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In my last diary about Maine, I made some observations about Portland--Maine's largest city--and the people who live in it when all the tourists and summer folk are long gone and the deepest winter befalls us. You can find that diary HERE.

In today's diary, I'm going to talk about a different part of Maine, one with very different problems. Follow me over the fold for more...

This part of Maine is often called "Midcoast", an area roughly between [reference]. In this region lies a little village at the tip of the St.George Peninsula which juts out into Muscongus Bay called Port Clyde. It possesses one of the safest harbors on the coast and is also one of the prettiest. In addition, it is one of the last small, working deep-sea and coastal fishing villages left in its region of its kind with a deep commitment to sustainable lobstering and co-operative wholesaling and retailing.

This way of life has become increasingly imperiled by the arrival of two powerful outside forces: the vast increase in summer people of enormous wealth (heretofore it has been mostly working and middle-class folks and artists who summered there and on the many islands nearby) and the arrival of one very, very wealthy woman who has decided she doesn't just want to own the town: she wants to  brand it.

The wharf and Port Clyde General Store. The PCGS also serves as a community center, something which has been curtailed in recent years in the off season to maximize the new owner's profits with little regard for impact on the year-round community's lifestyle and culture. In earlier years, they would raise an orange onion bag on a flagpole to signal for a boat from the island across the harbor to pick up a passenger. My father remembers those days.

Some Background

The area around Port Clyde was settled very early by Englishmen. The town of Thomaston, just up the St. George River, was settled in 1609--well before Plymouth or Boston--and has been continuously settled since. The region was once prosperous with shipbuilding, whaling, fishing, and exported ice from Maine's many rivers and lakes as far away as India and the Far East on ships made right there. As the 19th Century came to a close and steamships replaced sailing vessels; as the demand for whale oil faded and the use of kerosene became commonplace; as the demand for bird guano (yep, that's right: harvesting bird shit was a major industry) dried up; as the granite and lime quarries began to exhaust themselves, the region began to slide into a slow but inevitable decline. A decline from which it has never recovered. Today the peninsula is populated mainly by fishermen, lobstermen, farmers, artists and artisans, small family businesses and retirees. Many of the residents supplement their fishing with boatbuilding, seasonal carpentry, sailmaking and other crafts. Like the Brahmins of Boston, many of them can trace their families' presence in the area back to the 17th century. Unlike the Brahmins, few if any of them enjoy any appreciable wealth. "Cabots with calluses" one friend of mine says.

Our Friendship half-dory, measuring 16" along the hull, in yearly dry-dock for repair and painting. My father and I have learned to do this ourselves. This is only the second one of its kind we have had in over 50 years, and was built by a Port Clyde local and family friend in 1990. The style of this boat is peculiar to the area from Friendship Long Island (which can be seen from the Rock on a clear day) to Owl's Head. Very stable, it can take rough seas and heavy loads. Every piece of lumber, equipment, appliance, everything in our island house came over on a boat like this one.

My family's involvement with Port Clyde began in the very early 50's. My great-grandfather and great-grandmother retired to Massachusetts with their eldest son after the war work was done. Great-Granddad was the superintendent of a conveyor factory in New Jersey, and his son, my grandfather, was his foreman. The industry was considered vital to the war effort and the hours were long. Both decided to return to Massachusetts after the war, buy a few dairy cows, and live quietly on the land for a while. Just a few years later, Great-Granddad suffered a sudden heart attack and died on the spot. It left my great-grandmother, whom everyone called Nan, devastated.

"Nan", about 1910, three years before she married Great-Granddad.

That summer, to try to lift her out of her funk, my grandparents decided to take a road trip up the coast of Maine. Some neighbors--best friends of Nan's--suggested they drive up to a place called Port Clyde. They recently built a place on an island there, they said.

Up route 1 the family went, packed into an old DeSoto, and when they arrived my Nan immediately fell in love. On their next trip, they met a man who was parceling out lots on the island across the harbor, the one where our neighbors had a place. He invited them out to stay. To make a long story short, they decided to buy a parcel of land (I believe it cost 3,000 dollars in 1953). The next year, the modest "camp" as we call them, was built without benefit of power tools or electricity. Water was hauled from a nearby spring. Nan loved it, and spent entire summers there with her sister and my father and my uncle and their friends. An artesian well came in about 1959. Electricity came in 1966. Telephone in 1983, both by undersea cable. Running water (cold only) came in 1993. We continue to resist putting in a water closet.

