Yes, I live in Paradise, Maine.

In February 1988, the real estate salesperson helped me find this little piece of paradise a block from Highland Lake. But it was the miracle of falling snow that sealed the deal.

After walking through the little home, I told him, “My bedroom furniture won’t fit in these small bedrooms.” Sigh.

We walked out the door into brilliant sunshine with a light breeze caressing my face. And then I saw it. Sparkling little diamonds of snow tumbling out of the tree a few feet from the door. “Oh,” said I. “This is my home.”

“But where, may I ask, will you put your too-large bedroom furniture?”

“In the basement,” I reply. Never mind that the basement was unfinished—concrete floors, no closet, stairway of rough unfinished pine boards, and no bathroom.

“You’re crazy,” was his answer. But he didn’t sneer at helping us sign the contract.

Soon, upon meeting the neighbors, I was asked, “Do you live in that little yellow camp?” “Camp?” I was puzzled. This is my home! I had yet to learn the history of this little enclave. Most of the houses had been weekend camps, but about the time we arrived, things began to change.

I dug flower beds and planted daffodils. After the big ice storm, when trees fell the night through, I was able to open up three new vegetable garden beds. I put down cardboard to torment the wild blackberry vines. I had cow manure hauled in, and I shoved it onto the cardboard and planted vegetables. Next came the chickens. I wanted goats and bees, but Keith began to pout. After all, when I went to Texas, he was expected to care for all the critters.

My son came from Texas and finished the bathroom in our bedroom. Scott Forbes of Highland Builders partitioned off a large walk-in closet, and the floor is now a clean tile. Later, Scott built us a deck that is now surrounded with lilacs and is a vacation spot all its own. He expanded the kitchen, including wraparound windows that bring the outdoors right into our kitchen/dining room. The yellow finches, sparrows, chickadees, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, cardinals and squirrels share the birdfeeders and give us delightful moments of enjoyment. It doesn’t hurt that I usually have homemade cookies to share with a drop-in guest.

Paradise, Maine, is where I came home in 2012 from my six-month stay in Texas to recover from my cancer treatment. So now, Paradise Maine, is also known as “The Healing Home.” This home helped heal me, and since that time, it has provided a healing space for others who needed a home safe from the pain and sorrows of the world.

May this odyssey that began here in 1988 continue to be known as “Paradise, Maine” and “The Healing Home.”

Sally Breen is a Windham resident.

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