Is Rick Wormwood an inbred Maineiac as some would speculate? (He wrote in his section of "Why We Live Here," April 24, that "only one good thing has ever emerged from Massachusetts in all of American history: the Great State of Maine, in 1820.") No, I'd just be stooping to the same inferiority complex that would allow Katrina Botelho (from Jersey, for crissakes) to call folks hailing from Massachusetts "Massholes."
We've had the same coastal home here since 1987 and moved here from Boston 15 years ago. We probably spend more money in the shops and purveyors in Portland than those two bozos put together. Having lived in San Francisco for many years the natives learned to embrace the so-called transplants — the same ones that would invite you to Thanksgiving and show you the sights so they don't get jaded. Maine — The Way Life Should Be — my permanent Vacationland.
Old Orchard Beach
MOVING AWAY AND BACK
Growing up on the shores of Sebago Lake, Portland seemed like a gigantic, mean, dirty city. Visiting it had me alternately awestruck by the lights and dumbfounded by the sheer size of the population.
Then I went to Rochester, New York, for college.
I came back from a city whose population equals the entire Pine Tree State to find a delightful, beautiful, vibrant, and thriving city. Rochester is dying in many ways, but Portland is growing and becoming something even more lovely.
I moved to Portland on a whim with a friend. I had recently acquired a job in the city and the move would make it more convenient to commute. Plus I wanted to get out where The People were.
So I moved to the West End and I've been exploring Portland fervently ever since.
Why do I live here?
I live here because of the history. Since European settlement, Portland has burned down four times. Its motto of "Resurgam" stands in defiance to any hard times we may face. It's been built, burned, rebuilt, reburned, and so on enough times that not even the current economic burn should shake Portlanders. From the days when it was called Machigonne, the city's been standing, a monument to humanity.
Walking down Congress Street and marveling all the different architecture from various stages of the city's development and redevelopment is like flipping at random through a high school history book. Buildings of brick, wood, and stone face glittering panes of glass on the Time and Temperature building. Statues commemorate Portland's long contributions to the world, from Longfellow's literary works to soldiers fallen on foreign soil. Walking up Munjoy Hill you can pass markers that tell about Portland's admirable abolitionist contributions. Walking up Bramhall Hill you can pass the Neal S. Dow house and wonder at the nation's flirtations with temperance. It's also in this neighborhood that you can see a new history being written on the streets as Portland's immigrant community builds and redefines the voice of the city.
Why do I live here?
I live here because of the art. From music to poetry to painting, Portland is steeped in culture. Those youthful forays into a giant city of tall buildings I mentioned, those were almost always to come see a new and exciting exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art. The building itself is beautiful and the creative and innovative works displayed inside never cease to amaze.