Commonmass' Grandfather about 1942. He and his friends built our little place on "The Rock" with hand tools, hauling everything over on a small boat. They lived on sandwiches, beer, and cigarettes.

Since that time several members of my family, including myself, have lived there nearly year-round (roughly March-December) at various times. I became a permanent resident of Port Clyde just one year ago. Everyone in the family has the same feeling of awe my Nan had upon first seeing it every time we're there. To us, it's the most beautiful spot on earth.

Changing Demographics

Year round residents have experienced some improvement in the last forty years in standard of living. Cleaning up the harbor and Muscongus and Penobscot bays, which it lies between, as well as more sensible, sustainable fishing and lobstering practieces have improved yields in recent years. In about the mid 80's, the area was "discovered" by day-trippers and kayakers and this increased opportunities for seasonal work and an increase in art and craft galleries, restaurants, etc. The replacement of a WPA-era sewer line (which drained into the bay--no more) and other projects have contributed to better infrastructure and cleaner water. Some famous old inns, such as the Ocean House have continued to prosper, and it has always been helpful to local merchants (of which there are not many) that Port Clyde is the terminus of the mail boat and ferry to Monhegan Island, long a summer destination for artists, birders and seasonal tourists. Things were looking up a bit for Port Clyde, compared to where it was in say 1960.

Port Clyde was, however "discovered" all right. By the mid-80's, the reserved parking for the Islanders--both year-round and seasonal--was sold and a business was built on it. The old A&P was torn down for parking for the Monhegan Boat Line. Public docks became hopelessly overcrowded, and local fishermen competed with day cruisers and other pleasure craft for passage and mooring space in the harbor. First-time kayakers (we call them "speed bumps"), unsure of their right of way (they have it) created real danger to working boats either by hesitation or inattention, a problem which persists. (I will add that seasoned kayakers can always be singled out because they know what they're doing and respect the fact that they are pleasure boating in a working waterfront).

Sunset on Port Clyde's working waterfront. The Rock is to your left. This is very similar to the view I have from our place. Grandfather Commonmass was smart to by a lot on the west end!

Then, in the 90's, the real demographic shift began, especially on the islands, including ours. Here's an example of some of the professions of the folks who owned places on The Rock in 1980. All of these people are "original owners", including my own family.

--Systems Anylist
--Professional musician
--Retired Dentist
--Luthier (violinmaker)
--Carpenter and Master Stonemason

Looks pretty middle-class, right? Pretty much, it was. In fact, a very interesting demographic indeed.

Today, there are only a handful of "original owners" left. Let's have a look at some of the folks who have bought, built and added-on since about 1990:

--Former PBS television host
--US Supreme Court Justice
--Investment Banker
--Washington Lawyer and Lobbyist
--Mortgage Banker

Notice the difference? Now I have nothing against people's professions. However, we all know what this does to a community when it is "up-scaled", not to mention to the taxes. Enormous, grotesque and thoroughly tasteless additions have been added onto formerly modest dwellings and with this has come lavish landscaping and sprawling lawns--often landscaped with bushes and plants and grasses which are not indigenous to the region. All of this, of course, has to be watered, so sophisticated sprinkling and irrigation systems have been introduced. In one case, the grounds are kept tended and watered from spring until fall. This house is used for only two weeks a year by its owner, his family, and his personal chef.

You can see the problem here: there is serious environmental impact from this rapid development, not the least of which is water. This is an island. Fresh water from deep artesian wells is available, but it is not limitless. Our well went dry one drought season. It did not stop some of our neighbors from continuing to water their lawns until theirs, too, stopped. It was several days before the water returned.

Our modest dwelling on The Rock. The landscaping is done by Mother Nature, with a little help from my pruning shears and my Grandmother's stone walls.

