I first heard Laura Pershin Raynor at Laughin’ Night during the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in 2000. She told a short story, and I remember thinking, “That was great! I wish I would have gone to hear more from her.” Then in 2009, my husband and I got the honor of participating in the “What’s Your Story” project on Ocracoke Island with Donald Davis. I heard that Laura and her husband Kenny were going to be a part of it, too. I was excited to get to know her better.
Laura and I were placed in one of the first sharing groups together. She was very kind and listened with genuine interest when I didn’t think anyone could be interested in my experiences growing up in Idaho. I had just mentioned “spud harvest” in passing while I was talking about something else, and Laura heard that phrase and was fascinated. She asked so many questions that suddenly my mundane story felt important. Obviously, I liked her right away! A few days later she shared a heart-warming story about meeting and holding her baby sister for the first time. She described the place, the feel, the new baby smell, and I was transported. I was taken back in time to my own childhood and felt like I was meeting my own newborn baby sister again. It was magical.
I can tell you from experience that Laura Pershin Raynor can use her gentle voice and validating manner to make your own memories wrap around you like a favorite quilt, and I am happy that Laura is coming back to the Festival this year. I hope you will take the time to hear her and let her voice work its magic on you. You’ll be glad you did.