My house was me and I was it…

That’s no longer true. This morning marked the closing for my SWH home. My realtor says the new owners are wonderful people, hard-working, not the typical rich folks who buy second homes on Mt. Desert Island, and apparently, they’re planning to be year-rounders in a few years.

I appreciate that, for the town of Southwest Harbor, the Manset oceanfront, and especially for my incredible next-door neighbors, who are the epitome of life in a small Maine community.

“They’re so excited,” my delightful realtor told me. “They’re going to do some painting this weekend.” I’ll bet they’re painting my purple side porch door.



The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater

After 25 years of being identified with my artsy crafty woodsy Maine home, I must forge a new identity.

I’ll be happier about the lovely family who had the good sense to buy the best house anywhere when I see the big chunk of change in my bank account.

It won’t be real until then. I’ll celebrate. I’ll research wise investment strategies. I’ll take exotic trips. I’ll visit my kids and darling grandson more often.

As one of my kids told me yesterday, “It’s only a house mom, you’re not on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.”

True. But I’m pretty sentimental.

Here are a few things that happened on 165 Seawall Road: My teenage kids and I ate ice cream, watched Seinfeld and Northern Exposure, snuggling together on the couch during cold winter evenings. We ate plenty of “You make it, you eat it” suppers around the hefty round oak table that will remain for the new family.

Four years ago, we hosted a brunch to celebrate my daughter and her husband’s wedding, and two years ago, a cocktail party to celebrate my son and his wife’s wedding week. We held my daughter’s first book launch in the dining room, with a fabulous chocolate cake that imitated her vibrant book cover.

This 4th of July we were together, and my then six-month old grandson and his parents had their photo taken on the sunporch.

We endured ice storms, bad health news, received college acceptance letters. I hosted women’s writing group many times over the years. I  frequently held big parties, including for my 50th and 70th birthdays. The circular downstairs layout was perfect for mingling, with the sunporch off to the side for the quiet ones.

My most therapeutic party was the Un-Inauguration Party in January 2001, which followed the horrendous installation by the U.S. Supreme Court of George W. Bush as president. I’ll never forget Church Lady KB or the couple with oversized twinkling cowboy hats, who stayed in not-so-smart Texas mode the entire evening.

I’ve been so lucky — as only the third owner of 165 Seawall Road, since 1935 — to hold onto the place for 15 years since moving to Tucson in 2002. That year, I received the same offer from a prospective buyer, but I couldn’t make myself sign the purchase and sale agreement.

This year was different. I automatically signed every document that came my way.

It will take a while to let go. It’s nice to hear hear friends say they’ll drive by and always think of it as “Sheila’s House,” even without my signature purple door.

I’ll read “The Big Orange Splot” to my grandson someday, remembering.

It was more than a house. It’s the end of an era.




This entry was posted in Family Matters, For Love of History, Mount Desert Island/Maine, Old friends, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to My house was me and I was it…

  1. SHEILA M LEPLEY says:

    Sounds to me like this is a healthy “goodbye. It amazes me how one can get attached to material things. But with letting go one becomes a lot freer. Enjoy your new freedom.

  2. sheilawill says:

    Thank you, other Sheila!

  3. Faith Ball says:

    I remember your lovely house. The end of an era is always hard, but you seem to be doing a good job with it. On to the next chapter!

  4. Julie Ray says:

    Mazal Tov! Transitions are hard and it sounds like you are taking the time to grieve and celebrate. By the way, I saw a woman with purple hair at Changing Hands bookstore today! First purple hair I’ve seen in Phoenix area.

  5. sheilawill says:

    Thanks Julie! Maybe Phoenix isn’t so bad.

  6. Sherry says:

    Sheila this is written so beautifully. I am very attached to my house and everything in it but at the the day if we are all together, safe and have our health nothing else matters. You have such wonderful memories to bring with you!! Enjoy each new day. xo

    • sheilawill says:

      Thank you Sherry! Yes,family is everything, wherever we are. I’m glad that Joel and Sandra got to my house for my 70th birthday party last summer, and also Amy and the girls, Alison, to one or both weddings.Enjoy your beautiful family and homes!

  7. Sue Haynes says:

    The end of an era and, it sounds like, a beautiful new era opening up. I enjoyed your piece!

  8. sheilawill says:

    Thanks Sue! Hope to see you soon.

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