Melissa and I were at a Holiday Party last week and I was talking with a long-time resident of South Portland about living here and she commented on getting our newsletter for the last 17 years or so. She loved the newsletter; hearing about our local news, our family and schools and said the newsletter made her feel more connected to South Portland. She said she was “From Away.” I told her I was “From Away” too (coming from Seal Cove, Maine) and I found out she was from Kennebunk! From Away? I thought that was so funny!
25 years ago, I bought a two-family home on Alder Street in South Portland. I remember it well. At that time I was working for the Maine Marine Patrol and was on my own with my black lab, Bo. I loved the Willard Beach area and Bo did too! Melissa and I met shortly after I settled in and I still feel very lucky she said, “Yes” when I proposed. My smaller apartment was not big enough to support a family so Melissa and I started thinking about where we wanted to raise the family we hoped to have one day.
We looked in Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth and South Portland. We considered school systems, local government, local activities, amenities and community recreation. We were and still are very active in biking, running, and walking, and love visiting local beaches, eating at great restaurants, and shopping at local businesses. We had a list going of pluses and minuses for each town and put serious thought into which one was going to be best for all that we love doing.
It was an easy decision and we settled of course in South Portland. We bought a home in the Sylvan Sites area while keeping my two-family on Alder Street to rent out. And we later added our office building right next to Hannaford and City Hall on Cottage Road.
It wasn’t South Portland’s location that was the overwhelming deciding factor. It wasn’t even the amenities, recreation opportunities, schools, restaurants or shops. The biggest factor it turned out was the people! Walking, biking, and running around the neighborhoods for 5 years prior, I had gotten to know so many people and they are the main reason we have stayed in our home for the past 20 years!
We’ve loved sitting on Broadway to watch the Memorial Day Parade, going to the Willard Square block parties, watching the fire works at Bug Light, enjoying performances at Mill Creek and the holiday Tree Lighting and being able to walk to just about everything. Over the years we’ve volunteered in the schools and have gotten involved with the soccer program coaching. Melissa was honored to serve a term on the City Council and I have sat on a few community boards here and there. It really is the people here that make South Portland a great place to live and we are always looking for way to be involved and give back to the people that have made this home for us.
We have been so fortunate to live here, bring our family up here and serve the people of this community. We really do feel grateful to be able to work with so many people in South Portland even those who are originally “From Away!”
Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends and always smile when you’re in your neighborhood, in your local shops and restaurants and say hello to your neighbors. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!!
Jackson, Gabby, Melissa and Brian and Hadley the dog!