Neighbors in Limington: The Ice Storm

Ice Storm '98

I want to share what I think is a great example of community.

As a kid I grew up in a small neighborhood. There were only about 5 houses on our little dirt road. We knew all the families that lived around us. More than just knowing them, we spent a lot of time with them doing fun things like cookouts, camping and snowmobiling. We also helped each other out shoveling snow off roofs, rebuilding motors, constructing decks and additions, and so on. All us kids would spend the night at each others’ houses all the time and really felt like each others’ homes were our homes and each others’ parents were like second parents to us. This was quite clearly a real community.

In 1998 the Northeast was hit with a severe ice storm. Ice is much heavier than snow and the weight from the ice caused trees to fall down all over the place. This led to the majority of Southern Maine to lose power; we lost ours for two weeks! Worse yet, some of the trees fell on people’s homes. Our neighbors had a tree fall through their roof right into their living room. This family had six kids, the youngest being only a few months old. My parents opened our home to these people without a thought. Well, there wasn’t much room in our little house especially considering that now there were 12 people staying there! This would have been difficult had not another neighbor decided all the older kids were going to stay at their house. Me and the other teenagers slept at this family’s house. I remember we all ate together: all 3 families, we all went to pump water together: all 3 families, we all sat around space heaters and candles playing games together: all 3 families. We truly shared all things during this time. I was young and I always remembered this time quite fondly, we would snowmobile and sled and play games all day. It was great. All the adults would participate in fixing meals, which were always large and very enjoyable! There was no school, since the school had been converted into a shelter for those made homeless by the storm. Awful for the people staying there, great for us kids! The point is that what could have been a terrible time ended up being a great time of sharing and fellowship among this small community.

The story ends with the entire community of the town coming together to rebuild the roof and living room of this family with no charge for labor or material!

I want to be a part of a community of believers like this… we didn’t simply gather at neighborhood meetings to discuss plowing and trash pick up. We truly had unity and love for each other that resulted in us naturally helping each other and gathering together to enjoy each others’ company. I pray that I can treat others like my parents treated our neighbors when I was a kid!


About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

9 responses to “Neighbors in Limington: The Ice Storm

  • Fred

    Dan, I’m with you in longing for the type of community where we simply love each other and naturally help each other and enjoy getting together.

  • Dan Allen


    Thanks for the comment.

    I think the natural element is what is so hard about the whole thing, you cannot make it happen. Those people on that little dirt road never tried to be friends and care for those around them, they just did it. I don’t know what it is that makes that such a difficult experience for us as the body of Christ, but clearly many struggle with it.


  • norma hill

    When I look back in my life, I can think of a number of stories like this – and a central theme that runs through many of them is geographical proximity. Close geographical promixity. Village, yes, but even more specifically, neighborhood or at least easy walking distance.

    I know that “things are different now” because of “improvements/progress” in transportation (our own vehicles, transit systems, etc) that allow us to travel to places where we can meet with people (and organizations, institutions, facilities… and, oh yes, church gatherings) that we feel comfortable with or agree with or have (whatever) in common with…

    But maybe we really do need to “live where God has planted us”?? Really live there, be an active part of it??

  • Dan Allen


    Good to see you on here! I think there is a lot to be said about geographical proximity. It sure makes sharing a life with others easier when we don’t have to load the kids into the van and drive a half hour away to do it!

    Thanks for the comment!


  • Renee Donovan

    Dan, I love this post. I remember that time like it was yesterday. All the kids together, so well behaved… everything just seem to flow the way it was supposed to. And you know what? The Lord was amongst us… we were once strangers with only a simple hello with the family below us, but that storm brought us together… living together for that short time. We had the common bond of love of God and He blessed us all. It was actaully a great time. 🙂 I am glad that you reflect on this memory. Mom

  • Dan Allen


    I think that many times it takes disaster or hardship to force people to act in unity and love. Especially as Americans we like to be self-sufficient, and sometimes we have to be at the point where self-sufficiency isn’t possible to really experience the love and unity of community in Christ.


  • Neighborly | The Assembling of the Church

    […] Maine“) has written two posts dealing with “Neighbors in Limington”: “The Ice Storm” and “Cancer.” Both stories give a glimpse into community (neighborhood) […]

  • Mark

    Norma mentioned the word “progress”, and I ask myself this question: what does man’s “progress” do to man’s well-being in the end? I think it hurts it in many ways, and our loss of community, even from a worldly perspective, is a huge victim of “progress”. Great story Dan.


  • Reiterate: 08.21.10 | The Ekklesia in Southern Maine

    […] Neighbors in Limington: The Ice Storm – “I want to be a part of a community of believers like this… we didn’t simply gather at neighborhood meetings to discuss plowing and trash pick up. We truly had unity and love for each other” […]

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