Small town living in Maine.
If you’re a life long native, you’ve known many of those in your daily small Maine town circles for life.
Had a classmate drop in who was looking for a piece of Maine waterfront lake property, land just land.
He and his wife think parked next to a Maine lake and watching the seasons change is direction he wants for quality of life. And in the course of sharing information on where he would like to build a waterfront retirement home on a small Maine lake property acreage, we started childhood flashback experiences.
He had roots in Calais, Downeast Maine and his family rounded up the kids and relocated north.
His Dad worked on the border at a custom’s brokerage house business.
His friends called him Ace. I remember his mom working at Day’s Jewelry Store where I bought black and white Poloroid film in expensive packages of only eight exposures each. Small town living in Maine is like that. You don’t just know the person but everything, anything about his or her family connections. In small Maine towns, you bump into each other often several times a day.
Attending St Mary’s catholic school in Houlton ME until high school and said he was a cold lunch bagger.
Some in his Water Street school enjoyed hot lunch. Delivered via bus, created each day at Lambert School, the old high school brick building next to Central.
One day snowballs pummeled at a school lunch bus seemed entertaining for he and a group of his friends.
All fun and games until a sister wearing a habit learned about the activity. Hauling in the crew, using a thick wooden paddle with individual helpings of discipline. Designed to make sure the activity did not occur again.
Hands extended to receive the one by one down the line punishment.
Remember the spare the rod, spoil the child adage. The punishment dished out down the line leaving no snow ball throwing hand left out from the cure. My friend’s mother reminded him at home he and his crew got just what they deserved. Kids had a lot more responsibilities at school, at home and working to earn their keep.
We moved on to Maine fall harvest picking potato experiences, making your own spending money.
Kenny’s first day was almost his last picking potatoes.
The field boss on the Maine farm had assigned him an end section in the potato field. All by himself at the end of the row.
If you have never picked barrels of newly dug potatoes laid out in two rows by a mechanical digger pulled by a Maine farm tractor, you wonder what’s the big whoop?
An end section extends and contracts with the surrounding tree line defining the Maine land potato field shape.
Not only do you get behind as your potato picking field section grows larger. But you get discouraged with fewer potatoes and wrestling to find them under large dirt clods where they are hidden.
It truly is one potato, two potato pick ’em up and put them in the woven basket and your barrel production suffers greatly with an end row section.
It takes four big heaping baskets made of brown ash and dumped in a plywood or cedar stave wooded potato barrel for the 25, 60 cents or whatever unit payment. Mark that barrel with your ticket number for the daily count back in the farmer’s house kitchen tally.
If your end section shrinks row by row of unearthed potatoes to pick, low barrel count for you that day in the hot harvest fall sun or rain, maybe spitting snow.
Kenny had enough and slipped away, hiding in the woods to avoid detection on this way walking home.
Potato picking was not for me he surmised. The was a potato field MIA loose, sound the air raid alarm. His Dad got wind of the news, found him, put him in a car, delivering him back to the field with a stern warning. Don’t do it again.
The beauty of potato picking besides making your own money to manage as a kid, no one leaves the field until everyone is picked up is a valuable lesson.
We are all in this together to clean up before we can go home. The money you make in the potato field used to buy your fall school clothes. Kids helped shoulder some of the household expenses and learned to shop wisely, develop spending impulse control. To take care of whatever they “earned” with their own money a potato barrel at a time.
No one is abandoned and left behind alone in the Maine potato field.
No rows and rows behind discouragement howling at the moon for anyone on the potato picking crew.
Pick ’em clean. Helping the local Maine potato farmer get the crop out experience was part of growing up in Aroostook County.
I think small town living in Maine makes your connection with others in it much stronger for lots of reasons.
One, knowing a person in your class or neighborhood growing up provides a wealth of experiences. We are more connected, have spent more time together through out life so we know each other better.
Second, working on local community events whether coaching a youth hockey team or raising money for a Rotary project just helps strengthen the connection. When you have personal experiences with someone, you understand them better. They accept you too. Each know where the other is coming from, their strengths and weaknesses and why or how they react to anything.
The many Maine small town experiences through out life help the community.
Oh sure, there can be differences and personality clashes. But first hand personal knowledge of all the skills and talents in a small Maine town can be a beautiful thing. Like a team that pulls together and knows what has to happen for success before the buzzer sounds.
Makes for a better working relationship, the quality of life too because nothing is surface or unknown about the others in your small Maine town.
The small town community members understand each other deeply because there are not strangers. Accepting, needing, proud of where we live. Knowing we all have an important role in creating and sustaining the small Maine town living experience.
My advice for folks relocating to Maine, is get involved.
From day one and never let off the throttle. Be productive rather than petty. No time for personality attacks and everything about pitching in and combining talents.
And for locals to realize all these new fresh ideas from folks who did live somewhere else can be weaved into what we could do to help the small Maine town prosper.
Realize there are community members who have full, rich experiences and will adopt you as one of their own. But not so much if you bitch and complain and find fault constantly. Easy does it as we all get to know each other and divvy up who does what and when.
Brand new to the area transplants need to know the lay of the land and for locals to show them the ropes. To explain traditions and the history lessons they missed.
Volunteering is what small Maine town living is all about.. has to be.
No money to hire it done and what would be the fun in that?
Sure there is room for improvement and change is inevitable in a small Maine town. But easy does it on the “back home we always did it this way, that way”. It can get tedious and make locals wonder then why did you leave?
Something in the where you lived before location exchange before the move to Maine must have made it worth it.
But sharing and comparing what works and why or why not is important in brainstorming. Remind yourself of those reasons you moved to Maine. All this four season drop dead gorgeous beauty.
Maine is smaller sparse spread out populations, vast unspoiled terrain.
You daily travel much smaller local circles really getting to know others living in the village size population. Maine is over 450 small towns, plantations and only a handful of cities.
Here’s some reasons why I know, what I love living in a small Maine town.
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