June 21, 2018
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Longtime shopkeeper: Downtown Bangor has heart

By Rick Schweikert, Special to the BDN

The start of 2011 has been very interesting for me and my family. On New Year’s Eve, I experienced three episodes affecting my body in ways I never had experienced before. At 10 p.m. Dec. 31, 2010, I ended up at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. It was determined that my problems stemmed from my heart, and I was stabilized and then taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center by ambulance.

I never had any outward signs of heart problems. I always was in decent shape and consumed reasonable foods. I usually had pretty good energy.

The doctors found I had major blockage to my heart, and I would need a triple bypass — ASAP. The bypass was scheduled for Wednesday.

The support from the doctors and nurses, from my family and friends and from my co-workers was overwhelming. I came out of the surgery riding a river of love.

After four more long days in the hospital making the necessary recovery steps from the surgery I was on my way home. I am one of the lucky ones. I have been given a second chance. I have new blood lines to my heart, a permanent fix as long as I take care of myself.

I have run a business in downtown Bangor for the last 28 years. I have been involved deeply in community affairs over those years. My wife and I raised three daughters in Bangor and experienced a beautiful family life.

About a year ago, we started planning our departure from Bangor so that we could slow down and get much closer to retirement. The recent events of my life show me that you reap what you sow. I have been given a second chance to live fully. I have experienced incredible support, fantastic medical care and overwhelming love.

Working in the heart of Bangor (for 28 years) has been a wonderful place to have a career. Bangor has heart! It is a very real community filled with caring people.

Lately, people have been hinting that The Grasshopper Shop is closing because of the tough financial times. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is closing because it has been very successful and will afford us the chance to do new and exciting things. Downtown Bangor has been a great place to have a business.

Why do some find that surprising? A small community is a beautiful thing. Join in, and you will experience it for yourselves. Downtown Bangor is very alive and prosperous.

This is a very bittersweet time for my wife and me. We leave Bangor with a ton of respect and thanks. It has been a beautiful life here, and we will take all the friendships with us and continue to nurture and cherish them.

Rick Schweikert is co-owner of The Grasshopper Shop in Bangor.

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