People often ask why I moved from Manhattan to Maine. Simply put, I wanted a change!
After living in subsidized housing while attending a private school on the Upper East Side for middle and high school with the aid of a scholarship from 1978 through 1985 (and many crazy nights spent in Greenwich Village and night clubs including Studio 54), I attended Bennington College in Vermont for one year, also via scholarship. I loved Vermont and the academics, but I really wanted to be in a more economically diverse setting in New England since being the “scholarship kid” among the wealthy elite had its challenges. I transferred to the University of Maine in Orono where I earned my B.A. in English. I went on to earn an M.S. in Counselor Education at The University of Vermont in Burlington where I was awarded a department assistantship and lived in a tiny house in the woods. I later returned to Maine in 2000 where I’ve since remained.
Yankee thrift and frugality have been an integral part of my adult life and happiness. New England’s serene surroundings and gentle opportunities for connecting with the natural world keep me grounded and fulfilled.
My husband Wayne (a Baby Boomer) and I (Gen X) married in September 2018 and live on two acres in a mid-century cottage at the edge of our woods in Scarborough, Maine.
We live only five minutes from some of Maine’s most beautiful sandy beaches.
Our house, built in 1950, has had few cosmetic updates since that time. We do not have a dishwasher; I find washing and drying them by hand with vintage linens to be meditative and relaxing. We use old rotary phones, transistor radios and other outdated delights.
I love befriending the chipmunks in my yard, get a thrill from the changing leaves in autumn, appreciate the calm and silence during a gentle snowfall, and enjoy treasure hunting for old books and vintage goodies at estate sales and flea markets.
Wayne, who designed and built yachts for almost twenty years, tends to our little organic vegetable garden in the summer and does the outside chores in addition to being employed full time on the coastal Maine working waterfront.
I lost 10% of my weight in 2009 and have kept it off since by “eating retro” which I documented in my book, American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s. Thrifty, wholesome traditional New England meals are an important part of my weight loss maintenance.
Wayne read my vintage diet book and began to follow the principals presented in it. As you can see, he experienced quite a transformation!
Sober, Spiritual Living
Marie Joseph Spiritual Center, Biddeford Pool, Maine
I’m in long-term sobriety from alcohol (1994) and I’ve lived with chronic PTSD as the result of being the victim of numerous crimes, traumas and sexual abuse as a child. The PTSD mostly manifests in the form of disrupted sleep, nightmares and distressing memories. I somehow managed on five hours of broken, tormented sleep a night for decades; I was still able to function during the day, often working long hours which helped me avoid sleep. In my mid forties, however, it all began to catch up with me. I was exhausted on a very deep level, and tired of being afraid to go to sleep. Although I had been in long-term medication-free (there is no pill for nightmares) cognitive-behavioral and rational-emotive-behavioral therapy to work on my past traumas, my nightmares stubbornly remained. I felt like it was a dark secret I had to keep from others, as if it was a sign of weakness. I felt ashamed, too, since I, someone with an advanced education and clinical training in mental health, couldn’t make the nightmares go away.
Our spiritual home, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport
I have since left that undeserved shame behind and began a spiritual journey in mental wellness that is more formidable and comforting than anything I could have imagined! Refreshing sleep free of nightmares is now something I experience more often than not. I feel called to periodically share my stories of healing and pray that my honest offering of my experiences will offer hope for those who are struggling.
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