Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Limestone, Maine... Always on my Mind.

I am taking part in a travel link up this month, the theme is to blog about a "Place you can't get out of your head".

If you know me, you know that London is a big part of my life...And Always on my mind... Heck, I have a whole blog dedicated to it and I can't seem to stay away for more than 4 months at a time.

But there is another place, that my mind wonders to. It holds a huge place in my heart and is where years of memories linger.


Growing up my dad was in the US Air Force, we lived on the Island of Guam for 5 years, and though I remember bits and pieces, the biggest impact of my life was when we left Guam and headed to Maine.

We had no idea what we were in for. We were leaving a tropical island and headed for a place, where winter temps hit 60 below zero, with the wind chill!!

Limestone, Maine is about as far up as you can go in the United States. In my back yard, there was literally a marker that read "United States" on one side and "Canada" on the other.


There were no high fences, no border patrol marching up and down with machine guns. Honestly, then... in the 80's, we were worried about war with Russia, the big scare was the nuclear bombs on Loring AFB and WW3. In the 80's we came and went across the Canadian border without thought. In Canada it was legal to drink at 18, in the States it was 21, so going across the border to Canada made you feel all grown up! When I was 18, my boyfriend and I would go dancing at the night clubs.

But back up, Back up. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Let me paint you a picture.
If my memory serves me correctly, there were 69 people in my graduating class. 
Here is the town center of Limestone, where I grew up.


The nearest mall was a 3 hour drive, there were a couple of clothing stores in the near by towns of Caribou and Presque Isle, but all in all, fashion didn't come to these parts like it did the cities. If we were really lucky, some of us would travel to other parts of the States in the summer, and buy really "cool" clothes. Bands like Duran Duran were popular and we would buy teen magazines to show us what the rest of the world was wearing... Imagine when we saw pictures of Boy George for the first time! If he would have walked down Main Street (this very street pictured above), I'm quite sure there would have been a seizure of shock from a person or two. 

But this beautiful town... this tiny Northern town...

It's where I grew up.

My parents never had to lock their doors at night, and there wasn't a whole lot of trouble to get into. I remember wanting to leave, because it was just so boring! Now, that I raise kids of my own, I realize that my mom had it pretty easy raising teens in Limestone, Maine!

My first job was working on a potato farm.
Now THAT is work folks, I have great respect for farmers.
The season started with "rock picking", we literally walked the fields and picked up big rocks and threw them in the back of a cart, being pulled by a tractor. 


The pay was great for a 16 year old, and I picked rocks with my best friend, she's one of the funniest people that I knew and still know!

Then came the REAL work.
Picking the potatoes at harvest time, I stood on the back of one of these with my friend, picking out bad potatoes and more rocks, making sure the good potatoes survived the journey.


Potato picking in Maine, happens in the Autumn, it was so cold and we were up at 4am. 
Did I mention the respect I have for farmers?
Every year during harvest, school let out in Limestone for 3 weeks. I went to school with so many farming families,that the students would have missed school to work on the farms, so it was a given holiday every school year.

In my 7 years of living in Limestone, Maine
I saw plenty of snow. In March I would think "please no more snow, please please please NO more snow", but it lurked, and some of it could still be seen in clumps, left behind by snow plowing, until May. Flowers grew alongside piles of snow and when it hit 70 degrees my girlfriends and I would think it was summer, we would lay out in our chairs, snow beside us and lather up with baby oil... Sometimes, I'd like to slap my younger self!!! SKIN DAMAGE ALERT!!


There was so so so much of this...

Very high snow drifts were not uncommon...
I have shoveled more snow than I care to remember... 
I grew up with frost bite warnings.
And wind chill factors.


I learned to drive in snow, with a stick shift!


I remember the first time I saw the Norther Lights.
Seeing Aurora Borealis frightened me, I didn't know what it was, I had never heard of it, and all I remember was bright streaks of light quickly whipping across the sky. My mom told me what was happening, I was young, I thought the world was ending!
It was, however, Breathtaking


When driving in Maine, you see many of these, just sauntering across the road. Every time you see a Moose, your heart does an extra little pitter patter, they are massive creatures.



I also met and married my husband in Limestone. He was a soldier at the time, working on Loring AFB. We married on the base and had our reception in my parents home, that looked similar to this.


Sadly it burned down a year later, and the barn that stood behind it. It was the largest barn in Aroostook County. Arson was suspected, which makes it a hard pill to swallow. But I do have my pictures, and my memories.

Coming from a small town means that people are close, and that everyone knows everyone else. I have kept in contact with 90% of the people that were in my graduating class. From what I understand, since the base closed, the town has more or less disappeared and there are only 1,075 people living in Limestone now. It wasn't a big town to start with, now it's nearly obsolete.

 My plan is to return in the summer of 2016. I want to show my children that I grew up in a place where, for miles and miles, you see this...



Sure, we do have big open spaces in Texas, but we don't have the four seasons of Maine. And we rarely leave the city. Unless of course, we are traveling to another city. 
Thinking of Maine reminds me of peace.
Of quiet.
Of a pristine wilderness.

27 years of memories.

At 18, I left Maine and moved to England with my husband.
Can you imagine the culture shock? 
I soon adjusted from being a small town girl, to a world traveler.

Sadly, for this blog posting, my photos are all in storage, so these are photos I found using google.
However, they perfectly sum up, my every memory.
See you soon Maine!

If you would like to take join in on the travel link up, please check out the blogs  by EmmaKelly Rebecca Or Liz.
They have amazing travel blogs, and you can find the link to join in!

11 comments:

  1. My only memory of Maine is a lot of snow. We drove through it to get to Canada and got really stuck. Kind of like that image of yours. But I know it is a very beautiful state.

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  2. Wow Main Street is so wide!!! Sounds like you have great memories and you should definitely take your kids there. x

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  3. What a place - and the ability to leave your doors unlocked is beguiling!

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  4. Somehow I imagined that you grew up in England, not in Maine! It must have been an incredible change from Guam and quite a culture shock for you and not just in terms of the weather! I hope that you enjoy your return next year! xx

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  5. I LOVED reading this Tammy :)

    Hope you're having a good week xxx

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  6. Thanks Susie! I am currently navigating through my first head cold of the season... Always happens this time of year!! Other than that.. all is good. I moved over to disqus because my blog kept going to "no reply"... Have a great night! x

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  7. Gorgeous photos - we took our first trip to Maine this year up as far as Acadia, so much more to see - thank you for showing me more!

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  8. Isn't Acadia National Park exquisite? When people say they don't travel... I just don't quite understand!!!

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  9. Wow Maine just looks stunning Tammy! What a destination and I remember as kids not locking our doors when staying on the farm but you couldn't do that now which is super sad.
    Have a great trip!

    xx

    Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes

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  10. What an amazing tribute to the place you grew up and married in. I'm with you on Maine. It's a really special place in this big world of ours.

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  11. Sounds like a pretty magical childhood! I wish I would have learned how to drive on ice and snow now that I'm living in the Arctic, haha :D

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Thank you for your positive comments!