Highlights with Harrah

Alasdair Fraser
On Friday, after hob-nobbing our way through a number of gallery openings with Harrah, we went to hear Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas in concert. I first heard Alasdair Fraser in Sebastopol probably twelve or thirteen years ago when Harrah took me to the Celtic Festival. We both loved Irish and Scottish music, we were taking the Scottish Country Dance class, and I was exploring my own Celtic roots. When I heard Alasdair Fraser playing his fiddle I could imagine my ancestors dancing around the hall.

Since Harrah moved away and I got married I’ve let most of my Celtic interests slip into the background as I’ve focused on more pressing matters. Sitting in the theater on Friday listening to this beautiful music with Harrah at my side brought it all back. My feet started moving, my eyes closed, and I was there. At one point I had tears in my eyes. Not sure why, but something deep inside was touched with longing and love for this part of me.

Last night we went to dinner at the summer home of one of Harrah’s friends. Her name is Dawn. She was widowed eleven years ago. She and her husband had bought this property together and restored and built the little summer cottage. It’s out on the point of one of the hundreds of peninsulas along the coast of Maine, in the little village of Friendship. I don’t know if there’s a Country Cottage Living Magazine, but if there is, this place would be on the cover. Here are a few pics I took – ‘cause I couldn’t help it.

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We stayed there until almost midnight, out on the screened porch, watching the sun set behind the island across the bay. There was the boom of nearby firework displays put on by benevolent neighbors. We talked about our own evolving spirituality, aging, community service, the old New England Culture vs. the New, the struggles of the poor in Maine, real estate, politics, marriages with large age differences. It was comfortable and beautiful. I could have stayed there all night.



Harrah and My New Friend Barbara


On Friday morning Harrah got a phone call from her friend Barbara inviting her to bring her friend (that’s me) to her home for breakfast. In the summer, Barbara rents a garage apartment overlooking Rockport Harbor. We had a delightful visit out on her deck, with scones and coffee and fruit. We were there again on July 3 to watch the fireworks from her deck. This morning Barbara picked me up and took me to breakfast at the Maine Media Workshop. When Barbara turned fifty she gave herself the gift of attending a photography workshop here. Now she’s in her seventies and is on the Board of Directors of this elite school for photography and film making. She gave me a tour and introduced me to some of the staff. She has had her work shown in the Portland Museum of Art and is publishing a book of some of her photography.

We chatted a bit about marriage, divorce, and coming into your own. She and her husband split up after raising their children. She wanted to pursue her art, continue her education, and grow as a person, and he wanted her to stay the same as she had always been. He mocked her attempts to educate herself, but she went anyway. She said that all she needed was some encouragement and support from him, even if he didn’t participate. But she felt he resisted all her attempts to grow. Now she’s alone, and pursuing the life she always wanted to pursue. But she’s sad that he’s not there to share it.



I’m grateful for my husband. From the beginning of our relationship he has supported and encouraged me to expand my interests, increase my education, and do this trip – without him. It’s common at fifty, at least for us women and maybe for men too, to re-evaluate the direction of our lives, the choices we have made, and what we want to be when we grow up. I know I’m in that process. I hope I can do it with grace and compassion for myself and others. And I’m fortunate to have a husband who supports and loves my crazy adventures. I wish for you the same joy.

The Yellow House



Harrah bought this house nine years ago. It was originally built in the 1800s, and has undergone one remodel before her. Now she is completing an expansion, pushing the kitchen out into a “great room”, including dining and living areas. It’s bright, sunny, and reflective of Harrah’s eye for design and color. When I arrived on Thursday evening, cardboard still covered the new birch floor, dust and tools were everywhere. John the builder was working hard. He’s been racing to get it all done before I came. Almost made it.




On Friday, while we were out gallivanting, John finished up some of the clean up, picked up the cardboard, and loaded up his tools. When we got home, I helped Harrah move furniture into the room. It has been a huge overwhelming project for her.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the original mess, or the cleaned up empty room. I did finally take some after we moved the furniture in. I also took some of the boxes of kitchen stuff that has been filling her hallway waiting. It’s been fun to be part of this bright new transition for her.


Dinner and a Movie



7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chérie Gunnell on July 6, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Fawn and Harrah. What lovely pics of your adventures. Maine looks looks beautiful. Harrah your home is charming. so good to see you. Fawn you sound so free and happy in your adventure, as you share with friends old and new. Cheers to you, you are a blessed woman. Chérie


    • Posted by fawngilmorekraut on July 8, 2010 at 4:42 pm

      Thanks Cherie,
      Definitely feeling blessed. Maine is beautiful, and I hope to come back sooner than later. Now that you’re free….. maybe it’s time for you and Peter to pay a bit of a visit here?? I think you would love it. So many houses and gardens have made me think of you.


  2. Posted by adrienne on July 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    thanks so much for sharing your adventure! Loved seeing pics of your time with Harrah! Hello Harrah! Bizous!


    • Posted by fawngilmorekraut on July 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks Adrienne. Have been thinking of you a LOT, especially being here with Harrah. Wishing you great joy. Love, Fawn


  3. Posted by Sandy Bryant on July 7, 2010 at 3:30 am

    I wanna come along too. Thank you so much for writing in such a way that I get it. I’m there. What a wonderful time for you both.


  4. Posted by Steffi on July 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm


    good for Steve. good for you. from someone who went thru the 50s without that generous partner. it’s like that old saw, hold tight with an open hand (or something like that)


    • Posted by fawngilmorekraut on July 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks Steffi.
      Good advice. I truly am a blessed woman. Wishing you joy – and wonderful friends.


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