House For Sale: West Freeport, Maine
“But before you go up,” said Jeremiah, taking our arm, “in order to understand how the chimneys were positioned, you must come down into the cellar. Then you need to see the attic.”
So down cellar we went. Our memory of the next several minutes consists of huge steel beams, massive cement work, gigantic timbers, and Jeremiah explaining why it was the way it was while we attempted to look interested — which we were — and mask our utter lack of understanding. Several minutes later we were in the attic, where, for instance, one block of supporting bricks was so dramatically cantilevered over to the “correct” position that a gigantic metal counterweight was required. All in the interest of having those chimneys “where they should be.” In other words, put two Maine engineers together on a project and it’s going to be done right.
We did eventually tour the second floor. Loved the master bedroom — huge with lots of windows, a three-quarter bath, a large walk-in closet, and a brick fireplace exactly like the one in the living room below. There was no doubt that Jeremiah L. was as proud of those two fireplaces he and his dad built as he was with the position of the chimneys.
“There’s no way either one will smoke for even a second,” he said, and went on to explain why. Something to do with angles, the precise depth and position of the flue … well, we became convinced both those fireplaces draw superbly.
While on the second floor, we also inspected Emeline’s bedroom, Jeremiah Moses’ bedroom, the large full bath (there’s a third bathroom downstairs), and what in 1748 would have been a cozy sewing room that is now the perfect place for the family computer. The back stairs curve around down to a fourth bedroom over the garage, truly large enough to be two bedrooms. And over that, on a third floor, is a large unfinished area that could be more bedrooms or maybe an office.
Upon our return to the first floor, as we started out the front entrance door to inspect the lawns, garden area, and sturdy metal dog pen (the property consists of a little over 2-1/2 acres), we noticed on a table next to the front stairs a framed photograph of a beautiful woman. It was then that we learned about the tragedy that ultimately led to Jeremiah’s decision to sell this beautiful house he and his dad built together. (He’s asking $448,000.) The photo was of Jeremiah’s first wife — Moses and Emeline’s mother — who passed away almost three years ago. Yes, she’d participated in the creation of the house — designing the kitchen, for instance, and contributing to many of the planning and decorating decisions.
She has been, of course, greatly mourned. But the happy news is that quite recently, Jeremiah got married again — to a lovely lady from Iowa. In fact, that’s why she wasn’t with us that day. She was in Iowa, waiting for Jeremiah, Moses, and Emeline to join her there in a week or so and start a new life. Jeremiah’s dad will remain in East Poland, Maine, but, who knows, maybe he’ll come out to Iowa to help his son — and this time, his grandson, too — build a new Jeremiah Ferguson house. “Yes,” Jeremiah smiled, “that’s certainly a possibility.”
After we said our good-byes, we drove east a couple miles to downtown Freeport, visited L.L. Bean and a couple factory outlet stores, and then headed out on Pine Street to South Freeport and one of our favorite Maine harbors. We sat on one of the wooden benches outside the restaurant on the dock and looked across the almost-empty harbor to the channel leading out to the open ocean. And in the peace and quiet of those few moments, we found ourselves contemplating the unexpected turns and surprises, good and bad, that life presents each one of us from time to time.
Like, do you suppose they’ll be the only Jeremiahs in the state of Iowa?
For more details, contact Stephen C. Drake at Coldwell Banker, Yarmouth, ME. 207-846-1600, ext. 1714; newenglandmoves.com