Author Archives: Pat D

Maze Gaze

As always, we were in search of a blog post so we visited the Crane Estate to view the modern maze structure recently installed on the site of the former maze at the mansion. This artwork is called TunnelTeller by its artist Alicja Kwade. It has concrete walls and steel tubing highlighted by spheres of various sizes. These spheres are polished stone and placed strategically around the maze area.  It’s not a complex maze, you will not get lost.


Peering through the steel tunnels gives an “other-worldly” effect contrasting the steel and concrete with the trees and sky.


It’s an interesting piece that will be on display for several months. Admission to the estate for non-members such as ourselves is $15 (free on weekdays to Ipswich residents) and can be applied to Crane Beach parking ($25 in the high season) if you are so inclined.

Exploring Planets on 133

Anyone know what’s up with these signs posted along 133 between Gloucester and Essex? They appear in order of the planets beyond Earth and have a little replica attached. I’d love to hear more.

Now sing along and have some fun

My name is Jupiter I am covered in clouds

I’m the fifth planet from the sun

My giant red spot is a raging storm

As for size I’m the biggest one


My name is Saturn I am brown in color

I’m the sixth planet from the sun

My outer rings are extremely thin

They’re made of dust and icy chunks

My names Uranus I am blue in color

I’m the seventh planet from the sun

Humans have named me the icy planet

Because I am the coldest one

My name is Neptune I am blue in color

I’m the eighth planet from the sun

I have too many storms in my atmosphere

And I’m the furthest planet from the sun

Lyrics from The Planet Song by Kids Learning Tube

Reminder: Light Up Main Street Kickoff Party Wednesday June 20

5:30 PM at 189 Main St., formerly Wisdom’s Heart. Enter under the big new Dead in the Water poster.  Volunteers needed to string lights onto 76 trees; also needed electricians and bucket trucks.  Snazzy T shirts available to first volunteers!

Light Up Main Street Kickoff Party

Councilman Ken Hecht visited the GMG podcast this morning to discuss the Light Up Main Street project, which will deck 76 trees from the Blackburn building to Flanagan Square with 4.3 miles of 23000 LED lights. I can see the sparkle in my mind’s eye already.  It will add a distinct dimension to Main Street and encourage people to linger, stroll, visit, and be neighbors.

To complete the project by the July 14 (Block Party) target date, the project is going to need a great deal of assistance especially from volunteer electricians, bucket truck owners and people willing to “adopt a tree” and hang the lights. To that end, a kickoff party is scheduled for this Wednesday June 20 at 5:30 at 189 Main Street (formerly Wisdom’s Heart). Ken encourages potential volunteers to look for the Dead in the Water banner on the Rogers Street side and use that entrance. If you are among the first ones there, you’ll get a snazzy volunteer T shirt as shown here. The shirts were donated by Sweats of New England and they are awesome! Don’t you want one?

I’m going to head down to Main Street to pick out my tree………see you Wednesday June 20 at 5:30! Spread the word.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Ken Hecht, people smiling, people standing and beard

1606 Lunch

Sistas in Glosta-town!!!  We decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the Beauport. Loved the experience. The hotel is so nicely done and definitely a pampering experience. Eric was our server and he did an outstanding job.  I enjoyed my cider margarita, even if they did think they needed to hunt down their cider stock!!  The fish and chips were a treat for my upstate New York siblings. As a treat, it was a great choice.  Thank you, Eric!

Oh Say Can You See?

It’s Flag Day, one of those commemorations that sometimes gets lost in the patriotic shuffle between Memorial Day and July 4th. Although a Flag Day holiday hasn’t been an official national observance very long (only since 1949), celebrations of the flag’s birthday June 14 1777 have been held since 1885. Gloucester really steps it up when it comes to flying the Ole Stars and Stripes all year round.





Yearbook Memories

Congratulations to the Gloucester Class of 2018! It’s probably hard to imagine that your 2018 yearbook will be meaningful in 50-60 years but I can attest that it’s possible.

Fairly often, I get to visit the archives at the Cape Ann Museum.  Recently, I was looking for records pertaining to widows and orphans of lost fisherman, but what I found was my Dad’s high school yearbook: Flicker 1944-45.  This yearbook has been available on eBay for some time but I was not willing to pay $65 for something I was pretty sure we threw out when we emptied our parents attic a number of years ago.

Our father was a cheerleader in college as well as in high school.  He’s the guy in the white pants here (you probably figured that out).  Look at the crowd behind them!

This is the Boys Glee Club.  I think these are ROTC uniforms. (Reserved Officers Training Corps).  In the mid 1940s, it would have been very common as World War II raged overseas.

I saw this senior picture and couldn’t help but think there was a time when such a character would find himself stuffed in a locker every single day.  If you read his summary, you’ll see our Dad Paul Ryan’s ambition is “to go around the world in the Merchant Marine with Umbriago at the wheel.”  Umbriago was apparently an imaginary sidekick to Jimmy Durante.  I don’t quite get it either, but I’ll bet it’s clever.

A few days after I got these, GMG Jimmy found another copy of the yearbook in the Dogtown bookstore.  Someone had very handily labeled all the seniors in the book and this verified that “Paddy” appeared several other times in the yearbook as well but I think these pictures are a fair reflection of Gloucester high school in the 1940s.  It’s an interesting study in social history to review old yearbooks.  I hope this year’s graduates find yearbook gems sometime around 2078!!!!

