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One of the things I find attractive about the state of Maine is the fact that it is so well rooted. People are born here and stay here. Not all, of course. But many I’ve met are still living in the town where they were born. Not only that, but they’re living in the town where their parents were born and, in lots of cases where their grandparents were born and lived their full lives.
This makes for a certain stability that’s for sure. It also gives a feeling of cozy snugness to the place. The natives may not be as aware of this as someone with a background of moving around a lot, such as I.
I’ve been musing on this lately because one branch of the family is about to experience some big changes in their living pattern. My son and his wife and three children are a very closely knit group. While they’ve moved from one house to another, the houses have never been too far apart. The kids shared common schools from kindergarten through high school. Even the college was nearby.
There are three siblings, two girls and a boy. The oldest, a girl, is 28, the middle child, a boy, is 22, and the youngest girl is 21. She is the only one still in school and is a senior in college. The thing is, they are all still living at home, happily, with their parents and their dog and they all seem to get along. They have weathered the usual, normal, rough waters of adolescence and emerged in fine shape. No easy feat in this day and age.
Now, for the first time, there will be separation and it isn’t going to be easy for any of them. The oldest is going to move to Delaware where the love of her life is being sent by the corporation for which he works. She is pretty upset by the thought of being apart from her sister. They are each other’s very best friends. Their brother is moving to Colorado with a good buddy, where he wants to build a life in the Rockies. The youngest will stay at home until she graduates from the University next May. She is particularly upset about losing her sister and the dog.
It’s hard to tell how their parents are feeling. There is a sense of relief at not having to maintain a four bedroom house and swimming pool any longer. My son maintains he will be happy to live a quieter existence but I’m only half listening. He has been the most loving and most involved with his kids father I’ve ever known. My daughter in-law, bless her heart, is keeping her feelings private but I know she’s feeling sad.
My own children, like me and their father, were all chomping at the bit to take off down their various yellow brick roads to Oz, so they left home petty early. They came back, from time to time, but only for short visits. One ultimately came back home to live but only after traveling around for several years. Right now, I have two in upstate New York and two living one town over.
When I was a child I had to become accustomed to having beloved brothers leave home fairly early. My two sisters stayed around for a longer period of time. I remember feeling absolutely desolate when my big brothers went away, especially when they went to war. I feel those same feeling whenever I see young men and women leaving for the Middle East battlefields today.
So, I empathize with my little family clan. Theirs has been a rather unusual life style by today’s standards and the change won’t be easy. My son says the one he feels sorriest for is the dog. He isn’t going to like Delaware.
I was there, and, like W. C. Fields, I’d even prefer Philadelphia.
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