Tag Archives: Halloween

Haunting for Halloween: Pumpkin carving and poetry John Greenleaf Whittier & Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

Jack o’lantern traditions. There’s this – our annual amateur foray

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and then this public art tableau  that we stop for each year, just past 370 Main Street, Gloucester (before the Crow’s Nest heading into downtown Gloucester)

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The history of carving jack o’lanterns includes a description in a Victorian era poem by John Greenleaf Whittier (b.1807 Haverhill, MA-d.1892 Danvers, MA; resided/buried in Amesbury)-  a Massachusetts poet, legislator, journalist, editor, Quaker, and abolitionist. Cape Ann, North Shore, Essex County, and New England appear in his prose. 

Excerpt from The Pumpkin, ca.1846 Thanksgiving poem

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,

When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!

When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,

Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!

When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,

Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,

Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,

In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

 

Whittier was a contributing founder of Atlantic Monthly.  He was wildly popular, successful, and influential in his time. He helped many other writers. Letters to Whittier “poured in at the rate of ten, twenty, and sometimes thirty a day, making all manner of unreasonable requests and sending innumerable axes to grind…” In 1887 “deluged by over a thousand letters and manuscripts at his birthday, he put a public notice…that he could not answer any letters or read any manuscripts…”* Schools, cities and towns across the country were named after him. “People seem determined to use my name lately in many ways. Within a week I have had two ‘literary Institutes’** named for me, and a big vessel launched last week from Newburyport yard carries “Whittier” in brass letters to her element. I hope I shall not next hear of my name attached to notes of hand!”
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps was “one of the many woman writers Whittier befriended, but their relationship was especially close. Whittier wrote her scores of letters during his life and they met often to discuss religious themes. Whittier once wrote of her: Miss Stuart Phelps was there-an intense nature-frail but strong-a Puritan with passion and fire of Sappho and the moral courage of Joan of Arc.”** Phelps spent her summers at the seaside in East Gloucester, and was equally compassionate about social concerns.
Whittier and Phelps joined other luminaries at gatherings held in the Cambridge home of James (editor/publisher) and Annie Fields (writer) and other salons.  Who might be mixing it up there? Charles Dickens, Mary Abigail Dodge, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Dead Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett, Lucy Larcom,  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Phelps, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Celia Thaxter and Whittier. Jewett, Longfellow and others visited and wrote about Gloucester. Here’s a link from the Cornell University library to Phelps’ Atlantic Monthly article The 10th of January  about the tragic 1860 Pemberton Mills collapse and fire in Lawrence, MA*** (estimated 90-200+ killed), less known than the horrific 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (146 killed).
*Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier 1861-1892, Volumes I II III, 1975, Harvard, edited by John B. Pickard. Fun read!  We’re told one of the colleges was Whittier college, Salem, Iowa
**ditto above and below any mentions from letters in the timeline

Selected Whittier links and timeline bits:

1908 poem: The Gloucester Mother, by Sarah Orne Jewett, copy of McClure’s Magazine where it first was published: http://www.unz.org/Pub/McClures-1908oct-00702
1888: Whittier “Was there ever such a droll thing?”** letter to Annie Adams Fields gossiping and happy for Elizabeth Stuart Phelps in love with a younger man “Love seems to have cured her…I feel rather aggrieved that I wasn’t consulted.” He calls her E.S.P.  To Celia Thaxter who Whittier visited on the Isle of Shoals, “treasuring evenings in her parlor room where she told ghost stories or they exchanged folk tales:   “What do you think of Eliza Stuart’s marriage to young Ward? He is a good fellow and Elizabeth for once in her life is happy!” Phelps married Herbert Dickinson Ward in 1888–he was 27 and she was 44. It didn’t go well: she bucked his surname within three years and wrote Confessions of a Wife in 1902.
1888 Whittier letter to Annie Fields after editing a new edition of his poetry: “I hope I am correcting a little of the bad grammar, and rhythmical blunders, which have so long annoyed my friends who have graduated from Harvard instead of a country district school.”
1886 Whittier poem: To a Cape Ann Schooner
1886 Whittier letter mentioning Elizabeth Stuart Phelps sending a “very pretty shade of fine lace work…because of its exquisite color” gift on Christmas Eve, which Whittier re-gifted🙂
1884 Whittier letter to Annie Fields: “Have you seen Elizabeth Phelps lately? I am not in favor of capital punishment, but the burglars who robbed her of her hard earnings would fare hard if I were on the jury that tried them…”
1882 Whittier letter “The world can no longer be to me what it was while Emerson and Longfellow lived. They should have outlived me, for Emerson was never sick, and Longfellow until the last two years had splendid health. A feeling of loneliness and isolation oppresses me. But as Emerson said to me the last time I saw him ‘the time is short’ “ collection of Swarthmore college
1879 Whittier letter to Elizabeth Stuart Phelps: “Dr. Bowditch says that a man of active brain ought to make a fool of himself occasionally and unbend at all hazards to his dignity.” admittedly hard for these two
1877  Mark Twain (work friend),  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at Whittier’s 70th birthday celebration. Hawthorne and Whittier were not exactly fans of each other’s works.
1873: Whittier thank you note to Elizabeth Stuart Phelps for sending her book
1868: Whittier letter to Annie Fields complimenting Elizabeth Stuart Phelps The Gates Ajar “Good in itself and full of promise.” 1869 he’s promoting it to Harriet Minot Pittman
1868 Whittier thank you note to James Thomas Field for paying him the $1500 check
1866 Whittier poem: Snow bound: A Winter Idyll  his bestseller and dedicated to his family- memories from childhood
1857 Whittier poem: Garrison of Cape Ann* opens with a view of Cape Ann as seen from Po Hill: “From the hills of home forth looking, far beneath the tent-like span,
Of the sky, I see the white gleam headland of Cape Ann.” For readers that have come this far–the complete Garrison of Cape Ann follows the break.
1843 Whittier poem: Massachusetts to Virginia (in reference to George Latimer, alleged fugitive slave) “The fishing smacks of Marblehead, the sea-boats of Cape Ann…”  Woodie Guthrie 1958 This Land is Your Land feels like a 20th Century connection.

