PhotoStory and Heaven's Little Blessing

It's almost ironic sometimes how things happen, yet they claim, everything happens for a reason. I can't help thinking everything is intertwined somehow. Before I was born, my grandfather, a prominent home builder in Baltimore, bought a place on East Grand Lake, Danforth, Maine, middle of nowhere. He called it "The Big Mamu." Pat & Dee Vecchio's "Big Mamu" offered camping, fishing, hunting, and cottages on the lake. Looking back over their rental information, I see that a boat for the day came for a tank of gas for just $10.

When he became sick with cancer, my grandmother sold the place, and it went onto become Living Waters Bible Camp. His original buildings and cottages remained. There was some solace in knowing that kids from all over the world would be getting joy out of it. I went back to see it often, the camps he built with his own two hands, still stand. The only proof or memory of his "big hunting guide service" around these parts exist in some photos in the front of Rideout's Lodge hunting books. I think they are still in the lobby. Rideouts is very close to Living Waters.

When I was little, my mother kept bringing me back to East Grand Lake every summer, to stay with my family friends. The magic of Maine just kept bringing us back, snow, sleet, rain, sunshine, it didn't matter. It went from one week in the summer to most all summers and a few weeks in teh winters.

When I was 18, I was pretty much bored with the idea as there was nothing to do, it was boring, no shopping malls or stores or excitement (at least not back then) so I wanted to stay "in the big city." I shacked up in the Land of Opportunity and as if on queue, my Mom moved to Maine and never looked back.

A few years later, I lost my grandmother, and remember coming to Maine and being so sad. Someone here in Maine told me, "Look at the lovely lake, just as beautiful as your grandmother, both are memories and no one can ever take that from you."

Those words got me through a lot of rough times. I came back to Maine, but somehow it just wasn't the same, maybe I had changed.

When I turned 34, we heard that a place was for sale on the Lake. We'd looked at a couple, but weren't that interested. Our business and life is built around the busy city of Baltimore, and the surrounding East Coast States.

I will never forget it . Right off the main road, we stumbled upon a mountain road. Snow everywhere, it was twisting and turning and the trees were covered with snow. The lake frozen, we went down down a long and winding road, for what seemed like miles and miles. (3.5 I think)...until we landed here. Here being the home to Don and Jean Sanborn for 40-something years.

Getting out of the truck, I don't think my husband or I could speak. We were immobilized by the sheer beauty of it. We finally walked inside, and met Mrs. Sanborn. Immediately we felt such a warm feeling in the home, so much love, and it was so quaint and cozy. We were still in the kitchen when my husband and I looked at each other, and we both could read each other's minds. There was such a good feeling. We didn't ask the price. We didn't have to see the back rooms although Mr. Sanborn showed us. We just hoped and prayed that it would be ours.

Sadly we felt bad about the cirumstances. Mr. Sanborn was only going to sell the place so that Mrs. Sanborn could be closer to the main hospitals, after 50 something years of marriage, she was going through a lot of health related issues. It's a good 2 hour drive just to any "major" hospital, and if you require any type of major surgery, your looking at 5 to Portland from here.

We bought the place and stayed a total of 2 months in 3 years due to work obligations. Mr. and Mrs. Sanborn moved two hours away, right up the street from the hopsitals. This spring they asked if they could stay a week because Mr. Sanborn had a job on the road.

As fate would have it, my husband got sick and we had to cancel our summer vacation. We told Mr. and Mrs. Sanborn to stay in their former home all summer long, if they could, because we could not make it up there. In all honesty, just having someone using the place was a plus to us.

Three weeks ago, when I came to Maine this time to see my mom going through her own health related issues, Mr. and Mrs. Sanborn came over to visit and see how we were doing. That's just how they are, caring, kind, people.

Mrs. Sanborn sat here in my kitchen, (which is and will always be her kitchen by rights), and told me how thankful she was to have stayed in her home this summer. She said, "It was like a dream come true." We talked for close to four hours that day, laughing and sharing stories. And a few days after that.

Today, she passed away. No one was expecting this. I don't have the words to say to her family. I can barely keep it together. Someone who touched me so is gone. My only solace is knowing she may already be working her magic from above.

Tonight I came across some photos she left here from 2 weeks ago, some were old from the 1970s, and some were newer. I went through and framed some.

Later, I had to email someone (on a non related topic) and coudn't find his email, so I had to go to Youtube and connect that way. You have to sign into Youtube to do this. As if by accidental-on-purpose I found that I had "youtube" mail from a year ago--didn't see this the last time I was in there, I guess because I wasn't using the mail area. Ironically, the mail was from Mrs. Jean's granddaughter, Roxanne. She shared with me the video she made (above) and tonight I saw it for the first time even though she had sent it a year ago.

The photos in her video are the exact same ones I'm holding in my hand right now. There obviously were duplicates. The same ones her grandmother, Mrs. Jean, wanted me to see just two weeks ago.

As I watched her video, and listened to her narrate the ending, "you don't know what you have until it's gone", I thought of the irony of this situation.

Much like the way my grandparents had a place , so did Roxanne's and both of our grandparents had places on the same lake. Even though the lake is 3o-something miles across what are the odds that the places were very close to each other. I an see my grandparent's cove from here.

Only difference is that place Roxanne knew of and misses so much in the video is mine, but she and her family are still welcome here, so somehow we are interlinked . Somehow our families were meant to meet for some reason, but I don't know why. Perhaps it was only for me to share the same story with her, that " No one can ever take those memories from you, not of your beautiful grandmother Mrs. Jean, or of the lovely lake....and not to mention, you have one up on me, you made a video."

Thank you Mrs. Jean Sanborn, for giving me the opportunity to know you, and to know you was to love you. You will be missed.