We were living in our white clapboard historic home, with the white picket fence, in the heart of the quintessential New England town of Camden, Maine. We could walk to French & Brawn, the corner grocery store. We had a distant view of the water beyond the two church towers that would grace us on the hour with their beautiful bells. I was painting for a living, working in a dream job as the resident artist for a major corporation. Life had taken a real turn for the better after both of us had lost parents prematurely. We felt like life was making sense again; we were both blessed and living the American dream.
It was a beautiful blue skied September morning. I had done some early gardening in the perennial garden that was already getting ready to be buttoned up for the winter. I had exercised in our basement then headed back upstairs through our trap door that lead up to a large great room with hand hewn beams. The trap door was powered by an elevator motor above. The old barn on the property had been moved to become part of the house, a decision that proved to make this home uniquely special. The all wood room was built with the widest pine boards you can imagine. The fireplace was a walk in stone fireplace that would warm up the room with flickering firelight. I appreciated the character every time I walked through the room. I had traveled my way down the center hallway, up the stairs to my studio in the front of the house and was at my easel painting when my wife Jen yelled from down on the first floor “Oh my God a second plane has hit the World Trade Center”. I ran down the stairs to find her in tears watching TV on her computer in the library. We both knew instantly we were under attack and that the world was changing right before our eyes. We sat glued to the TV, as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. Then we heard of American Airline Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon. Then United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. The White House was being evacuated. Devastated and stunned we sat all day and watched the horror unfold.
Our home was built in 1810. It has been around through the War of 1812, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. Now you can add to the list The War on Terror. The house was the town’s original library, home to ship captains and the summer home to several prominent families. We loved that home but our idyllic, Norman Rockwell type life, in the little town of Camden, Maine, changed after 9/11.
We felt for the families of the nearly 3,000 people who died. We felt the feeling our parents must have felt in WWII, a sense of pride in our country and concern for its future. We became much more aware of the world, determined to watch the news every night to stay informed.
Not too long after 9/11, my resident artist position began winding down, we decided to sell our dream home and move “home” to be closer to family and warmer weather. We continue to watch the news every night, mourn the loss of those who perished on 9/11, feel for their families and give thanks to those that have given their lives to protect our country.
We have the painting of our home on 6 Wood Street that I painted hanging in our new home. It was painted in a fun, impressionist style. My studio was the upper left two windows as you look at the painting and the library where we watched 9/11 unfold was just below. We both appreciate being home more than ever and the feeling of being safe, whether it is real or imagined. The painting not only represents our 7 wonderful years at 6 Wood Street, but more importantly the white picket fence and the American Dream. We’ve always appreciated each home in which we’ve lived. As we remember those who died on this tenth anniversary of 9/11 may we all continue to pursue our dreams and give thanks for our freedom and all that we have!