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Exploring Life ‘Beyond the Front Porch’: A Fresh Perspective on Cherished Memories

New Book “Beyond the Front Porch” Chronicles Life Memories

Published: 12:05 am Sunday, April 21, 2024

John Pridgen from Kernersville has encapsulated his memories of small-town upbringing and life encounters into a book titled “Beyond the Front Porch,” released on Feb. 28. This marks Pridgen’s debut publication, available for purchase on Amazon and directly through the publisher, Outskirts Press.

While contemplating a potential second book, Pridgen remains uncertain about the prospect of another publication, expressing that the idea lingers “out there in the ether somewhere.”

Originally hailing from Spencer and an alumnus of North Rowan High School, Pridgen pursued his higher education at Catawba College, majoring in history. It was during his college years that he crossed paths with his late wife, Kay Cranford Pridgen.

Following his stint as a night dispatcher at Duke Energy during college, Pridgen established a connection with the company and subsequently secured a position in the engineering division in Winston-Salem, prompting a relocation.

Initially residing in Clemmons, Pridgen and his wife later moved to Kernersville when he assumed the role of branch manager, a transition that has anchored him in the area ever since.

Transitioning from Duke Energy in 2000, Pridgen ventured into real estate brokerage in 2006, currently serving as the broker in charge for the Winston-Salem office at ReMax Realty Consultants, alongside his role as a real estate instructor.

Despite lacking aspirations for writing during his school days, Pridgen credits his senior English teacher, Mrs. Tichenor, for kindling a spark within him. However, the decision to delve into writing did not crystallize immediately upon completing her class.

Two pivotal moments paved the way for Pridgen’s literary journey. In 1998, during his lengthy commutes while working at Duke Energy, he began jotting down ideas that later garnered positive feedback upon sharing with acquaintances. Encouraged by the response, he sought advice from John Staples, the then-editor of the Kernersville News, who nudged him towards writing a column.

Under Staples’ mentorship, Pridgen commenced a weekly column for the Kernersville News, receiving commendation for his work, which fueled his writing endeavors. The positive reception culminated in the compilation of his columns and short pieces into a manuscript, birthing his book.

Comprising entirely of nonfiction narratives, “Beyond the Front Porch” encapsulates Pridgen’s reflections on familial influences, life milestones, and personal encounters, ranging from childhood escapades in Spencer to post-college experiences in Winston-Salem.

Infused with a blend of humor and poignant recollections, the stories resonate with readers on various emotional levels, drawing inspiration from personal encounters and significant individuals who shaped his life.

While the book encapsulates over 200 pages of heartfelt narratives, Pridgen finds it challenging to pinpoint a favorite story, highlighting three poignant tales that celebrate the profound impact of special individuals in his life.

In essence, Pridgen aims to evoke a spectrum of emotions through his storytelling, hoping to elicit laughter and tears alike, while inviting readers to reflect on their own life journeys and experiences.

Despite initial reservations about the reception of his writing, Pridgen acknowledges the transformative power of storytelling and the profound connections it fosters with readers. As he navigates this literary voyage, he encourages readers to explore the depths of their emotions and memories intertwined within the narratives.

Navigating the intricacies of selecting a title, Pridgen settled on “Beyond the Front Porch” to encapsulate the essence of life’s unfolding journey, transcending the confines of physical and metaphorical front porches, and embracing the transformative power of memories and self-discovery.