The first time Vance left Maine he hadn’t been here for long. He had arrived in June of 1968, surprised to see snow lurking in the deep woods. He shook plenty of hands in Orono at a meet and greet for a job at the college. He was moving on up and breaking ranks to boot, the first man in the Department of Human Resources (no longer Home Economics). His host dropped him at the airport.
Vance waited, balanced on a folding chair at one end of the giant Quonset hut that served as Bangor Airport’s public terminal, three hours early for his flight. A Bangor Daily News slowly yielded up some sense of what his new home would be like. His family would love it. It was a day filled with potential.
A shadow fell across his paper and a woman said “Do you need to stay here or would you like to get out early?”
“Early is good.”
“Follow me.” And he did.
They trotted across the tar, she with her clipboard and he with his overnight bag. Bang bang bang, she whaled against the door with her fist. “I got another one for you, Jake. Goes about 185. One bag.” There was grumbling inside. The door creaked open and a step ladder dropped onto the tar. Vance climbed in.
The last time Vance left Maine it was June again. Now Professor Emeritus, he was heading off for a 4 month stint in the Caribbean, teaching child development. Vance hadn’t traveled on his own in years. He cleared security. Never again, he thought. He’d stay home after this. Any thing could happen. He sat in the molded plastic seat, watching the line of accordion walkways that muckled onto the planes. There wouldn’t be any earlier flights today.