Noelle Wentworth is a woman who has learned what it means to be an independent spirit. Experiencing heartbreak, rediscovering herself, and starting life over again have all directed her toward Maine, the place she feels she belongs. She may be happily single, but she is never alone. She shares her South Paris home with her dog, Thor, and two parakeets, Heaven and Ming-Ming. She also celebrates, alongside her family and church, being three years in remission from cancer. 
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I was born on September 15, 1965. I grew up in a suburban area of Ashland, near a small town. I have an older sister named Nicole, a younger sister named Nichelle, and one brother named Chris. I’m originally from Massachusetts.
I’ve been an animal lover from the get-go. My mom tells this story about bringing me and my sisters to an animal park when I was 2. She had my younger sister, Nichelle in the stroller, and Nicole and I were walking along. My mom was doing something. Then she turned around after a second, and I was gone, just like that. She couldn’t find me, but she saw that there was a big crowd of people all around the animals in the petting zoo area. When she walked over, she found me sharing my bottle with the lambs and baby goats.
After that time, animals would come to me out of nowhere. As a child, I was always the one to bring home stray cats, dogs, birds, and chipmunks. You name it. I brought it to my mother. When I was old enough, I got a great volunteer job at this riding place where I would clean stalls and take care of horses in exchange for riding lessons.
We used to vacation in Otisfield on Lake Thompson at the Cape Cottages. My parents decided they really loved Maine and wanted to move, so that’s what we did when I was in early high school. I started my sophomore year at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.
When I was almost 16, my parents divorced. My mom, younger sister, brother, and I left Maine and moved back to Massachusetts. My older sister stayed because she was in her senior year at Oxford Hills and wanted to finish there.
After the divorce, my mom wanted to come back here. I came up and got a job at a restaurant on Main Street in Norway called Barjo’s Restaurant. Then my mom and my younger siblings moved back.
I met my first boyfriend at Barjo’s. However, I was still a teenager. I didn’t start dating him until I was 18 because that would not have gone over well. I was with him until I was 24, and then he and I broke up. I left Maine then.
I was a young adult. I had no idea what to do with my life, and I was hurt by that relationship ending, so I did some wandering. I wound up in New Hampshire. I got a job in a restaurant and met my second significant boyfriend at the age of 27. We were together until I was about 35 or 36, which is when he and I broke up.
After that, I’d had enough. I knew that I had issues that I needed to deal, with and it wasn’t good for me to be in a relationship. It took me a long time to figure these things out about myself that I didn’t learn as a kid. The first few years of being alone weren’t too much fun, but I got used to it because it was where I felt the best. I didn’t come from a stable home so that in and of itself changed me. Once I realized it was okay to be all by myself and take care of only me, I trusted myself. I was fine with that.
I lived in Rhode Island for a while. That was a world of its own. There was too much city, too many people, and a lot of violence. What brought me back to Maine in 2015 during Labor Day weekend was the fact that out of all of us kids, I turned out to be the one who was most able to move closer to my mom. She was getting older, and my siblings and I didn’t want her to be alone.
I brought a full-powered, double stackable washer and dryer with me. My first boyfriend, who I had become friends with after a few years, came over to my mother’s house to help set it up. When I drove him back to his house that Wednesday, we made plans to go out to dinner. He said, “I’ll see you then.” He kissed me on the cheek and went inside. After that, I didn’t hear from him for a couple of days. I called his daughter. She said that he had died. It was such a shock for us all.
I wanted to pack up and move back to Rhode Island, but my friend Pam invited me to church. I had only been a few times. Eventually, I joined the church and got baptized. I knew God as a kid, but when I realized God was missing in my life, I wanted to start doing things his way. When I tried things my way, I’d get bonked on the head. It was painful. His way is less painful and simpler.
Another crazy thing is if I had never moved back, I never would have found out I was sick. Because chronic pain and aggressive medicine had been such a big problem in my life, I decided I was done with doctors. Then, my mom and I got the same primary doctor. After I saw her, she insisted that I have a mammogram done. I went to have the mammogram, and they discovered a lump. They performed a biopsy. It was breast cancer, but my treatments were successful, and I’m now in remission.

Nowadays, life is pretty quiet. I have my parakeets and my dog, and I’m still working on things with myself. I love being back here. It’s so peaceful, which was something I really missed living in Rhode Island. Now, it’s just part of who I am.

Noelle Wentworth


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