WELLINGTON – ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.’ It’s a saying that rings true for one family in Piscataquis County after a fire took nearly everything from them last week.
“Our whole life was there,” said Bill Glynn, 79, standing on the property he’s owned since 1990.
A lot goes into making a house a home.
“Blood and sweat, and I guess the tears come afterwards,” Bill said. “It’s not easy.”
Bill Glynn and his wife left Arlington, Massachusetts in 1990, and he spent the last three decades building a home for his family in Wellington.
“29 years to get to where we were today. Just patching, kept going,” Bill said. “I like it back here, I like the setting, the open air, the woods.”
He and his family, with three boys and two girls, spent years creating memories.
“This is where you come home to, on weekends or holidays,” said Connie Glynn, Bill’s oldest daughter, who now lives in Portland.
“I had the four older siblings, but people ask me how many siblings I have and I say 12 about,” Emily Glynn, Bill’s youngest daughter, said. “My dad took in all their friends. They come for a birthday party and they never went home.”
They’re holding onto those memories a little tighter these days.
“You don’t realize what you had until it’s all gone, until you’re looking for it and it’s just not there anymore,” Bill said.
January 12, fire swept through their home, destroying years of work in a few hours.
“You’re really just panicked, you want to get out because you don’t know where the fire is or how long it’s going to take,” Connie said. “Obviously, looking back at it, you wish you could take so much more.”
The home was located down a back road, about a mile from the nearest intersection. By the time the fire department arrived, Bill said there wasn’t much that could be done.
“We just had to watch it burn,” Bill said.
But the fire didn’t take everything from the Glynn family. All the people inside got out safely, and the dogs were saved, although one had to be put down later.
“We just have to start from the beginning and put everything back together,” said Bill, who plans to rebuild.
Even at 79, Bill still has his humor.
“I guess life begins at 80,” Bill said with a chuckle.
What’s more, Bill still has his work ethic, determination and positive outlook.
“We were talking about the photo albums, which is something I’m going to miss probably the most,” said Emily, wiping tears from her eyes. “But he told my sister that we still have the pictures, we just can’t touch them, and that outlook is what’s getting us through.”
Bill’s daughters say he’s a staple in the community, and it’s the reason they say they weren’t surprised when a GoFundMe they set up to support their father raised more than $17,000 in seven days.
“I’ve been humbled by it, of course, because there’s been so many people who reach out and offer help, but for me, I expected that,” Connie said. “My dad is a man that people relate to and can look up to.
“He would give his last dollar to anyone else that needed it, and not think anything of it,” Connie added.
For Bill, who Connie refers to as “mountain tough,” seeing the donations pour in has been hard.
“I’m not one to ever ask for help,” said Bill, his voice shaking. “I know a lot of those people need what they’ve given us for themselves. I can’t really talk about that, I get emotional.”
Bill hopes to begin rebuilding in the spring to have a house to move into by the fall. He’ll build everything from the ground up, just like he did 30 years ago.
“A little hard to get started again, but I imagine we’ll make it,” Bill said. “A little bit at a time.”
A link to the GoFundMe to help the Glynn family can be found HERE.