Bernie remembers the Bean family’s sporting goods store selling sensible boots, fishing rods, and hunting & camping equipment from the two-story farmhouse with creaky oiled hardwood floors on the main street in sleepy Freeport village. The family began the outdoor-gear store in 1912, back when you would see many familiar faces talking away with one of the clerks, usually a Bean family member. Of course, Bernie was merely a young buck then, a “hippie” during his high school days back in the 1960s.
They now live in Cape Elizabeth, driving past the Burnham and Morrill baked bean-canning factory on the bay on their way up I-295 to Brunswick. Discussing the improvement in odor wafting from the 3rd story windows of the factory, they reminisce about the offensive smell of Stinson’s fish canning factory on the waterfront in Long Reach, just above the BIW shipyard where they worked so many years.
Now Bernie is a grandfather, driving the posted speed limit on Atlantic Route One into Brunswick in his conservative beige Volvo station wagon with Lindy, his wife, and grandmother to their twin grandsons by his side. Lindy and Bernie met at White’s Beach next to the big bonfire at the Freaker’s Ball and Concert. That was the summer they had both graduated, were married in the moonlight there, barefoot on the cool sand before a dozen of their friends, several short but passionate weeks later.
Lindy and Bernie manage a tiny natural food shop on Maine Street now that they have both retired from working the second shift at the shipyard in Bath. Many changes in their state and the world in the fifty-odd years of their lives have passed swiftly. Remembering the white water rafting, climbing Mt. Katahdin, kayaking the Saco River, they smile at the memories they have shared. They attended the launching of the state-of-the-art destroyer, DDG-1000, named the Zumwalt by BIW, completed in 2016.
As they take the I-295 exit onto Pleasant Street in Brunswick, they each turn to the other and smile an all-knowing familiar smile of comfort, a hand seeks another and fingers entwine. They share with one another a good life, at the salty and quiet pace of Midcoast Maine, “the way life should be.”