Beautiful fall morning. I like how the sand fills in the boardwalk come October
Beautiful fall morning. I like how the sand fills in the boardwalk come October
Barry Pett shares that the response for requests for assistance with the Schooner Festival/Labor Day Weekend fireworks show has been tremendous. He gives a heartfelt thanks to everyone for their contributions. He’d also like folks to be aware that the City contributes greatly, with support from Mayor Romeo Theken’s administration, the Police and Fire Departments, and the DPW.
Barry provided some history about the fireworks, which have been annually displayed from Stage Fort Park since at least 1880. This beautifully poetic Winslow Homer watercolor titled Sailboat and Fourth of July Fireworks, dated July 4th, 1880, was painted during the year that Homer lived on Ten Pound Island. Unfortunately, the painting is currently hidden away in storage at the Fogg Art Museum. It is Barry’s hope that for Gloucester’s quadricentennial the painting will travel to Gloucester and be displayed at the Cape Ann Museum.
Barry Pett has been creating Gloucester’s fireworks shows for over twenty five years.
Winslow Homer: Poet of the Sea
Sign up for $100 per week blocks of morning lessons. Sail GHS leaves from Maritime Gloucester, Monday – Friday, from 8AM-11-11:30ish AM. The program targets middle schoolers through high school age. Participants should be able to swim, wear closed toe footwear, sunscreen, and bring a water.
Rob Bent provided the distinctive t-shirts. They’re ‘foresail’ $15 to help fund the Sail GHS program. Does anyone have a photograph of the sail club from the Horribles parade for them to replace this one?
Thanks to Sail GHS board member Hilary Frye and congratulations on her new book of poetry!
YMCA sailing (see prior post)
Annisquam Yacht Club junior sailing
Eastern Point junior sailing
Deborah Cramer thanks Good Morning Gloucester for mentioning her book and asks for photographs and stories about horseshoe crabs, otherwise known as the nearly scene stealing co-stars from her inspiring book on sandpipers, The Narrow Edge.
We do. Please send in photos or stories if you have them about horseshoe crabs in Gloucester or the North Shore for Deborah Cramer’s project. Write in comments below and/or email email@example.com
Here’s one data point. Look closely at this 1869 Winslow Homer painting. Can you spot the horseshoe crabs? Can you identify the rocks and beach?
While reading The Narrow Edge, and looking at Kim Smith’s Piping Plover photographs, I thought about Raid on a Sand Swallow Colony (How Many Eggs?) 1873 by Homer and how some things change while much remains the same.When my sons were little, they were thrilled with the first 1/3 or so of Swiss Family Robinson. As taken as they were with the family’s ingenuity, adventure, and tree house–they recoiled as page after page described a gorgeous new bird, promptly shot. They wouldn’t go for disturbing eggs in a wild habitat. The title ascribed to this Homer, perhaps the eager query from the clambering youngest boy, feels timeless. Was the boys’ precarious gathering sport, study, or food? What was common practice with swallows’ eggs in the 1860s and 70s? Homer’s birds are diminutive and active, but imprecise. Homer sometimes combined place, figures, subject and themes. One thing is clear: the composition, line and shadow are primed and effective for an engraving.
Harper’s Weekly published the image on June 13, 1875. Artists often drew directly on the edge grain of boxwood and a master engraver (Lagrade in this case) removed the wood from pencil and wash lines.
2016. Wingaersheek dunes and nests 140+ years later.
Besides Homer, Deborah’s book had me thinking about Chris Leahy, where I first heard about the history of Ma Audubon and our state’s bragging rights. It had me dig out photographs of a visit to Harvard where reproductions of the dodo and auk skeletons made us as sad as Swiss Family Robinson, and to wonder about Deborah Dickson’s documentary on sculptor Todd McGrain, which I haven’t seen yet.
“Gone and nearly forgotten in extinction, the Labrador Duck, the Great Auk, the Heath Hen, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Passenger Pigeon leave holes not just in the North American landscape but in our collective memories. Moved by their stories, sculptor Todd McGrain set out to create memorials to the lost birds—to bring their vanished forms back into the world.”
I must thank Deborah Cramer for another Gloucester prompt. Last year while visiting Mass Moca for business, I happened upon the ECLIPSE exhibit by Elizabeth Kolbert, the New Yorker writer, in collaboration with the duo, Sayler/Morris. It was a gorgeous, elegiac passenger pigeon multi-media tribute. Coincidentally it was Earth Day. I immediately wrote John Bell, because he had spoken with me about Gloucester’s Cher Ami, which I promised to write about.
For more on Deborah Cramer, and to listen to her being interviewed by Meghna Chakrabarti, please continue:
A small selection of images and words about and by fathers, with Gloucester ties. What would you add? Happy Father’s Day!
