28 November 2011

Day Twenty-Eight - My Neighbors

I've lived in a lot of different places, sometimes multiple homes/apartments in the same general area. Needless to say, I've had all types of neighbors.

When I was in high school, there was a boy who lived across the street that seemed to want to terrorize people. He had issues, and his story is sad, but back then, he was just a punk who peeped into people's windows and left broken glass at the end of their driveways. Our who family was glad to move away from that neighbor.

When my children were little and we lived in Navy Housing, every house on the block had at least three children (it was required to live there) so it was pretty much a free-for-all. Truly, I'd probably hate that now, but it was in Southern California and the kids could play outside year round and I LOVED it. Even when some of the neighbor kids were annoying.

Today in Maine, we live in a quiet neighborhood where most of the kids have grown up here, so a lot of them have moved on. There are a few young families, but not many. It is quiet. Wonderfully quiet.

But it's my immediate neighbors that make this home so delightful. We have one set of neighbors who shares our love of cats, and we take turns cat-sitting for one another when one of us goes out of town. We have a neighbor right next door who is our own personal neighborhood watch. He always knows what's going on and he looks out for everyone. He has been battling leukemia for the past few years (and winning, I might add!) and he is a wonderful neighbor. There is another family down the street a bit who also looks out for others. This summer, they replaced their front stoop, so they gave us their old (good) one. They are so kind.

We don't see any of these neighbors as often as one might think. Not only are we all busy with our lives, our homes are set back from the street and hugged by trees, and let's face it - Maine winters aren't very conducive to chatting it up with a neighbor over the back fence. More likely, we share a cold wave and nod while plowing our driveways or scurrying down our icy paths to get the mail.

Although we don't see each other often, I know my neighbors have my back, and I have theirs. That is something for which I am very, very thankful.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes


Carolyn said...

Okay, I finally have the courage to post a comment. Let's just say I'm not gifted when it comes to putting my thoughts in writing...I sound really intelligent and humorous in my head, but not so much on "paper".

I love reading your posts. I've been reading them for probably a year now; I think I found them by doing a Google search for "life in Maine" or some such thing. You see, it's my dream to live in Maine. This love affair with Maine started when I picked up a book by Sarah Graves and read about a little town called Eastport. Now I've read all her books and just about anything else I can get my hands on that pertains to Maine.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Why leave Texas to move to Maine, where we know NO ONE, and our kids and relatives live at the most, 6-7 hours from us? My husband is pretty sure I've lost my mind; however, he has been kind enough to accompany me on 2 visits to Camden this year, once in February and once in August. I think his plan was if we visited in February, I'd realize that the winters are hard and that would be enough to convince me that I HAD lost my mind. Silly man. I loved the snow, the cold, the boats all buttoned up for the winter; the streets were clear thanks to the sand trucks and snow plows, and we had no trouble driving around in a "blizzard".

And August was fantastic. We were in the middle of a drought here in Texas. The grass and shrubs were dead or dying; we watered only our trees to keep them alive. Temperatures in June and July were more often over 100 degrees than under. Then we fly to Maine, where EVERYTHING was green and lush, temperatures in the 60's to 70's (when we were there), water actually falling from the sky - it was glorious. No air-conditioning needed. A wonderful sail boat ride around Camden harbor. A ride in an antique bi-plane for my husband, courtesy of Owls Head Transportation Museum. Of course, it was still the height of tourist season, and roads, shops, and restaurants were crowded, but all in all, most people were friendly.

So I guess that about sums it up. Believe me, I've heard all the arguments about why we shouldn't move "up north." But our kids are grown, the nest is empty, my husband retired, and I can pretty much work anywhere (I'm a nurse). I've done my research, received pamphlets from various Chambers of Commerce, looked at town tax rates, researched real estate listings, you name it. All that's left is to sell our house and go. (My husband thinks there's got to be someone in Maine willing to trade houses, so why not just do that?) I wish we could live there for 3-6 months as a trial, but that's really not feasible....I'd have to quit my current job, get a temporary job there, find a place, load up the 3 cats, pay our mortgage AND rent....so I feel that if we DO decide to go, it will have to be all or nothing.

It's a relief to admit this crazy dream of mine to someone who actually lives in Maine. I know every place has good and bad qualities, and the grass isn't always greener on the other side, but it's all I can think about. Everyone teases me about my Maine T-shirts, my numerous magazine subscriptions, my lobster socks, my "Maine Atlas and Gazetteer" etc. Oh well.

I don't even know if you'll read this Paulla. I feel like I know you, so I'll use your first name; please don't think I'm a crazy internet stalker! If you could talk me out of moving, I think my husband would be eternally grateful.

Carolyn (stuck in Texas) Mahler

Paulla said...

Carolyn, of course I read this - I read all comments! And you get the prize for writing the longest comment ever. :)

Tell you what, why don't you email me and we can talk more about your hopes of moving to Maine.

I do NOT think you're crazy and I've spent a lot of time in Texas, and remember that summer heat. It IS lovely here.

My email is mycornerofmaine@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you.