The first time I visited Eastport Maine, I came for a long weekend with a boyfriend long since forgotten. I had read about Eastport in Yankee Magazine and was awed by the photos of whales, porpoise, bald eagles and stunning views of the bay dotted with islands. I just had to go.
So we went for a long weekend and I fell in love (with Eastport, not the boyfriend). I was literally in tears as we packed up and left the island. Long story short, I waited for my son to grow up, go to college and began plotting my move Downeast.
I watched online real estate listings and home prices, subscribed to the local paper (The Quoddy Tides) and dreamed of the day I would become an Eastporter.
As I perused the home listings, I kept coming back to the same ad for one particular house. The photo was less than flattering (the other photo was of the parlor standing empty save for a table saw in the middle of the room). The square footage was too much for just one person in this age of “carbon footprints“, but I was intrigued. Well, to be honest, I “stalked” this house every day for a year, praying it hadn’t been sold.
The time finally arrived for me to begin house hunting in Eastport. I had fourteen houses on my “must see” list but my expectations ran high for the house I had spent so many hours stalking via the internet.
The time finally arrived for the showing of the house in question. It took me about 30 seconds to know in my bones that this was “home”. Offer made, accepted, and I was higher than a kite.
I have to preface this part of my tale with a pertinent piece of information: My paternal side of the family is whacked. I mean, if you look up “dysfunctional” in the dictionary, there would be a family portrait…my family’s portrait. It’s the quickest way to explain the lack of family knowledge I possessed.
Back to the story:
A few weeks later, I was talking to my aunt on the phone discussing my move to Eastport.
“Eastport is a little town on Moose Island,” I explained, “you’ve probably never heard of it.”
There was silence and then, “Heard of it? Didn’t your father tell you his mother was born in Eastport?”
I was shocked. I had family ties to this wonderful place! I couldn’t have been more pleased and I wanted more information.
“Do you have a computer? Do you want to see the house I am buying?”
Of course my aunt wanted to see, she’s so good like that.
When she saw the listing that proudly stated “Under Contract”, there was silence and then a sharp intake of breath after she read the street address aloud.
“I have to call you back,” she said. She sounded panicked.
Not five minutes later the phone rang and I was given some incredible news from my aunt, “Our family owned the house you’re buying!”
After she explained the address matched old family records, we decided to wait and see if the deed to the property would bear this out, after all, when many towns implemented 9-1-1 services many house numbers were changed along the way.
But as it turned out, I did buy the family homestead. My ancestors owned the house for close to 80 years.
It’s strange, the affinity I felt for the town from my first visit eight years before, the fascination I had for the house before I even laid eyes on it “in person”, the overwhelming feeling of “home” that filled me when I entered the house.
When word got out that I had bought the “family home”, I had almost every relative on my father’s side of the family pay me a visit.
They came bearing photos, stories and even my great-great grandmother’s Bible. Some of my relatives had to explain to me who they were (remember: dysfunctional) but I welcomed them all and always will.
So was it coincidence or ancestral calling? You decide.
Even if it is coincidence, the one thing I know for sure is this: anything that brings our family back together again has got to be a good thing.