Things have changed since I was a kid.
I know that's kind of an obvious statement, but really it's true. When I was young, it seemed everyone older than me had an accent. For instance, at Christmas my family always had Waldorf Salad. But to this day, I have a hard time not calling it "Wald-off" instead. It's drilled into my brain.
I even remember my mom correcting me when I'd start to speak in a Maine accent. I tried the "traditional" pronunciation of car (cahhh) and she'd always correct me to the actual way. Which is funny because my Mom's accent is fairly thick by modern standards. She doesn't sound like a Downeast fisherman. Although occasionally she swears like one.
Is our beloved accent slowly going away in Maine?
Well, short answer... Yes. A recent article in the BDN as well as another recent story from Maine Public, both point toward the Maine accent declining as the years go by. Naturally, one's first thoughts move to, "how could this happen?!", and the answer is pretty mundane in reality.
Think about it for a minute... What's one thing people have now that they didn't have 50 years ago? If you guessed the internet, you pretty much nailed it. Widespread access to all forms of media via the internet is changing the way we talk. Since we hear as many voices from other places as we do our own, it's been watering down our accent.
What about when I'm with my older family and friends?
It's funny though, as much as I normally don't have the accent, if I get around a group of people who do, it causes me to unconsciously slip into it. And then it goes right back to normal. I know Mainers who've moved to Texas that now have a drawl when they speak. So it's no surprise we can lose it so easily.
Will we ever lose it entirely? I hope not. It's unique to us and sets us apart... good, bad, or indifferent. But if you ever wondered where our accent was disappearing to, now you know the sad truth.