Twenty years ago this month, I made a radical life change and moved to Maine with my husband and 2-year-old daughter, Daphne. I had been to Maine to visit many times as my brother Don had settled in Dresden in 1983 and my other brother Gary bought a cabin in Fryeburg in 1989. And since my first husband Scott Frizzle had grown up in Brunswick, we both had family in this area. In many ways, I felt like I was finally “moving home” to a place I’d never lived before.

It was a big decision, but we decided after 9/11 to leave Atlanta, where we had both been working in broadcast television at very large and highly visible organizations. I was with Coca-Cola and he was with Turner Broadcasting, and we both wanted to be somewhere that seemed a little safer and out of the global spotlight.

After looking for houses for about six months, my dream property came on the market in August 2002. It is the Riverview Farm and had been built in Topsham around 1820. Originally a 300-acre parcel in the state of Massachusetts, it was then called the Haley Farm. The Haley cemetery is incidentally still on the River Road in Topsham about half a mile before the water district. I found the farm on a map dated 1850 and found a board in the house marked “Sept. 1820”!

So, we “bought the farm”, sight unseen and Scott’s father Charlie Frizzle came over and cut the grass for a couple months until we could move up. I was 20 weeks pregnant with my second child when I made the long drive to Maine — stopping often for bathroom breaks — and had no idea at the time that this new home would mark what would be the next and by far the best chapter of my life. I had moved a lot as a kid and after attending three different high schools in three different states, it was amazing to feel like I had finally found a place to settle for good.

Our first night there, our two-year-old Daphne promptly locked herself in the downstairs bathroom by pushing in the little button on the doorknob – on the inside of the door. I had no way to get her out and as she couldn’t grasp the knob well enough to turn it, I panicked and called Charlie to the rescue. “Papa” as he’s known to the kids rushed right over. While we waited, I kept Daphne near the door of the bathroom (and away from falling headfirst into the toilet), by sliding M&Ms under the door and singing Barney songs together. Papa soon arrived and took the door off the hinges – literally saving the day. Daphne was only about two but remembers it well.

Soon our daughter Violet arrived and then our third daughter Juliet was born in 2005. We also had by this time taken in my teenage niece and nephew and were babysitting two neighbor boys after school — so at any given time we had seven kids in the house. It was a busy time with infants, toddlers, and teens in high school — but I loved it and reveled in all the family time and activities.


And our new, yet very old home became the center of our lives – and needed some serious renovations. Every room in the house was pink and carpeted with thick shag. Charlie was freshly retired from Maine Yankee and came over to help. As he was quite skilled in carpentry, electricity and basically anything that needed to be done, he was able to pitch right in and helped us install flooring, walls and lighting. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we took all the changes at a snail’s pace but every little renovation — and every room that wasn’t pink — felt like a huge triumph.

I became involved early on with the Topsham public library and took the kids for playgroup where I met amazing people with whom I’m still working and involved. I also joined the YMCA in Bath and I’ve been a member for the last 20 years. I raised my kids through the swim classes, the rock-climbing wall, gymnastics and swim team and, in fact, my youngest daughter Juliet came full circle at the Y last summer when she was a lifeguard in the very pool in which she had learned to swim as a toddler.

I also started working at People Plus 11 years ago this fall and I never would have imagined the community and friendships that I’ve been lucky enough to develop through this work. Wonderful people with generous and open hearts took in me and my girls and we have forged an even larger family than we ever could’ve imagined. Around that same time, Scott and I had a very amicable divorce and I have stayed friends with both he and his lovely parents. We have joint custody of the girls – and all the kids – who flowed freely between our houses. Our time of suits and ties in downtown Atlanta seems like a lifetime ago as I’m now happily married to Jonathan – my Gentleman Famer — up on our farm in Bowdoin.

So now with Juliet in her senior year of school this fall, I have had a teenager in high school CONTINUOUSLY for 20 years! So, if you see me any time in the next 6 months, I might be just a little weepy that my youngest child is going to college soon, but I’m still really happy and so grateful to have moved to Maine 20 years ago. And as I look forward to the next 20-plus years with much anticipation, I know it will be hard to be an empty-nester …

But I am exceptionally grateful that my nest is in this amazing community of generous, hard-working people in Maine who support each other and often give more than they have.

Stacy Frizzle-Edgerton is executive director of People Plus in Brunswick.

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