Sunday, September 23, 2007

One Rainy Day in Maine

"I almost didn't happen," said my Grandaddy with a twinkle in his eye. "You almost didn't happen!"

We were standing in the rain by the gravestone of my great-great-grandmother Phoebe Wing as Grandaddy explained that she didn't marry until she was already an 'old maid;' she married a widower whose first wife and daughter died of TB.

Last weekend Nathan and I drove up to Sidney, Maine to get a full tour of my Grandaddy's old 'stomping grounds' while he was visiting the area. We saw the cemetaries where many of my ancestors are buried, and we walked through the house Grandaddy lived in when he was just six or seven years old.

We saw the cabin on the shore of Lake Messalonskee where he spent summers into his teen years. We had lunch at a charming place called "The Early Bird," and we enjoyed a drive-through tour of Sidney and Augusta. I found my great-great-great-great grandparents' gravestones in a quiet plot behind a house on a dead-end road in the middle of nowhere.

As the day drew to a close the rain finally let up and Nathan and I sat in rocking chairs with Grandmommy and Grandaddy on the little dock by the cabin on the lake. It was the most beautiful, peaceful place I've been in a long time.

Now here's a strange fact: years ago my Mom visited her grandfather in Maine, had a tour of the area, and.... the next day her grandfather died. So after hearing this story, naturally my parting words to Grandaddy were words of caution lest he meet a similar fate after we left! Fortunately, he survived the trip and is back in California now.

We had a wonderful time learning more about my maternal family heritage and seeing beautiful scenic, secluded spots in Maine. I just hope I can remember all the wonderful stories Grandaddy told us!


  1. what a special trip... i'm so glad you got to do that! unfortunately i don't really remember any stories my grandparents told me. you should write them down so you remember!! my aunt used to live on a lake with a dock that looked just like that. ah, beautiful maine.

  2. Oh Sarah, wow!! I wish I could have been there, too. Can you write down Granddaddy's stories? I'd love to know them, too.

  3. What a great trip--isn't Maine beautiful in August? Matt and I visited that very graveyard in 2005, though without the stellar tour guides. We took pictures of every single gravestone for a genealogy project we were working on that year. The pictures are sitting somewhere in the depths of our photo site, on the off-chance other Sawtelle descendants are interested.