushed her curly hair back from her face, took a breath from the depths of her being, and knocked on the front door. There was movement inside and voices neared the entrance as she fingered a Y-shaped silver pendant hanging from her neck. Anticipation blushed her face while she waited—an eternity!—for the door to open.
“May I help you?”
“I don’t know if you can. I was looking for a woman who lived at this address at one time….”
Their conversation was brief, and then the door slammed in her face.