Today we are very pleased to share two amazing stories in our “Kindred Chronicles”. Since it is high season on the Island, we know that quite a few visitors who walk into the Anne of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner and our Anne of Green Gables Stores could tell us equally inspiring stories. We hope that you will enjoy them as much as we do.
When I read Anne of Green Gables as a young girl my life changed forever. The books and the first TWO Kevin Sullivan movies were such a bright spot in my childhood and young adulthood. I even took the movies to college and watched them when I was lonely. The characters and actors were like family to me.
It’s truly uncanny the similarities that I have with Anne and especially Maud herself. I became a teacher and I was a pastor’s wife for 16 years. I love to write, especially poetry, journals, and letters. I share my love for others through writing, to be sure. I also endured many dark days and years of dealing with a husband with a mental illness and issues with depression. I was so saddened to learn that Maud, who brought so much joy to others, had to deal with such darkness in her marriage and last days.
My childhood dream came true in 2015. I traveled to Prince Edward Island and Ontario. I visited as many AoGG movie filming sites as possible and all of the popular spots and Maud’s old haunts on the island. My favorite spot on the island was the homestead of LMM. Some people unwittingly call it a “hole in the ground”, but it’s so much more. It’s hauntingly beautiful and so special. It was a complete honor to walk among the old lanes and trees where LMM walked as a child. I loved hearing the wind in Lombardy Poplars of the “old lane” to the home site. I finally got to realize what LMM meant by her “Windy Poplars”. It’s a sound I’ll carry with me forever in my heart.
Anne has had a tremendous influence on my life. It started about 35 years ago when I lived in Poland and was given “Anne of Green Gables” by my older cousin. He thought that I might like the story and he certainly was right. It was the first novel I read by myself and once I read it, I announced that I would visit Prince Edward Island one day. Poland was in the Eastern Bloc back then and not too many people were allowed to travel abroad, so I don’t think anyone took my traveling plans seriously.
Over the years I would reread the whole Anne series every summer. The world created by L.M. Montgomery was always a wonderful escape from our grey reality. Anne was my best friend and my loyal companion – patiently waiting for the summer vacation, so that I could spend time with her in Avonlea, Kingsport and Glen St. Mary.
In 2006 my childhood dream finally came true. Prince Edward Island, the only hero of Maud’s books existing today, welcomed me with the nature, architecture and landscapes I knew so well. I was overjoyed and could not quite believe my feet touched the red roads that made Anne so curious and walked the red sand beaches of PEI. Just to make sure that I was not dreaming I collected red stones in PEI National Park and wrote “Wyspa Ksiecia Edwarda” (which is the Polish name for PEI) with them on the beach. I took hundreds of photos and left PEI filled with many wonderful memories. I thought I checked off a big item on my bucket list and I would never be back. The visit was so perfect that I would not risk another one which could have been less perfect…
Six years later someone asked for photos from my 2006 trip. Looking at them all the memories came back to me and I felt that I needed to return. Five days later my husband, our four-year-old daughter and myself were on our 12-hour journey to PEI from Connecticut (where I have lived since 2000). That year we all fell in love with the Island and kept coming back for one week every year until 2015. In 2015 for the first time we saw the Island during lupine season and I knew right away that I had to be back the following year to witness that again. The only problem was that I did not think I could spend the whole summer away from PEI after our one week in late June or early July. To make sure we had plenty of time in 2016 we booked two separate weeks and were willing to make the long trip twice. By then we all were very much in love with Prince Edward Island and no 12-hour trip could keep us away. During the first (lupine) week we were told about a house that would be put on the market in a few days. The house was located in the very heart of our favourite area of the Island and had some connection to L.M. Montgomery – her grandfather used to own the land the property was located on. My heart started beating faster when I learned about it and even though we did not plan to buy a summer home, the stars magically aligned and two months later we became proud owners of a house on the Lake of Shining Waters.
Every morning I wake up wondering if what happened to us was not just a dream. Anne completely changed our lives – I used to spend my summers reading L.M. Montgomery’s books and now my daughter gets to spend her summers on the beaches of Prince Edward Island. What a true blessing Maud and Anne have been in my life!
For those who would still like to submit their own stories of how Anne has inspired them, it is not too late! Please, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget to visit our online store for beautiful gifts designed by the Campbell family, direct descendants of LMM!