My dog Nina waiting patiently in the car for me. The Beverly Public Library is reflected in the window, and the Beverly Common looks beautiful in the rain on the other side of the street.
Yesterday was a fine spring day, and I finally stopped at Ell Pond Park and took a few photographs. I have driven past this park many times over the years, but have never stopped because I was always in a hurry or too tired, or it was too hot or too cold or too rainy, or I didn’t have my camera with me. There are a lot of places like this in the area that I somehow have never gotten around to photographing — I think I need to make a list of them and then one fine day go do them all.
I’m glad I finally stopped at Ell Pond Park — it was lovely.
132 Main Street
National Register of Historic Places #73000853
Every year there’s a week or two when there are blossoms on some trees and tiny pale green leaves on others, and there’s forsythia everywhere, just outrageously yellow. And then the season moves forward, all the trees are covered with dark green leaves, and the forsythia seems to disappear when it turns into green leafy shrubbery. When their brief bright season is over, I can’t identify forsythia by sight, and I don’t really remember which trees in my area are the kind that blossom.
And then all of a sudden, it’s April and I’m surprised and delighted by the amazing display!
“When I watch the footage of the first explosion, I look at the Boston Public Library Main Branch across the street, and I think no matter who they turn out to be–Islamic jihadists, home grown militia, neo-Nazis, something else — what really scares them, what they truly hate, is the access to knowledge that building exemplifies.”
In our games, Annette was the popular girl who kept getting all of the good dancing and singing parts because Master of Ceremonies Jimmie Dodd liked her best. It was always just the two of us playing, so all the other characters were always offstage, so to speak. Our games always opened with one of us pretending to run into our dressing room, saying something like You’ll never guess what Annette just said!
Our stories usually had the same plot: Darlene would finally get a chance to star in a big musical number because Jimmie suddenly realize that she was a better singer and dancer than Annette. (Or sometimes because Annette broke her leg or something.) My role as Doreen was to be Darlene’s sidekick and backup singer, and to say things like Oh, Darlene, you’re way more talented than Annette and way less show-offy! Darlene would have moments of triumph but then somehow Annette would be back on top, so in the next episode Darlene would once again start as the plucky underdog.
We played this off and on for a year or more. It was an adaptable game — sometimes we played for an hour or two, with a lot of singing and dancing. Sometimes we’d just slip into dialogue for a few minutes, more like a private joke than a game. We usually played at home, but sometimes on car trips we’d whisper back and forth to each other, pretending to be on the Mouseketeer bus on our way to a special audition. We’d put the game aside for month or more and I’d think it was all over, and then one day my sister would look at me and say something like Annette is getting a special dressing room with her own swimming pool! and off we’d go.
Annette Funicello died today, and now I feel a little guilty because of the role we always gave her in our games. Through the last several years, I have read and seen reports on her declining health and she seemed to live with grace and courage. Rest in Peace, Annette, and I’m sorry I called you “show-offy” so many times. You couldn’t help being the star of the show.
I have always liked the big blue sign at the Beverly YMCA. I like bulb signs, and you don’t see too many around anymore. And I liked the color — blue is my favorite color, and blue seemed like an appropriate color for this location which is just a few blocks from the shore.
Somehow in all the years that I have lived here, and with all the time I spend right in this neighborhood, I never got around to photographing it until last August. I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer, because the next time I was there a week or so later the sign was gone, sent off for a much-needed restoration, as I learned from this article:
Give me a Y…Century-old Beverly sign getting back in shape by Paul Leighton, Salem News, August 15, 2012
According the article, Jess Hanson of Star Sign Company was originally planning to scrape the sign down and repaint it, but he discovered that underneath all the paint was the original cobalt blue porcelain, which he could restore.
The new sign went up a few months ago. I love old porcelain panels because they remind me of old diner exteriors and my grandfather’s kitchen table. I love cobalt blue because it reminds me of old Evening in Paris bottles, which I considered to be the height of elegance when I was a child.
You’ll notice that most of the things I like are because they remind me of something. But one of the good things about getting old is that practically everything reminds me of something.
This brick building on Pleasant Street in downtown Malden, Massachusetts, has ghost signs on both sides, reading: Buy Your Stoves and Ranges at Black’s Furniture… I have always loved ghost signs — when I was a child they seemed like secret messages from the past. I was glad that I was there at this time of year. There are lots of branches by the signs on either side of the building, and I think it would be hard to get a picture of as much of the sign when there are leaves on the trees.
I found a postcard mailed in 1907 showing the store on CardCow.
Converse Memorial Library Building
Malden Public Library
36 Salem Street
Elisha S. and Mary D. Converse hired renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson to design the original building and museum in memory of their murdered son, Frank Eugene Converse by renowned American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Young Converse was a seventeen year old teller at his father’s bank who became the victim of the first bank robbery/murder in the United States.
Nomination Form — National Register of Historic Places
I remember being deeply affected reading “Things Fall Apart,” “No Longer at Ease” and “Arrow of God.” I remember reading these as paperbacks on #30 bus home to my Columbus Park neighborhood from downtown Worcester, and having the delicious feeling of being worlds away from my everyday life. These books made me feel intelligent and empathetic. I felt like I understood Africa. I felt old and wise. But, in the words of Bob Dylan, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”
I still think of Achebe as “one of my favorite authors” but I must admit I can’t remember anything specific about any of the books. This happens to me a lot now — many books that I remember as my favorites have faded in my memory so I no longer remember them, and when I reread them, I often find they aren’t anything like what I remember.
I’m sorry to hear of Chinua Achebe’s passing the way you regret the loss of a friend when you drifted apart years ago. Fortunately, I can reread his books to renew our acquaintance, and that’s just what I am going to do.
‘Things Fall Apart’ author Chinua Achebe dies at 82 — By Laura Smith-Spark and Faith Karimi, CNN