Greg Michaels’ Reflections on 18 Years in Maine
Today or late tonight I should say, marks 18 years living in Maine. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago regarding the interview trip, here is the story about the move. Crazy to think I left everything I knew for something in a city and country I have really never lived in. The idea of moving to Maine back in 1995 I thought was going to be temporary, but now 18 years later, not so much. Just wanted to come down for the experience and go back to my life and everything I knew and had back in Halifax with a job.
With $300 in my hand and two rather stuffed suitcases, I took off on a bus. I went from Halifax, NS to Saint John, NB. In Saint John, I called on my friend, Marc. He ended up being home luckily and invited me in. I asked if he could drive me to Brewer, ME if I paid for the gas, he said yes. First we had a few drinks and talked about school, women, etc. He was okay to drive, me on the other hand, well I was pretty gone. So we take off to St. Stephen, I’d say it was about 9 p.m. when Marc and I got to the border.
At the U.S. Border in Calais, the guard stops us and asks what we're doing. I told him as straight as I could, “I’m moving down for work.” The guard replies “what type of work?” I told him "radio.” The guard comes at me again with “what station" and "what will you be doing?" I told him, “Fox 104.7 in Brewer" and “I was going to be a DJ." The U.S. Customs agent tells me that "DJs need to go over there (meaning an office) and sign a few documents." So about 15 minutes later, I sign the papers and we’re free to go. Marc and I are off and running down the Rt 9 a.k.a. the “Airline Highway” to Brewer. At about 2 am, we get to the Brewer Motor Inn on Wilson St. in Brewer and check in.
The next morning we woke up, Marc went back off to Canada, and I was here all alone but at the same time full of wonderment. It was close to how I felt when I went to Saint John, NB to take broadcasting. The only difference, it was a totally different country. I went over to the station on Acme Road and introduced myself. That week and through the following weeks, I was doing overnights Monday through Friday until they were set up with the “All Nite Café with B.B. Good.” At that time, I went down to just weekends; I knew that was coming and hooked up with a second job as a cashier at the Big Apple on Wilson Street in Brewer. I worked both jobs through most of 1995 and 1996.
I lived at the Brewer Motor Inn/Village Green Motel for the first few months after moving to Maine because I didn’t know from one day to the next where life would lead. I just knew if I kept $100 aside I could always go home if worse came to worse. That was a comfort, having a $100 as my bailout cash. Aside from that, I got crazy going to the bars like every other 22 or 23 year old. The Bounty Tavern and Finnegan's both rocked in their day!
That was 1995, this 2013. A lot has changed in 18 years and I’m still I guess getting experience. Seriously, my home is now here in Maine obviously. My advice to you if you're young and fancy free, don’t be afraid to just go for it. It may bring you to places you didn’t know existed. We will always think about the “what ifs” no matter what, but lead with your heart. Just have a way back if you need it.