Brooke Pillsbury loves meeting up with friends at the Local Hub in Greenwood. photo by Pamela Chodosh Buy this Photo

 

Brooke Pillsbury has lived in Maine for the last eight years. A Register Dietician and a homeschooler until this fall, Pillsbury also teaches yoga. She and Dana, her husband of 15 years, have three sons, ages 13, 12 and 10. Her mother is deceased. Her father, her younger sister and her sister’s three boys live in Pennsylvania.

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I grew up in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, which is a suburb of Philadelphia. My dad is an eyeglass salesman. My mom stayed at home. Though once we were in school, she taught braille and also special education, she never worked full-time. My sister and I were her priority.
I went to a private Christian school. Then in the 9th grade, I went to public school. I have always been very extroverted. Friends were the center of my life.
I also played tennis. I did that with my dad very late at night on lit courts. That was one thing we shared. I competed for a few years on the USTA (United States Tennis Association) circuit. The irony is I am not competitive by nature. Though by senior year, I was number one seed, that was the last year I played.
I attended Messiah College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and studied dietetics. In the spring of my senior year, I traveled with a group of 16 to western China. We were to work in an orphanage. When we arrived, the government told us only two of us could do that. Two girls went to the orphanage. The rest of us were sent to the middle of nowhere to teach English at a small university near the border of Vietnam. Though most of the students had never seen a westerner, they were some of the most content, joyous people I had ever met.
The officials asked us to just speak conversational English with the students. After a week of that, I lost my voice. For one of the first times in my life, I had to be silent. For an extrovert, that was profound.
After that, we took a van to one of the biggest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. Being raised in a Christian home, I had not been exposed to Eastern religions at all. Though I was not able to incorporate what was happening energetically into my life for many years, being in that part of the world was significant.
I came back and graduated. Then, I went home to live with my parents and do an internship at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey. They helped get me a placement at Temple Hospital.
I had met Dana during college. He graduated the year before I did. He didn’t want to go back to Kezar Falls, where he is from, because I was not moving. So he lived in a renovated barn while I finished my senior year.
Once I graduated, I moved back to Harleysville. He moved to a place outside of Philly and lived with his best friend.
Dana and I got married on September 2, 2001. I worked at Temple for four years and then ended up going into sales at a pharmaceutical company. Though I can’t imagine doing that now, it was a great job.
On Mother’s Day in 2004, my mom was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which is an aggressive form. She was hospitalized for most of her illness. My sister and I stopped working and tried to make the most of it.
She was suffering, and she certainly had her ups and downs, but her deep and strong faith in God enabled her to feel God’s presence in a way she wouldn’t have otherwise. I remember her saying, “Girls, these are some of the best days of my life.”
When she passed away on December 16th, she was 56, and I was 27. It was a really hard experience. At the same time, I feel a kind of supernatural peace that I cannot put into words. It changed me.
My sister and I did a half marathon later that month to honor my mother and to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma. The family flew to Disney World for the race, including my dad. It was sad, but also celebratory.
When I was 29, we had our first son. Sixteen months later we had our second. We still lived in Pennsylvania. In 2009, we moved to Rochester and had a third boy. When he was 2 and a half, we took a leap of faith. Dana gave up his job, and we moved to Kezar Falls to be near Dana’s family.
Dana started a business. called ClickToast, which is a digital marketing company. He began to work from home, which he still does, and I began to homeschool the boys.
We lived with Dana’s parents for a while and then rented a place in Standish. Then, we bought a homestead in Buxton. It had a farmhouse that was over two hundred years old on eight acres. We began to clear land. We had beef, 60 free-range chickens at one point, and a garden that was way too big.
As idyllic as our life was on the homestead, farming was getting to be too much. A couple of years ago, we put our place on the market. It sold in one week.
We already had a ski house in Greenwood, so we moved there for the ski season. Though we didn’t know anyone, we started to meet nice people and families. We began to build a community outside of the ski season. I attended yoga classes at the Annex in Bethel and then started teaching. These things changed everything for us. Though we’d planned to move to Portland, we loved it here more than we thought we would. We decided to make Greenwood our year-round home.
My kids absolutely love it here. They ride their bikes to the Hub or to the mountain. They tell people who visit us this is the best and that they never want to leave. I don’t either. Our life has simplified and slowed. It has given us more space and more free time. I feel very, very grateful.

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