In the late 90’s we lived in the village of Fremont, Michigan in the parsonage of the First Baptist Church at 515 East Pine Street. Our youngest, Hope America, was born in Fremont. It was the last place where all ten of us lived together under the same roof.
Fremont is a small town about an hour north of Grand Rapids and about thirty minutes from Lake Michigan. It as the home of Gerber Baby Food. Our church and home were a few blocks apart in the village. I loved living in Fremont.
In about 1998 my brother Kevin encouraged me to start posting my stories on-line. He created a site for me—kenpierpont.com. Soon I started posting new stories regularly. What I was doing would be called a blog now but the term was not widely used when I started doing it. I have published no less than once a month and usually at least once a week without interruption since then for over 25 years.
Rising Early to Write in Quietness. The family was young and noisy and I loved spending time with them so to write I had to rise every morning and five and write over in the corner of our bedroom in the darkness, the glow of the monitor my only light. When the sun came up the kids would rise and my writing would be done for the day.
The Stonebridge Newsletter. About that time I started an e-mail newsletter. I called it the Stonebridge Newsletter (Pierpont is a French word that means stone bridge). The newsletter grew quickly to over 5000 subscribers. I published essays weekly that were often picked up and published by Heartwarmers4u by Azriela Jaffe and Hearttouchers by Michael Powers and even a few for Stories for the Teen’s Heart and Chicken Soup for the Soul. I was published in few large and a few small home school publications. I spoke for some homeschooling organizations and these all helped grow my newsletter.
The Local Paper. Rich Wheater, the editor of the local Times-Indicator began to run my story every week in the local pape—every Tuesday as I remember. That was one of the most satisfying publishing experiences I have ever had. He included a bi-line and a photo so people would often meet me in stores and strike up conversations about my stories.
I still smile when I think of the simple joy of sharing stories with new friends at Bill’s Shop and Save or at the Wise Office Supply or the Haveman True Value Hardware a few blocks from the church.
On Wednesday nights through the school year our church sponsored a kid’s club called AWANA. Many Christians who attended other churches participated along with our own families. Our children loved the club. They loved the games social opportunities especially, I think. In the parking lot of the church on a fall or spring evening I would often mill around among the people waiting for their children, talking and playing in the parking lot. People would sometimes tell me that my story made them laugh or cry or both or they would tell me how it reminded them of something that happened to them. Those memories still warm my heart.
I suppose that is one of the reasons I write—to make that human connection. To share a touching or funny incident. I have always included stories in my messages but once used they cannot be used again in the same pulpit so versions of those stories were included in my blogs or my outside speaking.
We moved away from Fremont many years ago and since then I have written five books and published hundreds of stories. I have gathered many other cherished “writing memories,” but those conversations around the little village of Fremont are tucked away like cherished photos—yellow around the edges. Those stories are still in my archives deep in my webpage. You can find them here.
I have had a few large paydays for my writing and I always welcome them, but still after all these years of writing and publishing I cherish the simple human connections that sharing heartwarming stories can bring and most of my writing is and probably always will be free. I hope you enjoy the stories. I would be well-rewarded by hearing from you.
Bittersweet Farm | September 15, 2023