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Thank you, Rockport!

I mean seriously.  If you want to have warm fuzzies about the town that you live in, move to Rockport and Trick-or-Treat along Main Street and down on Bearskin Neck.

That’s exactly what we did yesterday afternoon.  From 4:00 -6:00 shop owners opened their doors to trick-or-treaters and the town was hopping.  While my boys go to school out of town, they are blessed to have friends from the neighborhood, from soccer, from baseball, from sailing, from hockey, and even some from school that they’ve met while growing up in what we’ve always referred to as “God’s Country.”   It was so fun watching the boys chit-chat with friends from all different corners of their lives while strolling along downtown.

Take a lovely fall afternoon (well, at least until the rain came), adorable children in Halloween costumes, gracious shop owners/employees, friendly faces, some good laughs, and one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world….and you get Halloween on the Neck.  Throw in dinner at Top Dog….and it doesn’t get any better.

So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who made it possible to create such fun memories for so many children.

Here are just a few photos….including my own little Adam Levine from Maroon 5.  He kills me.

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LIVE FROM EAST GLOUCESTER!

Love our East Gloucester Gang!

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Mandy aka Geoff!

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Pilar!

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Mandy, Dawn, and Michelle!

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

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thoughts For halloween From Steven Winslow- Children’s graves At The Calvary Cemetery

Children's area..

Steven writes-

Thought of you when I saw this.. held it until Halloween..

October flowers: On a recent October Day, I rode into the Calvary Cemetery to find a spot to have lunch.. Tried to find a place somewhat away from people visiting grave markers. As soon as I sat down, a man pulled up in a pick-up truck to water the grave of his brother (?) who had died in January. I commented that it was nice to see the flowers growing. To give him a quiet moment, I focused on the graves immediately in front of me and noticed that the grave stones were shaped like hearts or were topped with angel statues. When the man drove away, I went down and observed that those hearts and angels marked the graves of 30+ children who had died ~ prior to WW II (1940’s). Some had just lived weeks, other a few years.. Despite the short duration of their lives and the long passage of time, there were many that still had fresh flowers.. One was even decorated for Halloween.. I thought how part of grieving reflects back on the living, the need to remember is also to remember parts of ourselves that has been lost.. and that Halloween helps our children face the darkness of death so they can better learn to live..

Have a great Halloween all.. and remember it takes 1 minutes to burn of each M&M.. so go easy on the candy!!

Stephen Winslow

Mass in Motion – Cape Ann

Gloucester MA 01930

Decorative Halloween Wreath Craft Project!

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Halloween Wreath

Are looking for something to do with the kids/grandkids this weekend? Try this Last Minute Halloween Craft. It’s fun for all ages!

Supplies

1  14 inch metal wreath form with 4 dividing sections

8 large black trash bags

1/4 Yellow plastic table cloth

1/4 Orange plastic table cloth

1 Festive bow

1 -3 sequence embellishments

1 twelve inch length thin craft wire

Step-by-Step

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1  Cut trash bag in half length wise; place one half ontop of other; fold in half again; cut; fold in half again and cut, fold and cut one last time making eight 15×17 pieces; repeat with remaining 7 bags (64 pieces)

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2 Cut each plastic table cloth section into five 15×17 inch pieces( 5 of each color)

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3  Tie 8 black pieces in a single knot, one at a time, to the inside ring; repeat this step, until all 4 inside sections are completed

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4  Tie 8 black pieces to each outside ring section

3  Tie orange and yellow pieces evenly spaced around wreath; fluff and open all pieces

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4   Using craft wire secure festive bow, and sequence embellishments

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Last night we celebrated Joey’s Birthday and look who stopped by…

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Happy Halloween Lets Go Red Sox!

