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Deda BS: Your Best Vacation Ever (22) RE: BS: Your Best Vacation Ever 19 Oct 03

Every summer for ten years I took my kids to Maine, for about two weeks each August, to a house that I had inherited, on an island where I had first gone when I was 2 weeks old. The island is about 125 acres, and includes 90-some-odd houses, a post office, a restaurant/town hall, a church, a library, a tennis court, a lot of wild blueberries and rasberries, two swimmable beaches, and some five miles of sidewalks. There are no private cars, and the houses have no phone jacks, so we never had a phone there (cell phones were coming into use in the late 90s). We'd have to haul groceries over from the harbor, on the ferry that ran every hour or two. The island is only inhabited in the summer, it is a place for vacations. I consider that it is the village that raised me. There are people there in the summer who remember me as a tiny child, and remember my parents, and my father's mother, and all my siblings. When I sat on the porch I could see the baseball field, the church, the library, the cove, a lot of pine trees, a few birches, and, often, spectacular sunsets. I could hear children's voices ringing out over the field with amazing summer clarity. It often seemed to me, especially at dusk, that I could hear voices from decades past, calling "HeyyyyyyyyyYAymos..." And my kids got to swim in the cold Maine water where I swam as a kid, and they got to pick and eat wild rasberries and blueberries, and walk the circumference of the island on the rocks and beaches, and hear seagulls and smell low tide.
Best of all, the house was mine, with my (other) brother John. I could fill it with guests, with my kids' friends, with nieces (Barky included) and nephews. I could be more of a hostess than life allowed me at any other time, and I had a community there. (Community isn't always the people you love the most; it's about accepting each other, warts and all, and being accepted, just because we're all on the same island.)
It was a dream and I loved it, but it was way beyond my means. There were times when I was worrying about my summer house in Maine and I was living in subsidized housing 50 weeks out of the year. Finally the taxes and the cost of upkeep became utterly prohibitive, and my brother couldn't keep carrying me, and we sold it -- as the poet says, "With all my heart, but much against my will". But God was extremely kind, and sent me my husband the same year that I had to sell the house. Truth is, I'm hard put to say which takes up more room in my heart.

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