Min Edwards is the pen name of archaeologist, former bookstore owner, and proprietor of A Thirsty Mind Book Design, Pam Headrick. She writes from the office in her 200 year-old farmhouse on the shores of Cobscook Bay, an arm of the Bay of Fundy. And her village, Lubec, Maine is the most eastern town in the U.S., the site of Quoddy Head State Park and the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse where people gather from all over the world on January 1 to great the first sunrise on the coast of America. Learn more about Min and her books at her website.
As we move into the holiday season, I think we’re all thinking of our families, our past... recalling our choices and why we made them. At least that’s what I’m doing again this year.
I had a lovely life in a community just outside of Austin, Texas for thirty years. I lived near my retired parents. My brother visited often. My son loved his school. But of course, we all grew older and things happened. But in 2011 I thought I needed a change. My parents were gone, my brother was married... my son was out of college and looking for other opportunities. So I sold my perfect Texas house, said goodbye to my friends of many years, tried to talk my housekeeper into coming with me (she gently refused) and headed north to Maine in a 29-foot U-Haul with all my stuff, most of which is still in boxes, six years later.
It took my son and me five days of travel... it was summer... hot as heck... and the roads were so crowded. But we made it unscathed.
Several years later I wrote my first novel, Stone Bay... about a Texas girl who blew up her life, sold everything, bought a house sight unseen from Realtor.com and left for the wilds of upper coast Maine.
I guess this novel was a catharsis for me. I got to illustrate all my fears and question my choices since leaving Texas, laying them all on the shoulders of my heroine Amanda.
Since the day I stood in front of the house I’d owned for decades but hadn’t seen since the early 90s (it had been an investment only... affordable waterfront), the choices of the last years have bothered me.
For one thing, village living, no matter where you live, is difficult. The native folk probably have roots going back generations; they’re a close-knit group who, although they’re kind to strangers (or those from ‘away’ as the residents of my village say) they don’t consider you one of them. You often speak differently, look differently, are politically different (and this is a hard one to deal with especially in these times). You find yourself seeking out others ‘from away’ instead of trying to blend in with the native population.
Now, six years later, I have friends but am just now learning to embrace the Old Guard. And those folks have wonderful stories to tell and their kindness is overwhelming. I wish I had started sooner to cultivate their friendships. But I was always looking backwards. My Texas friends called and said, “come home,” and I ached to do that. I tried joining organizations but nothing was a fit for me. So, after a few years I just retreated to my house, rarely leaving it, and I became for the most part a hermit.
When the calendar turned and 2017 hit me in the face, I realized that to be truly content in my new life I needed to embrace my community, both Old Guard and those ‘from away’. I stopped planning trips back to Texas for the winter when I realized how difficult it was to travel to the nearest airport... and how expensive. Nope, I was going to join my community. I was going to say instead of... “Hello, I’m from Texas’ to “Hello, I’m from the most eastern town in the U.S.” After all, millions of people are from Texas, but only a little over a thousand are from my little village. I’m thinking that’s something to crow about.
So, I guess the moral of this story is... you can go home again, but perhaps your current home is the right place for you now. Don’t look back with yearning but forward with anticipation.
Let me hear from you about your choices. Have you moved to someplace that you can’t seem to fit in? After you made a life-changing choice did you say to yourself, “What the heck was I thinking?”
For a visit with my fictional self, Amanda Warner, drop by Amazon and take a look at Stone Bay by Min Edwards. I poured all my questions and my surprised revelations into this novel.
Amanda Warner is a Texas girl from her cowgirl hat right down to her silver-tipped boots. She’s a successful woman, but romance has passed her by. On a whim to find that elusive spark that others seem to enjoy, she buys a new home... sight-unseen... on the Internet... in Maine. However, when she pulls up into the driveway of her new house, one that looks nothing like the online images, there’s a handsome stranger standing on her derelict porch. At that moment, she realizes she might have bitten off more than she can chew, in home ownership and romance.
Kevin Franklin, retired Army Intelligence officer, successful builder, has been unlucky in love throughout his life. He’s been more concerned with keeping family, friends and his country safe than finding a soul mate. Things may be changing for him though. When the new cowgirl in town walks into his life and into the house he was planning to buy for his sister, his luck takes a turn... and not always for the better.