I read an evocative article in the Atlantic Monthly (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/06/the-wicked-coast/8490/), which made me recall a boyhood trip to Deer Isle, Maine on a long autumn weekend. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. I was invited by the parents of a friend, who was an only child, to accompany the family on a trip to their vacation home. I vaguely remember a long drive (before the days of interstates), a ferry voyage, and arriving late at night at a darkened house in the woods. The father was angry, perhaps tired from the long trip, at a trench in the drive from unfinished work. I recall nothing else about the house, beyond it being on the water and edge of woods.
I do remember a few details of my time on the island. We cooked lobster over a fire on the beach in front of their house in large pot filled with sea water and seaweed: the best I ever tasted. We visited a shack, perhaps of the worker responsible for the shoddy work, at which I saw a dirt floor for the first time. At a farmer’s roadside stand, I was offered a small pumpkin. I turned it down, stating that my parents would buy me “a bigger one”. Not being aware of social graces, I was scolded by my friend’s father for being impolite. The next day, I convinced my less-brave friend to take the row boat out onto the bay. Unable to handle the current, we were driven out to sea, forcing the father to strip down and swim out in the frigid water to save us. I’m sure that he scolded us, but I do not recall his words. Once again, I was lucky to survive childhood. I was never invited for another visit to Maine. Soon after that, we moved to another part of town, and I never saw this childhood friend again.
After reading the article, I had a fleeting thought about visiting Maine and driving along the coast. It is surely just as beautiful, if changed for the worse. Building must have tarnished many spots. My thoughts soon turned to industrial food, strip malls, clogged roads, and too much “progress”. I prefer to recall fond memories of a reality that never was in the land of my birth. I will stay in Europe, explore back roads, and discover traditional, regional cuisines or travel to Asia in the footsteps of Somerset Maugham and immerse myself in exotic cultures.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.