This kind of thing happens all the time in cities. It's called "gentrification", which is a very offensive term: it suggests feudalism, and a feudalistic relationship between owners and renters. In a seasonal community, this can be just as devastating. Many old-time summer owners have been forced to sell their property because they could not afford the taxes PLUS the upkeep. If my brother and I had the sole responsibility for the taxes, we would have to sell immediately. While on the one hand, one has a right to do what they please--within reason--on one's own property. Which is precisely what the original owner of the island understood when he parceled out the lots. There was a very restrictive covenant in the deeds meant to avoid the exact problem the community now faces: over-development, multiple dwellings per lot, any commercial enterprise, and remodeling which would adversely affect the property taxes of residents to the point that someone would have to sell because of the actions of another.

Unfortunately, in the mid-80's, shortly before the original developer died, he brought a lawsuit against a new owner for violating the deed covenant by building a clearly separate--and significantly larger--dwelling on his one lot. It was a long and very bitter suit. The original developer lost, and many of the provisions of the covenant were struck down. Some say that's what killed him, as he died shortly thereafter. The loss of that suit opened up the development that has resulted in a quiet, modest community becoming a socially stratified one, the endangerment of indigenous plants and wildlife, and serious environmental concerns, especially in waste disposal and water conservation.

One crusty old-timer on The Rock told me just this past fall while observing one of the super-rich residents ferrying over some "beautiful people" for the weekend: "The goddamned rich always find a way to spoil everything for the rest of us". I'm afraid I had to agree.

Coming in Part 2:

Greed and the Village Part 2: The Martha Stewart of Herring Gut

In part 2 I will explore the second major shift in the life of my village: the arrival of a businesswoman who would do more than any other person in recent memory to disrupt the community balance of Port Clyde. In an attempt to brand Port Clyde™, she has bought up everything she can in an attempt to "Do for lobster what Purdue did for chicken". Love her or hate her, she has divided the village and spurred grassroots, co-operative competition from local fisherfolk in an attempt to preserve a disappearing way of life.

  NOTE: Some readers know who I mean by the "Martha Stewart of Herring Gut". I would ask you please not to identify this person by name in the comments in this diary. Part 2 is going to be pretty hard-hitting and she googles herself constantly. Appreciated. --CM

Originally posted to commonmass on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 11:49 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I see what makes you love this (9+ / 0-)

      place. Lovely. It is like someone sees someone with a toy and just has to take it from you. (I hope I make sense). Here urban renewal is well intended yet it outsiders come drive up the price to the point where the original residents can't afford to stick around.

      •  Oh, you make perfect sense. (13+ / 0-)

        And you're right on. Anyone who could afford to buy our three lots and our well (sold separately, btw) would bulldoze our place the first day and put up 3300 square feet and build a huge dock all the way up the 125 cliff (it doesn't look that high in the picture, but it is. According to the GPS).  Yep. They would be glad to get rid of riff-raff like me. One prominent resident is already out for our lot on the other side of The Rock. He covets our well, which is the only thing on it. Why? He wants to water his lawn.

        Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

        by commonmass on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 01:18:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you need a high cliff (6+ / 0-)

          to keep your feet dry at night in an area of 10-foot tides.

          Unfortunately, the Maine approach of non-zoning has worked against it, letting rich riff-raff take over far too many areas.

          Stiff zoning laws could have prevented a lot of the trashification, but when there was still time to discuss it, tough old timers who'd lived independent-like for generations couldn't hear it.

          It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes. -- Oscar Wilde

          by Mnemosyne on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:28:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Independent Mainers (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mnemosyne, mayim

            made my 3-year stint on our town's Comprehensive Planning Committee a totally frustrating experience.  In the end, they defeated any attempt at zoning (one guy called it communism) and our once lovely town has since gone on to do its best to resemble low-rent sprawl interspersed with a few outlandish McMansions.  The price for the illusion of freedom, I guess.

            •  I've been thinking about (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ladybug53, commonmass

              that kind of mindset, and my best guess is that they were somewhere in the category of It Can't Happen Here. Thus, "We're so far removed from the hustle and bustle, and everyone knows the best way to make a living is on the land or the water, and the summah people go away at Labor Day, so why would anyone bother us?"

              It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes. -- Oscar Wilde

              by Mnemosyne on Tue Mar 08, 2011 at 07:08:51 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I will be available to respond to comments (10+ / 0-)

    should there be any, after a short hiatus. Thank you for reading.

    Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

    by commonmass on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 11:50:54 AM PST

    •  thanks for this, cm (12+ / 0-)

      The small world of waterfront Maine: On my way to meet a friend out on Monhegan one day, I raced around the bay from the other side (fussing at tourist traffic on one-lane Route 1), screeched into the parking at Port Clyde and dashed for the dock. The deckhand called "Wait," and they held the boat.

      "Whew," me, panting. "I just came all the way around from XXX [ on one of the  peninsulas west of PenBay ]."

      "Ah," the boatman said, "Ya know XXX XXX, do you?"

      Tiny town, and yes, I was acquainted with the good captain, someone who was well known then all over the coast as an expert waterman.  Made me feel right at home, that did.

      I don't know if that's possible anymore. I watched prices go up, and up and up, after the changes in the tax laws in the '90s, and as people who'd worked on the water for generations were driven inland by ever-higher property costs.

      And don't get me started on the summah people who bought big houses and then complained that local boatyards were unsightly, with their piles of lumber and half-finished boats in the side yard, and wanted them zoned away.

      It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes. -- Oscar Wilde

      by Mnemosyne on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 12:36:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's gorgeous (9+ / 0-)

    Fascinating when personal history merges with the history of a place, isn't it? What a lovely diary you've created.

  •  Similar changes (11+ / 0-)

    near our Maine "summer place" on Sebago.  My husband's folks bought land and  small (falling in) cabin in the 50s, on a dirt road with 3 small camps nearby and a lot of trees.   They had the cabin hoisted in the middle and propped up, and wood lined.  When I first visited-late 80s, early 90s, that is how it was.  Most lake dwellers had canoes and sailboats; a few regular 5 am run fishing boats and the loons were the only breaks in the quiet.

    Now part of bedroom community for Portland and lots of tree stripping and big houses built in what is left of the woods--the wash has gotten so bad down the now paved road that it washed out our neighbor's foundation and created a huge sinkhole next to our place.  The house next to us got "blown up" from a modest cabin to a huge winterized 3 story house (even though the owners only show up on sporadic weekends).  Taxes have gone throgh the roof for our place although it is still small and not winterized, so can't be lived in year round.

    And everybody seems to love jet skis, which come into our quiet wing of the lake and circle all day like noisy polluting hornets.  We used to be able to draw our drinking wter straight from the lake and ever worried about skin infections when swimming.  No more.  And to add insult to injury all the boat propellers have carried millfoil into our end of the lake.  Crap.  I love the time I have spent in Maine but the quality of life there has really gone downhill.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:21:46 PM PST

    •  My place is just enough north of there (5+ / 0-)

      that we've escaped the worst of what you are talking about ~~ too far from Portland for commuting through the winter ;-)

      Plus, our lake has a horsepower limit on motors, which really helps!

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 06:59:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We used to have a strict speed limit (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mnemosyne, barbwires, ladybug53, mayim

        in the harbor. No one will enforce it. It's a peril to small craft and trawlers alike.

        Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

        by commonmass on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 07:03:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  BTW, cm (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mayim, commonmass

          that is a lovely little dory. Lapstrake? Can't quite tell from the picture.

          I like the "Cabots with calluses" description.

          It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes. -- Oscar Wilde

          by Mnemosyne on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 07:27:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Lapstrake, indeed. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53, mayim

            You'll notice I mentioned that it measures sixteen feet, but for some reason they're measured hull-wise. For docking purposes, one figures 18 above water. Cedar lapstrakes, oak planks, two sets of oarlocks. Notice the well for an outboard. Excellent design. Lobsermen used to haul traps in these boats. The condition in which you see it is in early spring. It is scraped, caulked, repared and painted every year. By us. Lots of other islanders have them but in varying states of upkeep. In the next diary I'll post a picture of this boat when it's "ship shape". It's the best looking specimine of it's kind, so we're told.

            Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

            by commonmass on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 08:41:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  This is great commonmass, I'm so thankful (8+ / 0-)

    you stuck around.  What a rich background you have!

