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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Back to Biz - Maine, you've really got a hold one me...

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Maine got its claws into me the first time I ate a lobster. I was 6 years old and we were here on vacation. I was so enthralled with my lobster that I insisted on sleeping with the claw under my pillow. So began my love for this place and a mission to make it my home. Fast forward to college in California followed by a corporate job in Pennsylvania and the day I decided to leave it all - pack a UHaul and drive to Maine. I had no idea what I would do for work or where I would live. I only knew Maine was where I wanted to be. I recall sitting on a rock overlooking Frenchman's Bay and thinking "You've taken the leap - you're here - now make it work."

I was 20 then. Now I find myself on a mission to make Maine an attractive place for other young people to stay, to return or to discover and never want to leave. This past week I encountered three people with the same goal - to make Maine home. One was a young gentleman who grew up here, left for college and returned. He told me he is so excited that he found a good job in the financial sector and a cool apartment in downtown Bangor. A few days later I attended an open house for a thriving medical practice and met a young man who is the PR guy. I asked him how he landed that job, and with great enthusiasm he told me he grew up in Maine, left for college and got a great job doing PR for the New York Knicks. He lived in New York and New Orleans and decided he'd rather be in Maine. He is thrilled to have found a great job that he loves and even more thrilled to be home. A few days later at LL Bean in Freeport I was chatting with a guy who works there, and he told me he is originally from Maine. He had left for a great job in Ohio, and he and his wife and kids gave it all up to come back home. He told me they're making some sacrifices to do be here, but it's totally worth it. He said Maine people are like no other people. This place is like no other place. He is happily back home - to stay.

I'm sharing these stories to remind us that even though we have our challenges and even though we often think the "grass is greener" somewhere else (especially in February), there are many of us who came here on purpose, who left and came back or are visiting at this very moment and plotting how they too can make Maine their permanent home. Last night I handed my 7-year-old niece a lobster. She is here visiting from Pennsylvania. As she enjoyed her claw, she looked at me and said, "Someday when I'm big like you, I want to live here all the time." I told her I would do everything I could to make it a good place for her to live - and that it would be OK if she slept with the claw under her pillow tonight.

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 17:18

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