Thursday, May 31, 2007

She's a Maine-iac, Maine-iac (On the Floor)

Breaking news: You guys, tomorrow (Friday) it is going to be June. June! How did this happen? I am excited about summer, but I have no idea what happened to the first five months of the year!

It is going to be a busy summer. I am going to Philadelphia, there are lots of office parties, my best friend (Double G) is coming to visit, H's brother is getting married, and, hopefully, we will be going to Maine for our anniversary.

I am so excited about Maine. My grandfather built a beach house in Maine. By himself. I should note that the term "beach house" is used loosely, as the house is not on the beach, but it is only about a 5 minute walk to a rocky bay, and it is about a 20 minute walk to the sandy beach. My grandfather died when I was in third grade and left the house to my mom, her sister, and her brother. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, so we could go drive up to Maine and spend a few weeks in a row, and my dad would come up for weekends. We would spend a lot of time there every summer. There was no tv (and no air conditioning), so we would take long walks, swim in the ocean until our lips turned blue, eat salt water taffy and lobster (not at the same time), pick blackberries, and swing on the tire swing. Our neighbor was a 90 year old man named Harry who mowed his own (huge lawn) and was the quintessential Maine-iac. He hated "newcomers" but loved us because he had known my grandfather.

The beach house where my grandfather had stayed as a little kid was only a 5 minute walk from our beach house. It was one room. For 9 kids (8 boys and 1 girl) and 2 parents. No running water. I can't even imagine. At the time I saw the old beach house, it was basically a shack that was falling apart. My grandfather and his brothers obviously had good memories of staying there because most of them ended up buying beach houses in the same town, and we would go see my mom's uncles when we stayed in Maine.

My mom's uncles were characters. They all had thick New Hampshire accents, and so did my mom when she talked with them. They all spoke like they were living on boats and called the bathroom "the head" and gave us directions like, "Turn starboard onto Oak Street."

We had to sell my grandfather's house because we moved to the Midwest, and it just didn't make sense to own a house in Maine. I haven't been back to the town where my grandfather had a cabin in probably 14 years, and I am kind of scared to go back. I haven't even been to Maine for 10 years. To me, Maine is my grandpa, my mom's side of the family, my family having fun together. I am scared that it won't live up to the pictures in my mind. I want to keep my memories the way they are. But I also want to see it and experience it again. It will be so different and weird to stay in a hotel though. I don't know. I am anxious and excited.


To answer Jes's question in the comments of my last post, I think the best part of our trip to Chicago was the architectural boat tour, which you can buy tickets for online here. My friend who used to live in Chicago said he always took out of town guests on this tour, and my friend who currently lives in Chicago said it is the best tour in Chicago. It's only 90 minutes, and you get to see a lot of downtown. It is interesting, and my Dallas friends, H, and I all enjoyed it.

The second best part was drinking a gin and tonic. I had never had one before because I thought it sounded gross. But it wasn't. It was fabulous! It is my new go-to drink. In fact, I wish I had one right now.


stefanie said...

Those Maine memories sound awesome. Like something out of a book or an old movie. I hope you have a fabulous time there again.

My friend Amy introduced me to gin & tonics about a year ago, and it's one of my new standby drinks as well. It's an especially good summer drink. Perfect for when you want something light and refreshing but not necessarily fruity and sweet.

3carnations said...

Isn't that a beautiful area? (Maine/New Hampshire, that is...Not that Chicago's not beautiful...). I lived in Portsmouth for a while, which was just a drawbridge (a drawbridge!) away from Maine. I thought the drawbridge was the coolest thing, except for when I was in a hurry and had to wait for it...

lizgwiz said...

Those sound like wonderful memories. I have wonderful memories of my grandparents, too, but yours sound so...picturesque. What great summers! I'm sure it will be fun to see the area again, if a little bittersweet.

Can't get with you on the gin and tonic, though. I just can't learn to like gin. Vodka and tonic, though--that I can do!

L Sass said...

What great memories of your grandpa and other relatives! I'm sure your Maine Adventure will be wonderful.

I really want to introduce "turn starboard" into the NYC vernacular. (Then again, my attempts to convince people to refer to the subway as "the underground choo-choo" have been unsuccessful.)

Finally, people love their gin-and-tonics. My dad had one every night for work when I was growing up (still does), so I cannot drink them! They smell too much like my dad.

Lawyerish said...

Very nice entry.

I absolutely love New England. I also love those old family get-together memories. Our family used to gather in Springfield, IL, every summer at my dad's parents' house, and it was a huge part of my childhood. They don't live there anymore, so I feel kind of lost as to how to give our kid(s) the same type of great memories of family and summer.

Paisley said...

Wow. That sounds like an ideal vacation, your childhood Maine. *sigh* If you go back to the house, try not to get too sad!

I can't believe it is June, either. I'm in shock!

Marmite Breath said...

Mmmmm, G & T. Mmmmmmmm!!

I know how you feel about going back--it's weird isn't it.

Jenny said...

That sounds so fabulous. I've never been that far north...hint, hint.

PS. I love lobster and taffy. Please have some ready.

Kim said...

sounds like you have some wonderful childhood memories...I hope you have a great time going back.