In 1927, when I was 6 years old, my family moved from Massachusetts to South Portland. The building that is now the Lyric Theater was then a church, with a parsonage attached.

My dad was pastor of that church, and we lived in that house at 178 Sawyer St. I never forgot that address.

Those were the days when the horse-drawn ice truck was followed (in the summer) by a gaggle of kids trying to pick up a delicious spear of ice to suck on.

And if your mother needed more ice for her icebox, she stuck a sign in a front window to show the iceman just how big a piece she needed.

And talk about cross-country skiing — across from the house there was a big open field, and in our “cool” skis with no binding, but just a leather strap into which we stuck our galoshes, we traversed that field over and over. And then we went over to “Old Joe’s Pond” and skated for a while.

In those days there were a lot fewer cars on the streets, and the snowplows were less efficient, and salt was not spread to melt the snow.

So, a day or two after a snowstorm, at the edge of the street where the snow got mixed with some plain old-fashioned dirt, the result was heaps of what looked like brown sugar. It could make your mouth water for the real thing.

Over beyond our “ski area” was the Pleasant Street School — all four rooms. I recently came across a group photo of Mrs. McVeigh’s third-grade class. All the faces seemed so familiar, but time has a way of erasing the names.

When it was time for school to start each day, we filed together into the building to the strains of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” or another patriotic march.

We only lived in South Portland for three years, but from then on, it seemed we always came back to Maine for vacations.

And like many of you, when we returned and crossed the line into Kittery, we screamed “I’m in!” and I tried to thrust myself ahead of the riders in the front seat in order to be first.

The years when we lived in Maryland, Ohio or Missouri, Maine was still the place for vacations.

There is something about Maine — the people, the ocean, the air, the beauty all around — that makes one want to be here.

So what did I do? In college I fell for a really nice fellow, and it turned out that he was a Mainer.

Although we lived in Michigan for 30 years, we always had a summer home here, and we came back to Maine to retire. I recommend it!

Winnifred Gould Jones is a resident of Raymond. She can be contacted at [email protected]