letter to the editor

Let’s haul out the ‘welcome wagon’ next spring

Mon, 01/08/2024 - 3:00pm

Dear Editor:

It’s been a good eight months of pondering as to whether I should bring this forth.  

I am hoping that this strikes a note among those less than willing to welcome newcomers. 

Figuring that it will be a long, cold winter and a few months before the ‘away’ folks come back, I thought it might be worth recounting my experience. Before I begin, I am fully aware of the difficulties of housing availability in Boothbay Harbor and environs. 

Dining alone at one of Boothbay Harbor’s fine harborside eateries, I struck up a conversation with a “nice young man.” He kindly asked me where I was from, and I told him that I split my time between Houston and Boothbay Harbor. That ‘nice young man’ immediately went into attack mode when, furthermore, I mentioned that I had recently purchased a house near the harbor in town. He became very agitated and lit into me accusing me of “taking” houses from those in need who are native Mainers.  

He stated that his family “built Boothbay Harbor” and he and other folks in town were unable to find decent housing. He said he deserved a “fine home” and followed with “and you do not.”  Not wanting to leave with my head down, I softly countered: 

I am not a Mainer, but a native New Englander.  

My parents moved to the Portland area in the 70s.  

I have sisters and brothers and cousins who live here.  

My dad, Richard Milne, is honored at the Heroes of Maine Memorial on Long Wharf in Portland. 

My youngest brother recently ran for Maine State Senate. 

My ancestors are the earliest of the Morse family who came to Maine in the early 1700s to settle in the Phippsburg area. 

My gently delivered comments to him went over like a burp in church.  

He told me to “go back to Texas.” 

Boothbay Harbor has something truly wonderful that could be bottled and sold to the rest of America!  

Perhaps we can “gin up” some of the good, old-fashioned “welcome wagon” spirit next spring? 

Bonnie Milne 

Houston, Texas

and Boothbay Harbor