Treasure Found at Second Glance

I’d like to introduce my new friends Abbott and Costello.  I rescued them from the recent vintage sale held at the Second Glance for the princely sum of $16.  For some reason, I was drawn to them and needed to bring them home.  Of course my first instinct was to do some research and I learned they are majolica monk pieces and their value online appears to be at least twice what I paid–perhaps more.  (So a big shout out to Second Glance pricing!) This pottery style is quite popular and I can see why.  I think I have a new obsession and I have Second Glance to thank for it. And GMG Jimmy is REALLY happy to have new brick-a-brack around!!

Free Event at Parker River Wildlife Refuge Saturday June 16

The sun came out, so I decided to take a ride up the Scenic Coastal Byway to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.  The light is so pretty in early summer! Perhaps it was my polarized sunglasses, but no matter. It was so beautiful I did not even mind the one lane traffic at the Essex bridge.  It’s always a treat to see what I can find at Parker River. Though all the beaches are closed to accommodate nesting birds (except some access at Lot 1), I am always able to find cool stuff.


On June 16 from 10 AM – 3 PM, Parker River is hosting a free event they are calling “Let’s Get Outside”. It’s free and they are offering several interesting programs for families.  Check it out here.

Cemetery Stroll Seaside and Locust Grove

When I first started family history research in the cemeteries of Gloucester, Seaside Cemetery confused me greatly. I’d been told in strict terms there was a Gloucester side (now I know this is Seaside Cemetery) and the Rockport side (Locust Grove). Although two separate cemeteries, they are both technically located in the City of Gloucester and seem to share a border.

A Guide to Cemeteries in Essex County Massachusetts by the Essex Society of Genealogists (1991) describes Seaside as “flat with many oak trees, granite wall”. Locust Grove is noted to include Folly Cove Cemeter and is “well kept and hilly”.  I agree on these points.  My recent observations are that most of both of these appears to be fairly modern. Most of what I see are modern style granite markers, although, as always there is an older section.


Perhaps due to the time of year, but it also seems there is a great deal of vegetation. It seems to me that there’s more here than in most cemeteries. This is part of what makes each cemetery have its own personality. It’s very pretty and soothing.


The veteran section of Locust Grove was dedicated in 1938 by the American Legion and it was looking spiffy all done up for Memorial Day.


I noticed many many red and yellow flags marking graves. These noted Rockport firefighters. These men and women are well taken care of and I think it’s timely to note this since the Gloucester Firefighters Memorial will be held this weekend.


My uncle was recently buried at Locust Grove and I am happy he’s in such a beautiful, well cared for resting place.


Fire Department Annual Firefighters Memorial Service Sunday June 10

From the Gloucester Fire Department News Blog:


Gloucester Fire Department Invites Residents to Firefighters Memorial Service

GLOUCESTER —  Chief Eric Smith invites the public to join the Gloucester Fire Department at its annual Firefighters Memorial service this weekend.


Sunday, June 10, at 9 a.m.


Cherry Hill Cemetery next to Addison Gilbert Hospital


  • Gloucester Fire Department
  • Gloucester Fire Fighters Relief Association


The Gloucester Fire Department will hold a ceremony to honor the deceased firefighters who have served the Gloucester community.

A drum-led procession will march up Washington Street, from the Department of Public Works to the Firefighters Memorial Site at Cherry Hill Cemetery. Once there, the department will honor its fallen firefighters and will place wreaths and flags on their graves.

“It’s an honor to pay our respects to those who have come before us and sacrificed on behalf of the City of Gloucester,” Chief Smith said. “I hope residents will take the time to join us for this traditional tribute to the firefighters who served our community and dedicated their lives to keeping it safe.”

Here’s part of an article from the June 12 1922 Gloucester Daily Times naming those lost for that year’s ceremony.  It is difficult to read due to the method of digitization but, sadly, the list is long.

Deceased Firemen GDT June 12 1922

Interestingly, it also appears in the June 12 1922 edition of the Gloucester Daily Times that the Firemen’s Monument was dedicated at Cherry Hill Cemetery that year.

Cherry Hill Firemen's Monument dedicated GDT June 12 1922

The Department is to be commended for maintaining a long history of this memorial service. Godspeed to all past and present.


Good Harbor Beach Sights

I went down to Good Harbor Beach and found many things that made me smile: nesting plovers, protective killdeer parents chasing off crows from the chicks, people relaxing, lazy waves.  Here are some of the other things down there that made me smile.  I hope the same for you. It was a glorious day.


Oh Buoy! It’s a Weber Grill!

Our friend Joey probably already knows this, but did you know that Weber grills derived from a buoy cut in half? On my drive from New York to Gloucester recently I was catching up on my podcast list.  One of my favorites, Highlights from Moncrieff, features a segment called “Stuff That Changed The World”.  I was delighted to hear about how the barbecue changed the world.  The episode included the turning point that occurred in the 1950s in Chicago (now considered home of the Weber grill) when George Stephen Sr tinkered around and cut a buoy in half to create the first charcoal grill as we know it today. There is a very interesting article here if you are as obsessed as a certain friend of ours with Weber grills and their history.

From the Smithsonian Magazine website, a picture of the first marketed Barbecue Kettle. I think you can see how it developed from the halved buoy.

Original Weber Grill

I find is fascinating that this device that “changed the world” originated with a classic iconic image of this area: the buoy.  And here’s one in use today—maybe you can guess where I found it.  I think you can see this grill has stayed true to its roots; my kind of grill.



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