The other day I was explaining my relationship to Maine, and the person I was talking to said, “Oh, you were a turnip.”

“What is that?” I asked. “Oh,” he said, “a turnip is a person who turns up every summer and goes away in the winter.” In many respects that is true, but it is not the whole picture.

My grandmother and grandfather owned a small farm in Hollis and my mother lived there all year when she was small. In fact, she started school in Hollis.

Because the winters were very harsh, they moved to the Boston area for the winters when she was in elementary school. Then they came to Maine and the farm in the summers and brought all the young cousins for a fresh air experience.

After my mother married my father, her parents lived with us in the winter in Texas and we came to Maine and the farm in the summer. While we were there, we attended Ladies Aid picnics at Sebago Lake and Hill’s Beach. We went to programs at the Grange Hall downtown and attended the Baptist Church in the old white building in the center of town. We walked to town on the railroad tracks to buy penny candy and passed the box factory on our way. We knew when the train was passing through town and called it “The Tunaville Trolley.”

Much of this is gone now, but we remember those days with pleasure.

One year, when I was going to graduate school in Boston, a friend lent me her VW Beetle for the summer. I drove it one weekend to Maine and it broke down in Hollis. I called the local garage and a truck came and examined the car and said all I needed was more water in the battery.

When I offered to pay him, he asked who I was. I explained that my mother was a Newcomb and my grandparents Bert and Bertha. He was amazed and said he used to play cards with my grandparents. He would not let me pay because he had such fun with them.

On old maps, I can see that Danforth Newcomb owned land in Hollis in the century before last. He owned all the land surrounding the old farmhouse. Now the only land my family owns is held by my brother and is the back lot in view of the Saco River.

I am the only member of my family who lives in New England. The rest reside in the South or Canada. We live where we have gotten jobs, a result of marriages and lucky coincidences and decisions. Just as my parents went from the Boston area to Texas and then North Carolina, where my father’s jobs took us, we children have moved in separate directions and followed our own paths.

If you happen to mention Hollis to any of the five of us, we immediately think of the dairy farm down the road, fishing in the Saco, blueberry picking after the fire of 1947 and swimming in Ossipee Lake. We have Maine in our blood and our memories.