Wicked Wednesday- Memories of Maine

All the Wickeds have a New England connection. Today, in celebration of Barb’s latest release, Clammed Up, we are taking a trip down Memory Lane in the great state of Maine. And Barb will give a copy away to one lucky commenter.

Edith: First – congratulations to Barb!

My first and favorite memories of Maine are from when I was in graduate school and my Kennebunk-bred boyfriend Henry suggested we drive from our digs in Bloomington, Indiana, to his family’s vacation home in Maine. He sent a postcard to Russy Gott, the lobsterman who also ran the mail boat that doubled as ferry, to inform him of when we expected to need a ride to the island named for his family. Postcard was the only way to make the reservation.

It was an idyllic week on Gott’s Island. I could watch the osprey on its nest from the double-seater Gott's Islandlatrine that faced the water, door optional. Our water, cold and delicious, came from a pump in the kitchen. We split wood for the fire. We sipped bourbon as we sat on the rocks to watch the sunset. The rustic cabin was full of books, blue print china, and all the time in the world.

Liz: I’ve been going to Maine since I was a kid. My parents used to take us there for shopping at the outlets, drives along the coast and occasionally, a trip to Old Orchard Beach. I always loved the depth and breadth of the state – the ocean, the lakes, the touristy spots versus the home-grown characters who’ve barely left. But it wasn’t until my college years that the best memories were made. My best friend’s mother bought her own island off a lake in Maine (yes, the whole thing), complete with a cabin and its very own outhouse. I remember the first time waiting for the paddle boat to come pick me up on shore, wondering what I was getting myself into, since we all know I’m not a camping girl.

I loved it. I slept on a hammock during the day, listening to the waves lap along the shore. We stayed up late at night with a bonfire and played games, listened to music, solved the world’s problems over bottles of cheap wine. There were no cell phones, no iPads, no distractions. Every night was like an adventure, stumbling out of the cabin in the pitch black to find the outhouse, which seemed so very far away, hoping none of Stephen King’s Maine characters awaited behind a tree.

I watched that cabin grow up. It got a bathroom, and even a shower. Repairs and updates were made. The boat was upgraded at some point. But the essence remains the same. I haven’t been there in about seven years, but I’m willing to bet it would feel just like it did that first time I set foot on it.

Sherry: My sister, Mom and I rented a house overlooking the ocean in York, ME. One day there was a spectacular lightening storm. After it passed my sister and I walked into town and stopped in a little shop. We started talking with the owner, a grizzled guy, who looked better suited to a life at sea.

“That was some storm,” he said. We agreed. He pointed out to the beach. “A boy was hit twice by the lightening.”

“Was he okay?” I manged to blurt out. The man’s casual attitude shocked me but this was Maine after all. The man looked at me like I’d sprouted a few extra heads. Then he grinned and said, enunciating carefully, “A buoy.”

Jessie: I have a lot of memories of Maine. Both sides of my family are from Maine and most of my relatives are still there. When I was a child we went to visit aging great-grandparents and assorted other relatives one Sunday each month. So, I had to really think about which memory was a favorite. If I had to choose, I would have to say it was the time my parents took us sledding up on an old logging road in East Dixfield. The snow was packed down hard and was wide enough for two sleds abreast. The day was clear and not too cold and my sisters and I flew down the hill so fast you wondered how well it was all going to end. And as soon as it did end you wished it hadn’t and you trudged back up the hill to do it all over again.

My kids at Acres of Wildlife, 1989
My kids at Acres of Wildlife, 1989

Barb: I’ve told the story of how my mother-in-law, taking a weekend trip to coastal Maine, stayed overnight in a B&B in Boothbay Harbor and got up the next morning and bought it. But that wasn’t my first Maine connection. Bill and I used to camp with our kids for a week every summer at Acres of Wildlife in Steep Falls, Maine. We staying in an old canvas tent that had belonged to Bill’s family.  My city kids loved the freedom of riding their bikes on the dirt roads and going by themselves to the camp store to buy goodies. We often went with friends, and in later years with all my husband’s siblings, their spouses and kids. The brothers always had an informal cooking contest, trying to out-do each other with meals. Such happy memories!

Julie: I have many, many memories of Maine. One of my favorites? My friends wedding 29 (yikes!) years ago this weekend. I was a bridesmaid, and wore a red dress that was just a little too tight. I could barely breath. But we climbed the cliffs in Ogunquit Maine for the photos, and then went to Drake Island for the after party. I made many trips up to Maine for planning purposes, and have a lot of fond memories of that time, and that weekend. (Happy Anniversary Jo-Ann and Chris!)

Readers: What’s your favorite Maine memory? If you haven’t been there, do you have a fictional favorite memory? To enter the drawing for a copy of Clammed Up, be sure to leave your email address if you think we might not have it.

16 Thoughts

  1. You all are making me so envious–I have never been to Maine! I looked into the artist residency program at Acacia National Park, but the idea of me living in the woods for a month….ha ha ha!
    In addition to being pals with many of you, I have a writing mentor from Maine. I did a week long short story retreat/intensive with Elise Juska, a terrific instructor with a clear eye and focus on voice. One of the best weeks of my life as a writer. She’s a Bowdoin graduate, and we talked about Joshua Chamberlain for Gettysburg story I was writing.
    And, of course, as I am from Louisiana, I love Longfellow.

    1. I checked out the Acadia residency too, Ramona, on your recommendation, but decided against applying. But that was when I had the day job. Hmmm. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. I have many wonderful memories of Maine beginning with vacations to Port Clyde to visit my grandparents. From Ogunquit to Bar Harbor there is nothing better than seagulls dipping into crashing waves beyond fields of lupines. I’m so enamored of the area that I’ve set my debut novel (Call Me Amy) in a small fishing village on the coast of Maine. Best of luck with Clammed Up! 🙂

      1. Hi, Call Me Amy was released in May 2013. It’s marketed as a kids’ tween novel, but a lot of adults are enjoying it because it takes place in 1973—a fun coming-of-age flashback (lots of info on my website). Thanks for your interest. I’ll be looking into your group’s books as well. (I’ve read Liz’s—great read with cool twists.) Also, I love the funny boy vs. buoy story!

  3. My favorite Maine memory is my great-aunt’s wild blueberry farm up in Greenville. It was beautiful. It’s smelled wonderful. Everything was delicious. I felt useful, happy, and loved.

    1. You are making me laugh! It’s gorgeous, Barb and I’m sure, since we all have our favorites, we will tell you more places we think you should got that you can in a lifetime! What the heck are you doing up so early?

  4. A visit to Maine is on my “bucket list”!! I LOVE any book set in New England…love to read mysteries set around that area. This book looks wonderful!! 🙂

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