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Published: June 10th 2014
My step-father Ned drove us to Lynn, Massachusetts on Saturday, where we picked up my eldest "little brother" (a year younger than me) from the sheltered living situation where he resides due to mental illness. He was in the military and is eligible for this great program due to his service. We all had lunch at a nearby waterfront restaurant, where we were joined by David, one of my step-brothers.
Later that afternoon, we traveled north-west to Rockport, Massachusetts on Cape Ann, to spent a few days with an old friend from my Paris days, Susan. Those of you followed the recent Mexico blogs, might remember that we got together for the first time in 35 years in Puerto Vallarta this winter. Susan's family has a long history in the area, and her two daughters now live back town. I taught Kristen, the youngest, in Paris! We had a wonderful dinner on Susan's deck with the whole family...shrimp tacos, guitar playing, and good conversation...
On Sunday, Bill and I went to the beach across the street, where I ran and then swam in the 55 degree water.....After taking a warm outdoor shower, surrounded by woods, we drove up the
hill behind Susan's place (built by her great-grandfather) to look at the home Kristen and her partner John are building.
Next we drove through a very busy (many tourists there with the good weather) Rockport and on to Gloucester (founded 1632), along the coast. All these communities were deeply connected to fishing and ship building, and some have seen the beginnings of other industries: Birdseye Frozen Foods began in Gloucester, for example.
In Gloucester we visited the well-known Fishermen's Memorial. The first dozen plaques covered the deaths from the early 1700s to 1917. The last plaque listed the deaths from 1917 to present. What a difference weather forecasting has made! The crew that was lost in "The Perfect Storm" were from Gloucester, and Susan watched some of the filming of the movie and even got a photo with George Clooney...
"The town was an important shipbuilding
center, and the first schooner
was reputedly built there in 1713. The community developed into an important fishing port, largely due to its proximity to Georges Bank
and other fishing banks
off the east coast of Nova Scotia
. Gloucester's most famous (and nationally recognized) seafood business was founded in 1849 as John Pew
& Sons. It became Gorton-Pew Fisheries in 1906, and in 1957 changed its name to Gorton's of Gloucester
. The iconic image of the "Gorton's Fisherman", and the products he represents, are known throughout the country and beyond. Besides catching and processing seafood, Gloucester is also a center for fish research.
In the late 19th century Gloucester saw an influx of Portuguese
immigrants seeking work in the town's flourishing fishing industry and a better life in America. Some present-day fishermen of Gloucester are descendents of these early immigrants. The strong Portuguese and Italian influence is evident in the many festivals celebrated throughout the year. During the Catholic celebration, St Peter's Fiesta, relatives of fishermen past and present carry oars representing many of the fishing vessels which call Gloucester their home. Saint Peter
is the patron saint
of the fishermen.
Seafaring and fishing have been, and still are, very dangerous undertakings. In its over 350-year history, Gloucester has lost over 10,000 men to the Atlantic Ocean. The names of each of the known lost are painted on a huge mural in the main staircase at City Hall, and also on a new memorial cenotaph
on Stacy Boulevard. The list has continued to
lengthen despite increased safety requirements." (Wikipedia)
After a late lunch on a waterfront deck, we headed home for a nap....that night, Mom and Ned drove to Newton (outside of Boston) to attend my step-brother David's concert, and Bill and stayed home with Susan to watch basketball.
On Monday, Bill and I explored some of the beautiful old neighborhoods near Susan's home, and Mom and Ned took a walk down the beach. After breakfast and packing, we all went back into the town of Rockport (which had been too crowded yesterday to find parking). We strolled, looked into art galleries, listened to local history recounted by Susan (who is related to half of Rockport, I believe...!), and ate lunch at a seafood market that has been in operation since 1917...We dropped Susan back at her house, loaded up the Prius, and headed west for the Hartford area. Bill and I are spending the night in a hotel near the airport, and flying home in the early hours tomorrow....The end to a very lovely trip!
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