|The Round Pond House in Summer 2010|
The house above is no longer standing, and my heart is breaking a little bit. You see, this was the first house we lived in when we moved to Maine almost 20 years ago.
A few weeks ago I stole away to Maine for the weekend. I hadn't been home for almost five months and it felt like too long. I missed my parents, the animals, and that cool, clean air that only Maine can afford. Seriously, the air is so different up there as compared to DC. Gone was the thick, humid, smoggy air and in its place, fresh, vibrant oxygen. Delightful.
We decided to drove downeast (aka down a peninsula) to get some lobster in New Harbor, shop in Damariscotta, and drive by our old house in Round Pond. When I was eight years old, my mom and I packed up her black Mazda pickup truck (yes, my mother is a truck lady through and through) and left Upstate New York for a trial year in Maine (my dad stayed in New York to finish out his job). It was a tough year being separated from my dad, but an incredible one that solidified the special bond I have with my mom.
We rented an old sea captain's house (in the picture above) in Round Pond, Maine, near where my mom secured a position as a teacher and I attended school. The family we rented from was abroad but came back to visit occasionally and we became friends (they had two young boys around my age). The house was a five-minute walk to the cove in Round Pound, and I recall many an evening spent skipping down to the shore with my next-door neighbor, Andrea. On our way home, we would stop by Granite Hall, the local general store for some penny candy and a soda pop.
The backyard of the house contained a dense wood, the perfect place to traverse on childhood odysseys like packing our "belongings" (aka school backpacks full of apples, granola bars, juice boxes and my stuffed bunny) to traverse the great frontier as pioneers). Across the street, a shallow pond that frozen in winter made the perfect ice skating rink. It was a wonderful place to be a child.
But when we drove by a few weeks ago, the house was gone. I was utterly shocked as we passed and remember just staring at my mom, who looked at me with the same bewilderment. Did we miss it? No, we definitely passed the property. I whipped out my phone and began searching for news stories that might explain what happened.
And then, I found it. A house fire. On March 11. The same day as the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Apparently, the fire had started on the second floor and it took fire crews from nine towns to put it out. And then it was declared a loss, and it appears that they demolished the house. We had lost touch with the owners over the years, so we have yet to find out more details.
It felt as though someone had pulled the rug out from beneath me. A place that meant so much in my life no longer existed. A death of sorts. For some reason, it's weighing deep in my heart these days. It was the beginning of so much for my family, and now, it's time has passed. I'll never forget what that house meant for my family - a new and better life in the great state of Maine.