Nothing rejuvenates like walking around a Maine town.
And it does not have to be a sea coast town dripping with clever tourist charm, all the extra presentation effort to lure you in to a shop.To cause you to open up your wallet or purse.And leave a few Benjamins behind to support the local Maine community coffers either.
A simple walk around a town makes you think about earlier days. The men, women who laid out the streets. Gathered along a river intially to set up the early grid work of that Maine town. Clearing what was total woods to make home sites, fields, roads, streets was hard in early days without motorized equipment.
Folks worked hard and died early.
In the early 1900’s the life expectancy in America was around 47 years of age.
As you walk you see neighborhoods of say all cape style homes. Built after World War Two. Solid, real wood boards, materials, craftmanship enriched. Like kind in a row like soldiers and constructed before the late 1960’s. When suddenly cheaper half windows, masonite glorified cardboard siding replaced asbestos home exteriors. You notice large maple shade trees and if familiar with the town, remember larger stately elms before them. Now long gone due to Dutch Elm disease. So tall, protecting the street to allow walks in the rain without getting wet from the canopy, the over story. Back when children walked to neighborhood schools and were not bused to large educational factories, stockyards many miles away.
Main Street with the earliest Maine Victorians loaded with Queen Anne turrets, picturesque bay windows, carriage house additional buildings. Three stories of go on and on living space. Servants quarters and extra areas for in laws, extended family that lived under the same roof. Or students doing errands, house duties and working their room and board to stay there.
Often times three generations packed in homes like the Waltons.
Sharing, growing up and old in one residence. Where the open front porch becomes the living room in summer. People talked over joys and set backs with families out in the open. Not in 55 minute paid for private inside sessions with a stranger like folks do now. Dwellings loaded with ornamental curlicues, inside pattern floors, frosted etched glass, slate sinks and plenty of wainscoting, raised panel original woodwork, and multiple fireplaces.
You notice on your walk who likes to garden. Who has an aversion to mowing lawns on a timely basis. In Maine, rarely any home owners association so no citations from the lawn police chiding you for being lax in clipping grass that surrounds your castle. Your Maine home, the place where you raise a family. Or retire to from working in a city many states away earlier decades of your life. Or invest in to rent out apartments cut out of that yesteryear over sized home when families were nine, eleven kids large. Not 1.6 sized.
On certain days during your walk you see garbage put out for the next day or later that day pick up. Boxes that show side walk gawkers who got a new television, how big hints on the screen size from the shipping packaging remains. Or what type of exercise machine, new computer arrived earlier in the week.
Garbage day, sort of a public confessional.
Evidence of a kitchen renovation from demolition debris that waits to be jettisoned from the home taxpayers yard. Respectfully delivered to a transfer station, a land fill far away, out of sight. A pile of thick shag harvest gold rugging the wife said was time to go. The kind that was “groomed” with a small toy looking rug rake you intially thought was a kid’s toy. Discovered after the installers got up from their hands and knees, squealed out of the yard and nascared back to the shop.
Some owners busy bees with their homes you admire along your routine walk. Others with over flowing job jars. On a slow glide path of destruction from lack of attention, absense of love, attention, money to correct the situation. New owners mean energetic projects, restorations. On your walk, the famly recreation from youngster swing sets to teenage basketball hoops show plainly the progresson of the kid’s age who live inside each home. Walks around a Maine town. Knowing you and I are just passing through, not here for long and aware of those that came before us. Others that move in when we are gone from this earth. Walking the same circles, zig zags around a small Maine town they grow to love, cherish, respect, learn from.