Unless you’ve lived on an island, you can never know what it’s like, both the push and the pull. Joanne Santee was born on North Haven Island off the coast of Rockland, Maine. She spent most of her childhood living elsewhere, moving from place to place. But the pull was always there for her and that’s why when she had her own family, they would spend summers on North Haven.

Joanne and her husband Larry built a grocery store, which she ran for several years until Larry passed away. For the past several years, she has lived down south. Now 78 and struggling with health issues, she has returned to North Haven to live out the rest of her life. What made it possible is a beautiful elder care facility called Southern Harbor House that opened the beginning of this year. It is now home to Joanne and other islanders who are aging and need some extra help and care.

Listen to my conversation with Joanne

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Read a transcript of our conversation

Some pictures

Joanne Santee, Conversations About Aging
Joanne Santee in her room at Southern Harbor House
Joanne and Larry Santee
Joanne and her late husband Larry
Book cover/At Peache
The book Joanne has been reading
Joanne's hat with lobstermen's signatures
Joanne’s hat signed by North Haven lobstermen
Joanne Santee holding the guitar her granddaughter painted
Joanne holding the guitar her granddaughter painted
Brochure cover/drone view of Southern Harbor House
Southern Harbor House back yard view
View out a back window
On the ferry leaving North Haven
Saying goodbye to North Haven
Diane and her sister Cathy on the ferry from North Haven to Rockland
Me and my sister Cathy on the ferry back to Rockland

More information

Who’s next?

Conversations About Aging airs every other Monday. My next conversation is with Paul Quinn, who also lives on North Haven Island, but in his own home. I suspect that there is no one on the island who doesn’t know Paul. His life hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been good. He talks about some of the hard times and the joys he has experienced in his 80 years on this earth — most of them spent on North Haven.


If you have any suggestions for people I should consider interviewing or you’re aware of a helpful aging resource in your community, let me know. In addition to the podcast, I intend to blog about what various communities, organizations, and individuals are doing to provide age-friendly services, support, and connection here in Maine. The best way to get in touch is to send me an email. Thank you!

Please share the podcast with friends, family, on social media, everywhere. You’re also welcome to become a member of our Facebook group Conversations About Aging.