From away, yes, mostly, I am from just there. Away. But a life time of opportunities to travel the country, travel the world, as a young boy, young man and as an adult, fulfilling the dreams and fantasies of adventure. It took a loss of extreme measure, now just past a year ago to circle my life back to where I have always found the greatest in pleasures.
Welcome to Downeast Maine.
Not necessarily the end, by any means, of my journey, but integral of my rediscovery of family, heritage & self. A time of remiss and reassessment, memories of what meant something, and, what matters.
Memories are having their impact on me, of late. Perhaps it’s all conditional of my downsizing in life, the reduction of …possessions, …simplicity of being, …….of needs, To quote a great comedic icon of the last 40+ years….
“Too much Stuff” (George Carlin)
My close family, locally, few, in total, far and few between. The memories I have, along with a few chosen trinkets are all I still possess. Locked away, for now, in some warehouse in Ohio, where the most important family is left,
my sister Anne, and her flock.
Jim, with Daughter, Jessica, just a couple months before his death… so much loss by so many
The Man, the music, the guitar
That first time I held his guitar, an acoustic, sunburst top, and as I remember a Gibson. I was around 9 years old, and I remember the crisp big sounds, similar to the effect he had, when he entered a room. Resonating, with a smile as bright as any Sunrise County morning. He taught me a couple of basic chords and I was a rock star! At least, that is how I felt when around this big bear of a man. I can’t be certain of this… so much time has passed, but his cottage at cutler, had a Piano… but in the summer of ’76, Jim and I jammed to a high tide, sweeping upon his beach in Cutler, on Little Machias Bay.
The 10,000 day war…….. Vietnam …… Dark Days…. For many
I never saw my Brother, Donald Hill Brehmer, in uniform, at least, not in person, but pictures. I would have been just as proud in any case.
Now Jim, … I saw him in uniform, many times. Again, I was around 9 years old at the time, and these three big men,(as I can remember, Joe was one and the other, I believe was Al) came to our home in West Chester, PA, and held fast, the idea of American Strengths(Uniforms crisp and clean) . I was aware of many events, in the 60’s. Perhaps far to young to fully comprehend, but I do remember John Jr.s’ salute at JFK’s funeral procession, Jack Ruby shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, The assassination of Malcolm X, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I remember the demonstrations (Selma, Watts) for equality & anti war, some leading towards political change….. And one of the true first cognitive memories, was the Kent State slaughter by the National Guard Troops
In 1970, my family and I moved overseas, Dad’s job with DuPont spirited us away from the turmoil of the world, still aware of the conflicts and battles of the war, in Vietnam and America… but I was separated from my country and family. Our annual trips back to the US, including our ritual of coming Downeast, were not the same without my favorite person being here….Jim. I believe it was 1972 he was back.
I lost contact with my brother for these few years, between the war, differences with my parents, and both our desires to wander, having Jim back in East Machias and Cutler, offered me that emotional steadiness and love of family I had grown to understand from my favorite two veterans.(except of Course, My Dad Thorwill, and Jim’s Dad, Bill)
I only knew a few souls, names, family friends, to serve and not return from that conflict. While working in the oil fields, and some construction, in the Late 70’s and Early 80’s I was side by side with dozens of Vietnam veterans, many I thought of as brothers, and the tortured eye syndrome is one I grew to understand then, and now…. Somehow, I never saw that in Jim.
My Great Grandmother hill, grandfather Warren, Aunt Rebecca Hill Talbot, Cousins Jim and Deke Talbot on the left(In Front of the Hill House. On the right..from left to right, Jim, Deke, Rebecca, and Bill Talbot. This shot would be right on 1958-9 just before I was born.
The man was something different, a giant in heart and smile, His death took me away from returning to Washington County for 3 years… the first break in my life from spending all my summers here…. The next time I came, I sat on the cutler porch and played, for hours, and the hours became a few days…. So often, for almost 50 years, I have picked up a guitar…. and felt him look down upon me, be there by my side.
39 years, and I still miss him, all too often.
That same all too often in life, we misplace too many important pieces, I have been enjoying recollecting those pieces, those memories, for quite some time. Reconnecting with my past, to rework it into being more of what I want to be for the future. Yeah, I am downsizing, but replacing trinkets with substance and a little bit of digitizing technology.
Tremolo, Indian Lake, is such a welcoming for me to retrace, where it all came to be, for me. Machias, Cutler, Washington County.