Folks who read The Newburyport Blog love old postcards. Here’s one of Newburyport’s Market Square, with the trolley, the old firehouse that is now the Firehouse Center for the Arts, is in the background (press image to enlarge).
I remember exactly where I was on 9/11, just like everyone else in America.
It was a bluebird day, much like today, and I was walking on my way to vote, it was voting day, when I met someone I knew on talking on their cell phone looking perplexed and confused and shaking their head. And then I remember walking down to the Tannery to pick something up, and everyone in the shop being completely silent, everyone was looking straight ahead and not saying a word.
It wasn’t until I got back home to my studio that I found out what was happening and then watching on TV seeing the unthinkable. New York City is where I was born and raised, seeing the collapse and the lower part of Manhattan being engulfed. Luckily my family was located. It was 3 months before I could semi function after that. The country was utterly traumatized.
I always have thought as an artist, that subconsciously painters and other people in the arts work through traumas, and it wasn’t until after I painted a series of paintings, that I realized that they were about 9/11. The 2 paintings here are 2 of what turned out to be a series. 2 fence posts, or columns, reminiscent of the twin towers, with life growing between them, showed up over and over in the paintings that I did in the years that followed, as America recovered from the anguish of that day, and started to bloom once more.
These roses and fences were found and can still be found in the South End of Newburyport, in Newburyport’s Historic District.
This is worth watching, really. A friend of mine sometimes says to me that what I need to do is, “get some gratitude in my attitude,” when I have what I sometimes call “that little itty bitty shitty committee” in my head.
That’s sort of what this is like (and I usually hate things like this), but actually, really and truly, it’s scientifically proven, you betcha, really.
I “discovered” this fellow, Shawn Achor, and “The Happiness Advantage”, while channel surfing on PBS last night. And it sounds like PBS will feature it lots more.
So I tried some of the recommendation today and came up with 3 things that I was grateful for, (not hard), smiled at least three times (not hard), and was nice to the Blue Cross Blue Shield person on the phone, and the person at the bank.
I figure in this wild partisan world if I smiled at people on my walk (this is just NOT done where I come from, New York City, and New England, well, we’re not on the whole, exactly too warm and fuzzy), maybe this guy might be right, maybe it could have a ripple effect.
Worth watching - the 12 minute version.
The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor (Press image to start).
Newburyport preservation quotes:
“There may have been a time when preservation was about saving an old building here and there, but those days are gone. Preservation is in the business of saving communities and the values they embody.”
—Richard Moe, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Maybe my hyperventilating over Governor Romney’s running mate (see previous post), Tea Party darling, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh endorsed, Paul Ryan, has something to do with my first-hand local experience with the “slash and burn,” “take no prisoners,” “malign all opposed” politics of the folks who do not want to preserve Newburyport’s historic assets, the proposed Local Historic District (LHD), led by a member of Newburyport’s very own Tea Party, and I gather fan of the John Birch Society.
On my walk around Newburyport this weekend, I ran into a friend who wanted to know what I thought of the article in the Boston Globe about the progress of Newburyport’s Local Historic District’s (LHD), and the LHD’s slow winding path getting to the Newburyport City Council. And in the course of our conversation, I said something to the effect that, “People wonder why, at this point, I’m not doing more.” The response was, “Well, you got the shit kicked out of your, everyone knows that.” For which the person got a hug.
Fox News Opinion on the web has a piece called, “America’s coming civil war - makers vs takers,” predictably the wealthy, the makers, pitted against everyone from seniors, to folks who need help with student loans to go to college.
Our local “Say No to LHD” folks definitely feel like that same strident, militant mindset… heck, it is that same militant mindset. The LHD, in their minds, equals “social engineering,” yes, this is true (I hate to even link to the actual factual proof, because it gives the John Birch Society such pleasure. How do I know that, because that particular post went viral, via the John Birch Society’s Facebook page - I wish I was kidding).