They took my father’s father from the mines
and laid him, broken, on the kitchen table,
the wake singers lifting their lines
above the water heater he had often mended.
My father always dreamed of him alive,
able to whittle an oak peg for every split thing.
all my father lost at the age of nine
enclosed his life, his air.
In my flood dream, I carry my father
piggyback–easier than a kid’s coffin–
to safety from the Susquehanna River
as light as a dollhouse, now, or violin.
–Joseph Featherstone, from his book of poems, Brace’s Cove
To be seven when a brother dies–
to have shared a room.
Her silence frightened us.
One night she rose from the table
and climbed to the top of the stairs.
We heard the small voice
singing each of the songs
from the funeral service.
The next morning in school
she announced to her class,
“I am ready for questions now.”
by Joseph Featherstone, from Brace’s Cove
full title for the Gordon Parks photograph above: “Frank Domingos kissing a vessel representing remains of a saint, during ceremonies at his father’s home, part of the tri-annual fiesta of Pentacost. The celebration–including the chosing of an Imperator, and visiting, eating, drinking, and worship in the home, culminates in a parade and blessing by the priest–originated with ancient Portugeese fisherman, drought-stricken, who prayed for assistance and received it.”
Captain’s Courageous was published in 1897. “During the winter of 1897-98 I made another trip to South Africa, and on the same boat with me were Rudyard Kipling (Rudyard was named after a place where his father and mother first met), his wife, and his father, Lockwood Kipling, the artist. They proved excellent traveling companions and we have maintained our friendly contact ever sense.” – John Hays Hammond
The Kiplings collaborated: the artist John Lockwood Kipling illustrated many of his sons’ books.
Hunt purchased a former barn and adjoining carpenter’s shop in Magnolia. “…in three weeks the old, unsightly buildings were converted into a picturesque structure with galleries on the outside, one of them ending in a seat in an old willow-tree. The carpenter shop was turned into a studio, the chief light coming from the wide-open door…The barn was two stories in height, the lower portion being occupied by the van, a phaeton and a dog-cart, as well as by stalls for two or three horses. The upper room was known as the “barracks”, and half a dozen cot-beds were arranged around the sides, as seats by day and beds by night…In a single afternoon his celebrated Gloucester Harbor was painted, and he returned to Magnolia aglow with enthusiasm. “I believe,” he exclaimed, “that I have painted a picture with light in it!…Go out into the sunshine, and try to get some of its color and light. Then come back here, and see how black we are all painting!”
Lee Kingman, Peter’s Pony, 1963, with illustrations by Fen Lasell
Winslow Homer captures the waiting and watching experienced by so many families in Gloucester. Homer’s father, Charles Savage Homer, left for extended start-ups: to California for gold, to Europe. Winslow Homer’s mother was a professional and gifted artist who raised three stellar boys solo, a lot. The Homer family remained tight knit.
Friday Nights at the A&P
By Ruthanne “Rufus” Collinson
When I was a kid
there were Friday nights to get lost in.
There was Mama
to take me shopping,
the smell of outdoors on her wool coat.
There was the A&P on Main Street,
the long spread out time
to wander the rolling floors
and smell the oranges and the coffee grinding.
There was no talking with Mama and me
She chose the food and I thought,
the long time of thinking away from Mama
in the A&P.
I watched the women
with heavy faces and deep frowns
weighing out their fruits
I thought about how bad they looked,
but I knew they didn’t want to die
because of the way they cared
about stacking the apples.
Sometimes I lost Mama and her sadness
but she would find me and take me
to the check out
where I picked up Daddy’s Pall Malls
and then stayed close to her wide sleeve
as we carried our lumpy brown bags
past Paul T. Reddy’s Dancing School.
I heard people dancing upstairs
Shadows in the window suggested music
and the end of time laid out like that.
(EDITOR’S NOTE) Mayor Romeo Thekan has called a meeting in her office on March 24th, from 5pm to 6pm, to discuss Ten Pound Island. Everyone is welcome.
Ten Pound Island with fish and lobster hatchery, air station, lighthouse, keeper’s house, and oil house. Photo submitted by Toby Pett.
After reading the Gloucester Daily Times’s article about the city’s Recreational Boating Committee’s recommendations on how better to serve boaters, I have been looking at old photos and reading about Ten Pound Island. This tiny island located at the eastern end of Gloucester Harbor has a storied and fascinating history. The timeline (see below) was created to help give an overview.
The following is the part of the article that caught my attention:“Perhaps the most innovative idea in the report is to consider creating a community boat house — possibly similar to the house boats moored along the Annisquam River — and a dock upon Ten Pound Island that could host the Gloucester High School and YMCA community sailing and boating skills programs, as well as other public programs and access for rowing and kayaking.”