    Is it weird in here or is it just me?- Steven Wright

    by nannyboz on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:41:15 PM PST

  •  What a great diary, thank you (7+ / 0-)

    I live in coastal Maine and see the same kind of degradation you have seen.  Rich folks move in, build McMansions (which supports builders I suppose), and subsequently raise property values to ridiculous levels.  The property taxes on my shack on a postage stamp of land are obscene, believe me.
    And then to add insult to injury they manipulate their assessments (they have lawyers, of course, who can threaten and intimidate small town property assessors), and find other clever ways to avoid paying taxes (how about a few cows?  It's now a working farm!).
    Now we have a Tea Bag Governor, so you better believe there will be no real property tax reform for the people who live and work on the Maine coast.  In fact, he'll probably cut the rates for the Summah folks' mansions if he can get away with it.  They're the job creators, right?
    All that said, we couldn't live anywhere else, could we?

    "I shall never surrender or retreat." --Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis

    by badger1968 on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:56:10 PM PST

  •  In defense of my request to HR a certain comment: (6+ / 0-)

    Back in the '70's, a book was written by a journalist about his year on Vinalhaven, called, I believe "Here On The Island" (I don't have it at hand, or I would cite it). He went out of his way not to mention the name of the island, though if you were from around these parts, from every other identifying characteristic in the book, including photographs, you knew exactly where he was. He did it for a reason. So did I. I will say nothing more on the subject. Part 2 is forthcoming regardless.

    Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

    by commonmass on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 05:19:27 PM PST

    •  Kahn't get theyah from heah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      (and that's no accident.)

      Great diary CM. I have a special fondnest (sic) for Maine...both spiritually and (once) academically.

      I look forward to Part Deux.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Wed Mar 09, 2011 at 07:26:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's a real love-hate relationship (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mnemosyne, ladybug53, maryru, mayim, commonmass

    between Mainers and tourists. I was born and raised in Maine, only having moved away for a few months, and I have witnessed these issues. I am from rural, inland Maine (although my father recently moved to Portland), so there isn't quite as much tourism where I'm from as on the coast, but it's still the driving force behind the economy.

    That's the love part.

    If it wasn't for tourism, there basically would be no Maine economy, as you've said. However, to paraphrase other things you've said, tourists are real dicks to the state. Now, not all of them are. Family ties to the state, such as your own, tend to make those tourists, such as yourself (sorry, I know you live there now, but my inherent distrust of out-of-staters means I'll be reluctant to accept your residency for about another year or so, it's nothing personal) more respectful of the area, but those families seem to be dwindling, or younger generations less appreciative or something.

    Honestly, there aren't nearly as many problems in my area with out-of-staters as on the coast [except the ridiculously horrid driving of Massholes (again, nothing personal) in the winter on their way to Sunday River], but it still happens on a smaller scale. Rich man in turtleneck and jeans (his casual attire) drives up in his Lexus, passes through town, gives disgusted look to the homeless guys wandering around and 13 year olds smoking cigarettes in front of Cumberland Farms, and then heads up through the woods to his cabin on the lake for a couple weeks. No one except the shop owners like them, but no one will hassle them because, let's face it, the only other industry is manufacturing modular homes.

    The coast is a different issue however, and you exemplified that quite well in this diary. The tourists are seriously wrecking communities over there, and it's terribly sad. But you know what, just in Port Clyde in the month of July I bet there is more cash than in the collective pockets of the entire state over the winter. We NEED that money. NEED. IT. Maine was poor before the recession, and it will be poor after. It's a shame that these people want to come and change the coast into whatever they see fit, but to be honest, we're not really in a great bargaining position.

    However, the local governments can certainly be stricter than they are. It's usually the locals who get all riled up when all of the tourists try to pull something, but the town doesn't stop it because they're afraid of losing the money. But I think that's why the tourists keep pushing for more things, they know they can probably get away with it. Well no more!

    Well, maybe a little bit, but I swear it'll be the last time!

    •  I was always told (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, mayim, commonmass, thePhoenix13

      that it took at least several generations before you were no longer from away:

      I know you live there now, but my inherent distrust of out-of-staters means I'll be reluctant to accept your residency for about another year or so, it's nothing personal

      "Just because the cat has kittens in the oven don't make 'em biscuits."