Yes, and anonymous townies, threatened by “newcomers,” joined in the fray (and townies who no longer live here, or live/visit here periodically). But it is our own John Birch tea party folks who are still willing, if not proud, to give their names to the cause of stridently and militantly destroying Newburyport’s hope of having a Local Historic District. (They also, as I understand it, complain loudly to their city councilors, the mayor, the press, when a pro-LHD human being loses it, the person in question, I believe, has been identified.)
Do I have first hand experience with the hatred of the ideological Right? Yes. Do I know that they will deliver on their promise? Yes. Does that make me worry about Governor Romney’s pick for Vice President, that it isn’t all fluffy talk, that delivery of this far right ideology is very real? Yes, you betcha.
Ever since Governor Romney announced his VP pick, (late Friday night during the Olympics??) Paul Ryan, I’ve been hyperventilating. Really (unfortunately).
The issue, Medicare. If Romney/Ryan squeak by in November, I’d squeak by under their Medicare radar before it turns into a voucher payment plan, but I’m still hyperventilating. Why? I’ve paid my own health care cost as an artist from way back in the dark ages (”in the day,” maybe not quite that long), and to say I don’t trust the healthcare private insurance folks to do anything but look after their bottom line, without state and federal regulation, would be a vast, vast understatement.
(In 1990, I paid $340 a month for my son and myself, for GREAT health insurance. Today, here in Massachusetts, that kind of health insurance that we had, doesn’t exist for any price (that I know of). Something similar, but not really, would go for $2,165 (a month). For a family $3,545 (a month). In New York State for a parent and child, a similar, but not really, insurance exists for $3,176 (a month). For a family, it’s a whopping $5,294. How about those apples? And people think Massachusetts is bad!)
As an artist, I’ve been waiting for the day when I am relieved of the onerous burden of crazy individual $1,000 a month and rising health insurance premiums (and that’s cheap compared to a state like New York State, demonstration above), and having an offspring that has fallen right next to the preverbial artistic tree, I’ve always wanted that for him and his family as well - some sort of safety net, you betch’a.
Private Health insurance industry to regulate itself, no, no, no - dream land.
Medicare vouchers to keep up with health insurance cost, please, dream on.
That’s my main hyperventilation. But the other, Mitt Romney was an old fashion Republican moderate in Massachusetts (I know, I know, you know). But with Paul Ryan, darling of the hijacked Tea Party, as his running mate, has he sold his soul? or was he lying way back “in the day?” Not good either way. To have someone so ideologically extreme on the ticket, unsettling and telling.
“…the only way for Ryan’s numbers to work would be to effectively eliminate nearly all non-defense discretionary spending, including not just much of the social safety net but infrastructure spending, R. & D. investment, federal support for education, air-traffic control, regulatory and public safety spending, and so on (editor’s note, moi - let’s not forget NPR and The National Endowment for the Arts). This would be, needless to say, a radical remaking of the federal government. …it would basically return the federal government to something like its nineteenth-century role—and early nineteenth-century at that.” The New Yorker, August 12, 2012, “Paul Ryan’s Budget Games.”
“More than three-fifths of the cuts proposed by Mr. Ryan, and eagerly accepted by the Tea Party-driven House, come from programs for low-income Americans. That means billions of dollars lost for job training for the displaced, Pell grants for students and food stamps for the hungry. These cuts are so severe that the nation’s Catholic bishops raised their voices in protest at the shredding of the nation’s moral obligations.
Mr. Ryan’s budget “will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment,” the bishops wrote in an April letter to the House. “These cuts are unjustified and wrong.”
It (the federal government) will not be there when the unemployed need job training, or when a struggling student needs help to get into college. It will not be there when a miner needs more than a hardhat for protection, or when a city is unable to replace a crumbling bridge (editor’s note, moi - or sidewalk).
And it will be silent when the elderly cannot keep up with the costs of M.R.I.’s or prescription medicines, or when the poor and uninsured become increasingly sick through lack of preventive care. New York Times, August 11, 2012, “Mr Ryan’s Cramped Vision.”
So I’m hyperventilating for my offspring and his family’s future, much less my old age, should I get to live that long, should this pair get elected in November.
