By Laura E. Zaferakis
This past summer marked twenty years since we began spending our annual family vacation on the coast of southern Maine. As a young family from central New York State, we had not spent much time at the ocean. With our newborn son in tow, we set out to create lasting memories for him and three years later, a second son. My husband and I had planned on experiencing sunny beaches, sand castles, and lighthouses. What we had not planned on was an obsession with coastal Maine and its sea glass.
Our annual week in Maine quickly became our family’s most favorite time of the year. Our children would talk about it all year long and would cry as we packed the car when vacation came to an end. We loved everything about the coast: the smell of the ocean, the small towns, the incredibly friendly people, and the sea glass. Oh, the sea glass.
Our first sea glass find came purely by accident as we were walking along the beach looking for sea shells. A shiny, glistening piece of green glass caught our eye and we were hooked. From that moment on, we began every single day of vacation searching for glass. As we improved our “hunting skills”, the sea glass took on a magical, almost spiritual quality.
When we searched for glass together as a family, a piece of glass meant that you were able to make a wish. It started with silly wishes for the ice cream truck show up, or that it wouldn’t rain, or that we would find more sea glass. At some point, however, every wish became exactly the same. Every single piece of glass represented a wish that someday we would be able to have our own house in Maine. This was one of those lofty, improbable wishes similar to wishes about winning the lottery. Nonetheless, it was “our” wish. Every year, for one week in the summer, the sea glass gods heard our wish; at least we hoped they did.
As our children grew older, they matured and their interests changed, but their love for our Maine vacation and sea glass hunting never wavered. We continued to hunt and we continued to wish…and then, in August 2015, right after our annual week in Maine, fate stepped in.
The woman who owned the Maine rental that we spent our week in each year let us know that she was considering selling the property. While the possibility of buying this home was a stretch for us, we knew we had to at least explore the idea. In one moment, we were making wishes on the beach and in the next we were meeting with the bank to see if we could obtain a mortgage. We did research on every comparable property and we looked at potential rental income to help cover the cost of the home. We were ready; we just needed the seller to let us know the price. Our wish was finally going to come true…until it didn’t. The seller, after a month of waiting, finally got back to us with the sale price of the home. She was asking a third more than we had anticipated. Our wish was going to have to stay a wish. We were devastated.
Even though we had not been actively looking for beach houses, I began searching for other homes in the area that were for sale. The next Sunday morning, I was once again searching for homes and a listing appeared that was not one I’d seen before. It was beautiful. My husband and I were curious, but we both had to work the next day and wouldn’t be able to consider driving to Maine until the following weekend. It would have to wait.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I thought about that house all night long. I went into work the next day and could not focus. It was then that I made a decision that would change our lives forever. I left my office, drove home, packed a bag and told my husband I was driving to Maine to see this house. I had never driven to Maine by myself before, but I knew I had to go.
After six hours of driving I pulled up in front of this beautiful home. As I stepped out of the car, I knew. I knew that this was what we had been wishing for all those years. As I took the tour of the home, I face-timed my husband so he could “see” the house as well. We loved every inch of the property. We decided to make an offer that turned out to be one of four offers made that same night.
In the end, the seller chose us. She could have chosen one of the other offers, but she chose us. She chose us because she knew that I had driven all the way from New York. She chose us because the realtor told her that I was beaming with joy when I looked at the house. She chose us because I believe that all those years of sea glass wishes somehow landed in her hands.
In October of 2015, we drove to Maine with our children to close on our new vacation home. We all cried at closing. We knew that this was the moment we had wished on for almost 20 years. Every beach house in Maine has a name and when it came to name our home, there was only one choice. We named our home Sea Glass Dreams because without a doubt, owning this home has been a dream.
We are forever grateful for the gifts that sea glass has given us. The jars of sea glass that decorate our home represent our boys’ childhood, our sea glass hunting mornings, memories of Maine vacations and most of all, those shiny little pieces of magic represent wishes that do come true.
This article appeared in the Glassing Magazine January/February 2018 issue.