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With the NY Times article last weekend and the response to it in Elephant magazine and the Details magazine on the eroticism of yoga in the hot yoga world, there are a lot of ways to do yoga these days! Why do you do it?? What does it do for you? In case you did not catch the articles- is yoga a lifestyle, a philosophy or just exercise??


Donna bends a bit...

Our most recent trip advisor review says ” All stressed out New Yorkers should have a place like this to retreat to, where people are not obsessed with wealth and status and common sense reigns supreme.” This week Edmund Morris was featured in Metro New York, having completed his third and final biography installment on Theodore Roosevelt. As only an eloquent writer can do so well, as Morris reflects on the issues of TR’s 1912 campaign he sees that TR had a profound mistrust of wealth as a false American value and that wealth these days is “so grotesquely celebrated and regarded as a badge of merit”. Though he only mentions my great grandfather a little in his first celebrated bio of TR, he grasped the relationship so well. I saw the King’s Speech last night and had the good fortune to be part of a Q and A with the screen-writer (having kept my SAG card for a reason) afterward. I could not help but feel very touched and relate to the lifelong friendship between two men of totally different social and financial backgrounds who forged a true friendship based on what counts most, authenticity. So in this interesting time, when our own political parties are so seemingly divided, and where people are doing yoga for various reasons as it has risen in popularity and also fosters the star system our country so admires, we do our best to continue and honor this tradition at Sewall House. Some who come here don’t really know much about the friendship that was forged by TR and my great grandfather but thanks to Andrew Vietze’s book last year, some more know now. And that TR not only forged a friendship in this house but was healed by the nurturing of nature here and a welcoming home and family, I hope we are doing my great grandparents proud.

94 years ago at Sewall House, here in Island Falls, Maine Sam Sewall was born. This morning at 2 am he breathed his last breath. For anyone who might chance upon this blog, and not many read it with all the information to sift through in this techno-info age, Sam Sewall was an incredibly special person. He was the last of the three older relatives I had bought this house from, all men like they just don’t seem to make anymore. Sam was the kindest, smartest, always eager to learn new things, continually curious about life- totally self sufficient as many Mainers, who know how it is do to with and have little, are. My sister used to say we need to find someone just like Sam, thirty years younger for her and forty years younger for me. My husband Kent also, like Sam, has many talents and hails from North Woods, though Kent’s woods were in Sweden. I am thankful Kent can help Sewall House carry on where the Sewall men have left off.

When I told Sam’s friend Brad yesterday that he was failing (and just about everyone in this little town who knew Sam could not help calling him friend) Brad said three things..”Sam was such a good ¬†friend, so smart and capable he could have earned a lot more money than he did.(yet he chose to stay in the town he loved and make do with less, working at the hardware store and using his expertise to help others) Brad said he once asked Sam why he never got angry. Sam said it just didn’t pay. The third thing Brad told us was that Sam had told him that he could fight the things in his body that old age had brought upon him (and he did, in his garden and on the lake last summer, moving slower, in pain ,,as he said “old, lame and deaf”..but moving just the same) but there was one thing he could not fight..TIME. None of us can.

Sam was truly good natured and unlike many New Englanders, he was a huge hugger. I once told him that I heard  we needed 8 hugs a day for health and he loved getting and giving them.

There are just too many stories to tell about Sam Sewall. When he was a little boy getting a fish hook stuck in his lip, walking home with cousin Christine holding the other end of the pole, or an apple stuck in his mouth, seeing how big an apple fit in there. Photos of him as a toe-headed child were adorable, taken with his grandfather William Sewall down at the lake, where they fished and hunted. My almost 96 year old father said this when he heard Sam was failing ” the fish in the lake will be happy anyway” but the people, all of us, will miss him terribly. His high school photo, which I keep nearby to show people when he stopped by, showed an incredibly handsome young man, as he still was in old age to all of us.

Sam has had hardship in his life, plenty, but never once did I hear him complain or say a bad word about another person. The closest was once he told my husband ” they were not good people”. And not good people do exist if the truth be told. But Sam Sewall was certainly not one of them.

Dear dear Sam, our guests have had the privilege of knowing you- I had the privilege of buying the home you were born in and lived in as a child – from you and two other wonderful cousins of yours. You were so generous you probably would have given me the house if I had asked; You have shared your wisdom, your knowledge, yourself with so many..helped so many..and are loved by so many. I am sure tonight, as we enter 2011 without you, that many are shedding a tear. I know I am.


January 2011

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