If you have been a regular Me In Maine blog post reader, you sense living in Vacationland is a personal high priority.
I am a big fan of this state in the upper right hand corner of the country. That borders two Canadian provinces, New Hampshire and plenty of rock bound craggy coastline with 68 Maine lighthouses.
Raising a family in Maine became an early life priority after initially thinking of leaving the pine tree state. And working my way up the broadcasting ladder after college would be the plan. I changed careers, the need to drive over the big green bridge one last time on the southern tip of Maine on Interstate 95. In my earlier desire to collect four letter call signs of outlets in bigger and bigger media markets.
I wanted to raise a family in Maine. Not out of state where the broadcasting leap frogging and dragging the kids from city to city transitioning would not have been healthy for the family. But despite never regretting staying to raise a family in Maine, a state where it is small town, honest values, four seasons unspoiled natural surroundings, travel is still important.
One Santa Monica California trip with all six kids is one of those traveling adventures.
Driving through Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive with empty street boutiques, not a soul up and at ’em was different. But vageuly familiar due to all the deja vu sights, street sign names, buildings that you would recognize like we did from exposure to television pilots, films and your favorite season show reruns.
We arrived with a van full late after touching down with the silver winged bird. Our gracious family host opened up their arms and home to help be local tour guides. And one myth that was busted quickly was that all the homes of the rich and famous movie star actresses, actors would be like the Beverly Hillbillies estate. With stone and iron gate, a long sweeping curving driveway up to the mansion.
Uncle Charlie, Aunt Linda’s home was gorgeous, spacious inside, not so much outside.
Zero lot lines, only space to park a his and her pair of cars out front. The home, all of them around it right on the street. Any extra visitors would have to park it on the street. In Maine, that would never happen. Due to healthy, abundant snow storms causing plow trucks to destroy anything not in the larger capacity driveways and big yards wrapping around our Maine buildings.
Expensive real estate around Santa Monica the reason for the closeness of homes. Larger concentrations of people than where I live with eleven people her per square mile in Aroostook County. So Jed and Granny sized properties spacing, elbow room we enjoy in Maine was not the norm around Beverly Hills California.
We got the family photo for the Christmas card with the Hollywood sign in the background.
But that was not an easy feat due to tight neighborhoods with winding, hilly, narrow streets. Many of them dead end making the Kodak moment elusive and more like a rat in a labyrinth game maze. And lots of warning signs that gave you the impression survivors would be prosecuted.
There was no place to park without pulling in to a driveway empty of cars. And hoping a black and white with the blue gum balls revolving, flashing did not squeal in on two wheels like in the cop show movies filmed on these same streets.
Venice Beach’s sights and sounds visit was an adventure too.
And so was the oldest daughter’s sudden urge to get an eye brow piercing. After seeing many interesting tats and piercings. On the colorful, attention getting characters we moved in and around on our tourist site tramping. The surroundings again more than vaguely familiar from television exposure. And also seeing actual scenes being blocked, lighted, sound staged, actually filmed outside restaurants along Venice Beach we sauntered and gawked at with the Maine family.
We did the Disney Land, Knotts Berry Farm and other tourist haunts too. With tours following a convertible Saab and a Volvo wagon with only 22,000 miles showing on the odometer. But on its third set of brake pads, rotors due to fast paced NASCAR like needle and thread driving by Aunt Linda. Who uses both feet to keep the RPMs up if an opening happened to appear for better lane positioning. To be girl scout ever ready.
Aggressive driving around other motorists that were new to the country. Many learning to drive just recently and still green but tested with their feet to the fire turnpike conditions. We buckled up, grabbed hold of something to steady ourselves. While Aunt Linda rode the brake all the time just in case the momentary slot closed up on one of the other six lanes of traffic around our silver wagon. To avoid testing the car’s auto insurance collision policy. Traffic in Maine. What traffic? (Smile).
Seeing new places with your family.
Expose yourself, kids to learn, broaden your outlook on life. To not be afraid to venture out and see how the rest of the world lives. But then to come back to a rural state like Maine to appreciate it even more. Because it is not like this here any other place on the revolving blue and green marble.
If you have a family, take trips with them on a regular basis to sample some of the glitz, sparkle of areas new and different. But also as a couple to keep exploring and meeting new people with entirely different surroundings, cultures, customs, backgrounds. And sometimes not so different values, beliefs that you and I share too.
Llife’s temporary ride assignment is a short one. To be lived, fully enjoyed and experienced with loved ones you are in a relationship with that need to see what we are or are not missing in other areas of the planet. To guide our life course. To develop deeper, richer meaning and discover our purpose in life. Why we are here.