Treat or Treat on Main Street Saturday, 4:00- 6:00

From our friend Patty at Premier Imprints. 

We have 24 shops participating in the Main Street Trick or Treat.  See you down on Main Street.  Make sure you dress up.

Harbor Cove Dental

TBT Post

Pisces

Pop Gallery

Premier Imprints

Cafe Bishco

Cafe Sicilia

Cape Ann Olive Oil

The Bookstore

Mark Adrian

Kids Unlimited

The Raven

The Weathervane

Floating Lotus

Toodeloos! and Island Art

Village Silversmith

Main St. Arts & Antiques

Harbor Goods

Fireflies

Estate Buyers

Headlines

Larsen’s

The Cave

Blue River Diamond

October 31, 2014 Thomas the Tank Engine

Pumpkin Caramel Halloween Cookie Bark

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Pumpkin Caramel Halloween Bark

It’s no secret to my friends and family that Halloween is one of my most favorite holidays. As soon as my twins were old enough to sit up in their highchairs I had them cooking and crafting for Halloween. Each year our activities grew grander and our creativity in the kitchen did too! A few years ago I combined two of our all time favorite recipes, Pumpkin Caramel and Chocolate Cookie Bark together and confected this almost to pretty to eat Halloween treat! I promise you won’t be disappointed and either will the Ghosts and Goblins in your life!

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Nichole’s Picks 10/24 + 10/25

Pick #1  33rd Annual Essex ClamFest

Because it is New England, you can go from candy apple eating and cider drinking at the Rockport HarvestFest…right to ClamFest the very next weekend.  Life is good.

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Check out the link below for all of the important information

http://web.capeannchamber.com/events/33rd-Annual-Essex-ClamFest-2145/details

The highlight of the day is the Chowder Competition among area restaurants- the prize? Bragging rights for the year!

Entrants’ chowder is judged by a panel of locals and professional Judges, as well as a Popular vote by the people sampling the chowders.

Supplementing the Chowder event, is a variety of vendors – food, local arts and crafts people , all day entertainment, children’s activities , non-profits fundraising and information and Police and Fire Department Safety activities.  The local Board of Health also runs a flu shop clinic on the grounds.

Pick #2  

Halloween Happenings at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

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Click HERE for full event details and to register!

At sundown this Halloween season, Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary will be transformed into a magical forest. Join us for a guided walk along our Halloween trail, home to some interesting creatures that come out just for Halloween. Glowing luminaries and carved jack o’lanterns will light our way. Learn firsthand about the creatures of the night on this fun family-friendly walk.

Pick #3  

Tide of Planktonstein at Maritime Gloucester

Head HERE for event details!  

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Pick #4  

 Explore a Local Corn Maze

Both Connors Farm in Danvers and Marini Farm in Ipswich are home to some pretty cool corn mazes that are fun for groups of friends or families during the fall months.  Both locations, likewise, have many other fun activities too!

CONNORS FARM

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MARINI FARM

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As always for a much more comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid.

Just One Look…

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Yesterday, as I was doing some framing in the gallery, I saw a great picture across the street. I went outside with my rollator and yelled: “Hey skeleton dog!” Jen Greeke of Gloucester and her dog Mona crossed the street and we took a photo. Jen has started her own fashion design company: harpyfashion.com. Sometimes it only takes one look, and I know there’s a good photo to be captured.

Dare I? Oh Why Not!

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Halloween morning I dressed in jeans, a heavy long sleeve shirt with black and white stripes, a watch jacket, and outrageous pirate hat. All of these items came from Bananas, a vintage clothing store on Main Street. Captain Fred’s first adventure of the day was a medical appointment at Addison gilbert Hospital. As I got off the bus, I almost chickened out with the hat, but decided to just suck it in and go for it.

I got a lot of attention walking through the lobby, down the hall, and in the elevator. Everyone who passed by smiled, and most said “Happy Halloween” or “Trick or Treat.” Once on the fourth floor, oncology, I was greeted by a witch, and signed in by a Thing with blue hair. I had found kindred spirits on my favorite floor. Of course, we had to take a photo. Nurse Kristen is the witch on my right, and Myriah, of departmental administration, is the Thing on my left. Whether Witch or Thing, they are great people providing exceptional care to me and all of their patients.

Zombie Blowout and Costume Contest Halloween night @ The Rhumb Line with Just Like Newman ~ Friday at 8:30pm – 12:30am

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Help out while having fun. In light of this weeks terrible fire in Magnolia, Just Like Newman would like to ask friends to come to the Halloween party this Friday night with a couple of extra dollars or perhaps a gift card to Marshalls, Market Basket, CVS or another local business that we can donate to the victims of the fire. We’ll put out a bucket to collect everything and 100% will go directly to the victims… Don’t forget to wear your costume!

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