This story is more than the saga of our first home. It is the record of young love and the realization of a dream. If you missed part one, you can read it HERE, otherwise enjoy My Dream House, Part 2.
We arrived in Maine with a Canadian cold front. I hadn’t seen snow so deep since a bad New York winter in my early childhood and I had never witnessed snow banks that rose into the overcast sky with the pride of pyramids. They lined curbsides, driveways, and doorsteps.
This wasn’t the Maine I knew. The Maine of my vacation memories was an August Maine overflowing with beach combers, campers, and mosquitoes. I doubted there was life outside a plow truck in this February Maine.
Being Valentine’s weekend we decided to spend a romantic mini-vacation in a bed & breakfast. I had never slept in a bed & breakfast and it seemed like the quaint, New England thing to do. The Victorian House Inn welcomed us into her cold rooms with a hug reminiscent of grandma’s. Her wallpapered rooms and antique furniture gave you a feeling of nostalgia that warmed, despite the breeze blowing through her wrinkles.
Kathy, the Inn’s owner, greeted us like she’d known us before we lost our first baby tooth. We had no idea that as she sat and sipped coffee with us the next morning, she’d become the cheerleader that would propel us to achieve our dream. She and her husband had beautifully restored a classic Maine cape in Wells and encouraged us to risk the comfortable.
I was mildly concerned that our dream house, located in the western town of Limerick, population 1,603 after I delivered my first child, was a little ‘too far out’ in my estimation. By this I meant, too far from civilization, Wal-Mart, and fast food. I couldn’t even cook!
We met our realtor, Ron Hack, and proceeded to forge a path through the snow to our house that barely rose out of a drift. According to our paperwork and strict family history, she was estimated to have been built between 1780 and 1800. There’s no doubt she is female because she birthed generations from her pot-bellied womb.
Her missing clapboards reminded of me of teeth lost with age. Her lead paint peeled and chipped revealing wrinkles and crevices so deep only the harshest of elements could have weathered her. Her green shutters hung to her shoulders like gray hair too often dyed blond. I looked down at the porches’ slatted floorboards and doubted if they had been replaced in the last hundred years. Thankfully my pre-pregnancy body was still light, merely causing creaking instead of cracking.
With the force of his entire body weight behind his shoulder, Ron managed to push the front door open. He tried his best to talk FringeMan and I out of a huge mistake, but it was as if we had succumbed to our dream and were unable to breath and move in reality. I saw white ruffled curtains blowing in the warm breeze with sunshine painted walls. I saw a porch that wrapped two sides of this home with wicker seated love. I envisioned bedrooms filled with whispers, giggles of children, and secrets of age.
Our realtor saw a dilapidated old house in need of demolition. Eventually I photographed it with a disposable camera, but even the developed pictures didn’t erase the images seared on my soul.
I saw this house as more than fire stained walls insulated by mice and hedgehogs.
The three chimneys in this home provided opportunity for every volunteer in town to become not only trained, but seasoned firefighters.
She was not brought to her knees begging by fire and would never lie down in defeat despite recommendations she be torn down and buried.
She still had life to give – life nurtured by dozens screaming from her walls. I heard them whisper hope to me. The realtor said the field mice burrowed in ever nook and cranny were speaking to me; however, I saw this house as more than a kitchen whose cooks had never known an electric stove.
It mattered little that the sink drained to the ground from a pipe sticking out of the wall. So what if the neighbors saw remnants of a spaghetti dinner staining the snow red. She was more than a home whose electric capacity was limited to a single lightbulb that hung from the ceiling.
She was my dream home.
To be continued at the closing with a shocking suggestion from the seller’s realtor….