      It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes. -- Oscar Wilde

      by Mnemosyne on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 07:19:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for bringing this issue up by the way (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mnemosyne, ladybug53, mayim, commonmass

    I don't think anyone who hasn't actually been a state resident realizes these things are happening. I was just kidding about the you being a tourist thing, you cared enough to post this, so I approve

    •  No offense taken! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne, mayim

      But I do want to elaborate a bit. We were not just "summer people". We were March people. October people. Stolen weekends nearly year round. The man that built that half-dory, and a couple of other still-local guys, well the ones that haven't passed, were bosom buddies with my dad and his brother. My brother and I are friends with their sons.

      My brother and I were both conceived right there on that rock. My mother knew it before she left. We were born exactly three years and five days apart. Guess you can tell what month my parents spent there! I was three months old when I returned there for the first time after being born. My grandfather's brother and their family also have a lovely place there. For many reasons, that place is more of a family homestead than anywhere else any of us have ever lived.

      I learned to drive, by the way, on the back roads off 131.

      For the past several years, before I was laid off, I had some job flexibility. I spend three or four days--weekdays--on the Rock, then commuted back to Mass to work on the weekends (Thursd-Sund) and then back . Every week from march till December. Last year, well, I officially became a Mainer. In fact, a year ago this month.

      I'll always be from away, but as my friend and fellow Kossack Debbie in ME says, seeing as how I was conceived here and can prove it, I'm only half from away. As I say, I was conceived in Maine and had the terrible misfortune to be born in Massachusetts!

      I'm willing to bet that I have spent more time in my life in Maine than most part-time residents I know, and have the great fortune of knowing several long-time local families, and several generations of the to boot.

      Maine is what you make it. But to make anything of it, you have to understand it first. To do that, in the end, you have to take the plunge and decide to live here. And learn what a "dooryard" is. ;)

      Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

      by commonmass on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 06:59:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Glad to hear it (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mnemosyne, ladybug53, mayim, commonmass

        I think Maine is a great place to grow up and have connections in, and I'd also much rather learn to drive out in the sticks than in Boston or something like that. I think that'd be pretty scary. I hope you're enjoying the state more now that you're there full-time, although you do get to see the problems too.

        •  I've been trying to move here (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mnemosyne, ladybug53, mayim

          for 15 years, actively. I have achieved a lifelong goal. I'll add my uncle and my cousin are also residents, and my grandmother lived full-time on the rock until just a few years ago. She'll be 91 this year and still makes the occasional visit. (My great-grandmother, the one in the old picture in the diary, died when I was 15. Some of her ashes were scattered there so she's still with us, I guess).

          We have been taxpayers in Maine since 1953. We've always kept a close eye on what goes on in Maine. Too few part-time residents take it that seriously. But I will admit, I have a slightly different perspective now that I'm a resident. Before I moved here full-time, when I was here a few days a week, one of the reasons I did that was to be able to canvass against Question 1 on marriage equality. It was that experience that convinced me to move here full-time and roll up my sleeves to try to be a part of a solution for Maine. Problems? Sure, we got'em. But we're some of the most resilient people in the country. We can solve them. AND give LePage the boot while we're at it!

          Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

          by commonmass on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 07:28:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Commonmass and I share being (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne, ladybug53, commonmass

      more than lifelong summer residents ;-)

      I keep threatening to move to Maine, but the economy has kept me from doing so... but I still check the Portland want ads, just in case.....

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 07:08:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a wonderful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, commonmass

    diary commonmass and the true about gentrification so well written, thank you.

    My parents had a little place up in South Haven, Michigan and pretty much the same thing happen there.  A explosion of the wealthy came in and changed the whole ambiance of the town which was sad because it was a quiet little town, just perfect for a weekend getaway where the movie theater charged $3.00 for a feature and gave you free popcorn if you brought your own bag.  

    It isn't wealth I dislike, it is their lack of respect and attitude that makes them hard to be around.  My neighborhood in Chicago went through the same thing with gentrification and the pleasant little part of the city I lived in became unbearable with rude people, it was really sad because the older gentleman across the street lost his home because property taxes went so high he could no longer afford to stay in his home, and that is what was truly sad about gentrification.

  •  Money rules in a Capitalist society. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, mayim, commonmass

    It trumps every other value, including respect for the dignity of humanity, the beauty of the environment and the integrity of communities.

    You've done a great job of bringing this truth to light in this story of things precious to you and your family.

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