Years ago, when I was hauling my babies up here to the southern coast of Maine, I would sit at night in this very living room of our family’s second home after everyone had gone to sleep. I’d be reading, or writing — blogging didn’t exist. I would wonder what would happen to this home that has been in the Evans family for three generations, what will happen when the FOURTH generation comes of age and comes here, toting their toddlers on that vast beach, carrying them home for naps just as I did? Just as my mother in law did?
This year it happened. My son lived in Manhattan for 18 months. Though he was only a few hours away, he never had a chance to come up here and relax one time during those 18 months. Now he lives on the west coast. This year, he came back with his bride in tow. And so it was finally our turn to fill the house not with my husband’s parents, siblings and cousins, but with OUR entire family.
Even our dog was here!
We fly up from Dallas to the house at Drakes Island at least once a year, as we have every year since 1980. But every time previously, we have been here with my husband’s parents or one of the sisters, or his brother. My daughter got married in Kennebunkport five years ago, and we stayed here after the wedding. Friends came from everywhere, even the U.K., to wish them well and be feted at a morning brunch send-off.
This year, I had four children instead of two, since each one brought a spouse. We filled the bedrooms! For Erika, it was the first time she had experienced “The Beach House.” Of course she had heard story after story, and I’m sure my son loved showing her each nook and cranny, every piece of the beach, the jetty, Parson’s Beach, every photo, the oldest homes on the island, Big Daddy’s, Scoop Deck, the wonders of rainy-day shopping at LL Bean in Freeport.
Often, when I visit second homes properties, I hear developer after developer tell me that they are not selling land or condos or square footage. They are selling dreams, time, memories and to sum it all up, legacy.
I look at them and say, honey, you are preaching to the choir.
The Beach House, called Laurel Hill, was bought by my husband’s grandfather in 1947. He had that very legacy in mind. He bought on a small, secluded island with no commercial anything (we have to drive a few miles for the nearest grocery, and we love it) but homes, a community center, tennis courts, and one of the best kept secrets in the world: Drake’s Island Beach. He bought it so his children could bring their spouses and children here — legacy.
Now his grandchildren have taken over ownership, and the great-grandchildren are coming in as adults. They are scheduling their precious vacation time to be with us, with family. There is no better way to spend a week with your children. What do you do? Go to the beach, golf, shop, hike, jog, read. There are bikes and kayaks under the house. I saw people paddle-boarding today. The TV at The Beach House never works; if it were up to me, I’d donate it. Who needs a TV? The Beach House is where you come to sit on the porch and catch up with your family members. You chat over doing dishes. Maybe you trim the hedges or work on the community “to-do list”. We are scattered across the world now the way we live, and time spent together becomes ever more fleeting. Already I am fretting and kind of sad that this week ends next Sunday, when my kids fly back to their homes, work, lives.