Yankee By Birth–Okie By Choice

I grew up in small town Maine. I mean really small. My high school graduating class had 26 students. I grew up hiking through pine forests and along rocky Atlantic beaches.

The birds I knew best were chickadees, robins and seagulls. Our garden had a flat spot where a moose laid down in the corn to take a nap. One of my favorite visual memories is of watching, through the kitchen window, as deer gracefully leapt into, ran across, and then leapt out of, the horse pasture next door.


My grandfather was a lobsterman and I had no idea that seafood was a luxury until I was an adult. Steamed clams with drawn butter on the picnic table were a summer staple. Rich chowders chock full of flounder, corn, potatoes and cream with fresh yeast rolls and real butter were a simple feast on cold winter days. Sweet baked beans served with brown bread dotted with raisins, was on our dinner table most Friday nights even though we weren’t Catholic. I never did like beans (still don’t) so I was allowed an alternate.

I don’t recall ethnic food being part of our environment. Dining out, a rare occasion, was at the Ice Cream Shop, McDonalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken. There were no Mexican, Chinese or Italian options.

My 10th grade year we had an exchange student, from Acapulco, come live with our family for the school year. The next summer I went to Mexico to live in her home and attend her school. The first phrase I learned in Spanish was “sin frijoles, por favor!” (Without beans please!) Priorities!

I was in Mexico for 6 months and flew back to Maine, shortly before Christmas, to finish my senior year of high school. My parents had moved to a larger, nearby town and in order to avoid transferring to that high school, I enrolled in the community college and did all of the classes I had to finish to graduate concurrently.

I had loved the sunshine, salt air, and freedom of my season in Mexico and when it came time for me to choose a college … I decided to go to Texas. Somehow in my head, or heart, it seemed as close as I could get and it would be easy to run back across the border once I was that far south. Life had other plans!

I spent one year at Abilene Christian University, majoring in social work. In the Spring I took a job working in a halfway house for mentally retarded adults. (There is a whole series of stories for another day.) One hot July day, supervising around the pool, I met a guy who worked in a similar facility in a nearby town. He flirted. I was skeptical. A few days later I drove a group of our clients to Sweetwater for a dance. Bert was working too and this time we both flirted. The next night he called work and asked me how I was getting home. I told him I usually walked and he was appalled. (I got off work at 11.) He got off work an hour before I did and he started driving over to Abilene every night to drive me home from work. I was smitten!

Bert and I joke that we spent 6 weeks discussing all the reasons we shouldn’t rush into marriage … and then we did! We got married in September and I instantly became mommy to his 2 toddlers. In December we drove from Texas to Maine, to spend Christmas with my family, so they could meet my husband and kids.

Life was crazy and busy those first couple of years and we moved several times, chasing the next dream, hoping to find a place that felt like home for all of us. Never did find a perfect spot. Until one day when we sat down with a map and tried to choose between San Antonio, Texas and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

We chose Tulsa and we’ve been here ever since. A Texas man and his Yankee bride, settled in neutral territory , Oklahoma!

Now I tell people that I’m …

Yankee by birth

Rebel by nature

Okie by choice

And saved by grace!

BethBeth describes herself as a weaver of words and teller of tales. She aspires to be loving, non-judgmental and real while choosing daily gratefulness in a passionate pursuit of abundant joy! Her desire is to grow in trust, to share her faith, and encourage others towards a joyful and abundant life! She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband of 33 years, the youngest of their 4 children, and a German Shepherd named Lucy. She blogs at Beth Zimmerman and Masterpiece.

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    • So … do you just tell people you graduated in the top ten? =) Maine is a truly magical place in the fall when the colors are at their peak! I’d love to go back one of these days, myself!

  1. I’ve lived in Oklahoma my whole life except for about 4 years in Texas… so it’s always been my home, but I’ve never desired to be anywhere else! 😉 Of course this earth is just a temporary home anyway, but glad I get to be an okie while I’m here!

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