I am looking forward to learning more about the possibilities for Ten Pound Island and trust that our Mayor and community leaders will do a thoughtful study to create a comprehensive plan on how to co-exist with the birds that breed and nest on the Island. In our region, we have so many great examples to follow on ways to manage land for wildlife; two that come to mind immediately are the Plum Island Piping Plovers and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
I think it important our community understand that more than likely, the vegetation found growing on Ten Pound is in a transitory state and that over time, if left to naturalize, will become a forest. The shrubs and brushy growth, so ideal for nesting birds, will eventually give way to hardwood trees, which may not be the best habitat for shore birds.
There is the hope that developing trails and managing the island flora will create an even better and more permanent sanctuary for our cherished wildlife. Today the Island is only accessible to private boaters. If a community dock were built at the site of the preexisting dock and trails were created and well maintained, just imagine the enjoyment and educational experiences Ten Pound Island could provide for all.
1644 Early settlers graze rams on the Island.
1817 Mariner Amos Story famously reports seeing a sea serpent (along with many others) near the Island. See account below.
1821 Ten Pound Island Lighthouse Station is established to safely guide mariners through Gloucester’s Inner Harbor.
1833-1849 Amos Story serves as Ten Pound Island Lighthouse Keeper.
1880 Winslow Homer stays with the lighthouse keeper during the summer creating over 50 watercolor paintings.
1881 Present conical cast iron tower, lined with brick, replaces original stone tower. Wooden keepers house is constructed.
1889 U.S. Fish and lobster hatchery is established.
1925 U.S. Coast Guard establishes first in the country air station, primarily to capture rumrunners during Prohibition.
1940 Lighthouse keeper’s wife Evelyn Hopkins honors Edward Snow, the Flying Santa who dropped Christmas presents from a plane for lighthouse keepers’ children, by nailing “Merry Christmas” boldly in newspaper, which could be read from the sky.
1954 Fish hatchery abandoned.
1956 Ten Pound island Light Station is decommissioned and replaced by a modern optic. The original fresnel lens is on display at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland.
1965 Keepers dwelling razed.
1988 The Lighthouse Preservation Society initiates restoration of Ten Pound Island Light.
1989 A modern optic was installed atop the tower and relit as a Federal aid to navigation.
1995 The oil house is restored.
1996 -1997 (*Possibly longer, checking dates) Shuttle to and from the Island is provided by the Gloucester Harbor Shuttle.
Currently, Ten Pound Island serves as an active aid to navigation.
“Merry Christmas” written with newspaper hammered to the ground
* * *
Amos Story sea serpent sighting account: “It was between the hours of twelve and one o’clock when I first saw him and he continued in sight for an hour and a half. I was setting on the shore, and was about twenty rods [330 feet] from him when he was nearest to me. His head appeared shaped much like that of the sea turtle, and he carried his head from ten to twelve inches above the surface of the water. His head at that distance appeared larger than the head of any dog I ever saw. From the back of his head to the next part of him that was visible, I should judge to be three or four feet. He moved very rapidly through the water. I should say a mile in two, or, at most, in three minutes. I saw no bunches on his back. On this day, I did not see more than ten or twelve feet of his body.”
In a separate sighting, Story’s wife, “a woman held in high esteem for her veracity” noted through a telescope what at first she believed to be a log that had washed ashore, until it moved, that is. Throughout the month, more and more witnesses told similar stories of a sleek brown serpent-like creature in Gloucester Harbor.
More Photos Here Read more
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Thanks to my friend Cathy who shared this beautiful Celtic blessing yesterday in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day.
Image courtesy wikicommons media.
Cat Ryan submits-
Art Everywhere Billboards opens across the country today. Here’s a link to the interactive map of locations http://arteverywhereus.org/Map
For GLOUCESTER, MA there’s a mash up poster for the entire Art Everywhere exhibit, rather than a single image. You can see it at 551-553 Washington Street Gloucester. Look for Homer’s Breezing Up on the 93 expressway by Dorchester.
The Fitz Hugh Lane’s Boston Harbor is in two locations, one near Westborough, the other one along 495 near Wrentham/Plainview/Foxbourough.
Salem State College has the Hassam. Boston is the location of the Heade Giant Magnolias.
This young artist of the week is a very talented boy named Jason who painted this interpretation of Winslow Homer’s Two Men in a Canoe on a toolbox that he built himself. Jason picked out this painting himself and, I think, did a beautiful job of making it his own. What a cool piece of artwork for him to have and use for a long time!
If you know of a young artist that should be featured here, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a short description and a photo of some of their work!
Rubber Duck likes the use of yellow.
My man, Winslow!
Didn’t know you could knit those …
Then lunch in the atrium of the new wing. Thankfully, no duck on the menu.