Posted October 24th 2013 at 6:46 am by
in In This Building

The Man On The Porch

“Twenty five years ago I was a homeless drunk walking the streets of Boston. Now I’m a family man owning a three-decker in Dorchester. That is a miracle. That is, in reality, a miracle. Because in all likelihood, I should be dead.” – Mark Lawless 


Listen to Mark’s story below.

The Man On The Porch by Sofia Campos.

29 Edison Green: The Man On The Porch

Mark Lawless on his porch in Dorchester, Mass.

Having recently moved to Boston from Los Angeles, California I had to crash with friends for a few days before my apartment was ready this past September. During part of that time, I stayed with my friend Conrado in his Dorchester apartment, just a short walk from the UMass/JFK T station.

Conrado mentioned that I should talk to his landlord, Mark, if I got the chance. He told me how great a storyteller Mark is – how much he knows about Boston, how he always sits on his porch watching the neighborhood, and how he’s a grandfather-type character that dresses up as Santa Claus around Christmas time, with the white beard and everything. I was intrigued, in part because I love storytelling and I got the sense Mark would be able to share some stories I hadn’t heard before.

I met Mark on his porch, with his small blind dog Frankie at his side. Not only did he teach me a new definition for the words courage and perseverance through his story, he also taught me many useful sayings, including my new favorite: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

When I decided to base my project for the “In This Building” class on Mark and his house, I could not foresee that his story would connect with mine on so many levels. I also didn’t expect to gain such a special, new friendship from this half semester project, but I did and I am very grateful for that.

Post and audio story by Sofia Campos.

• This is one of six buildings buildings profiled by students in the fall 2013 MIT course, “In This Building.” See what it’s like to live at the other five buildings.

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