“..the Ryan budget is a plan that forfeits the future and global leadership to China.” Steve Clemens, The Atlantic, August 13, 2012.
The strange story of 182 High Street.
182 High Street has been lovingly restored by its present owner. The property contains a beautiful 200+ year old carriage barn, which the owner wanted to restore in 2010. The owner jumped through many hoops, as anyone who has done such a thing knows - Zoning Board, Planning Board, Historical Commission, and just a few feet short of the finishline, withdrew the application to continue the project.
Public record shows that the boards and commissions in the city were enthusiastic about the project. Public records show that the Planning Board thanked the applicant and their team, noted the applicant’s sensitivity toward the historical nature of the property, the reduction of occupancy level and preservation of historical structures. (January 12, 2010).
In July of 2012, however, the owner chose to demolish the beautiful carriage barn at 182 High Street. A one year demo delay was imposed. Head scratching all around.
In January 2010 public record shows that the owner wanted to make every attempt to preserve and rehabilitate all the historical aspects of the carriage barn, and to ensure that it would be in keeping with the restoration that was being done on the Federal Period home.
To do what the homeowner desired from a zoning point of view, requires something called “public benefit.” The public benefit in 2010 was, without any question on anyone’s part, including the homeowner’s - historic preservation.
If the carriage barn at 182 High is indeed demolished and a new structure built in its place, the owner would still be required to show “public benefit,” as well as go through all the zoning and planning board hoops. The attorney for the owner was able to say with a straight face, that the public benefit could be affordable housing.
More head scratching all around. The stated goal in 2010 was to use the structure as a guest house for visiting family members. Affordable housing would eliminate that possibility, and affordable housing on High Street?? like having affordable housing on Park Avenue. Happy neighbors?? one wonders.
One of the ironies here is that the significantly historical house in Newbury, the Tappan House, bought for 1.6 million dollars, was demolished for a swimming pool, but the barn was kept to be made into, yup, you got it, a guest house.
The historical write-up of the 1792 home at 182 High Street can be found on the city’s website here.
“The property, built in 1810, is assessed at $810,700, according to city records. It is a Georgian-style residence with nine rooms (four bedrooms) and two fireplaces. Size of the house is 2,723 square feet, and the structure has unobstructed views of the inlet across Water Street. Several smaller buildings are also on the property…
Abutters at the commission meeting suggested that an owner could get that much or more if owners tore it down, and offered a clear lot to a buyer who might build a larger structure.
The application requests a permit for “demolition of a single-family home, garage, barn and shed…”
“Newburyport’s equivalent of the Tappan House tear-down in Newbury.” - a reference to a significant historic home in Newbury that was bought for 1.6 million dollars and demolished to build a pool (information about the former Tappan House can be read here).
The entire story in the Newburyport Daily News can be read here.
The photo of 284 Water Street is courtesy of the City of Newburyport, and the photo and historic write-up of the home can be read here.
Current photos of the property can be seen here.
And a YouTube video of 284 Water Street can be seen here.
“Sure, we can still have homeowner’s rights and the proposed LHD provides for this. But more than ever before, the City of Newburyport is under pressure to develop real estate for profit, not just for its people and the quality of life. This city has become a destination specifically because of its historical support for preservation, not despite its history.”
Peter Erickson, Newburyport Daily News, Viewpoint can be read here.
Peter Erickson is a former chair of the Newburyport Historic Commission and has lived on High Street for 24 years. Peter Erickson’s family home on High Street. Photo courtesy of the City of Newburyport which can be seen with the entire write-up about the property here (photo was taken in 1980).
In my web-searching for nothing in particular, I came across this “thing,” this amazing “thing” that I’ve never heard about before. And for folks who are looking for gluten free stuff (or just anyone), well how cool is this, a BTL bowl, a bacon bowl, a BLT without bread!!
I encountered this amazing “thing,” bacon bowl on a blog called “not martha.” And from what I can make out the idea has zipped around, (I am late to the bacon bowl world, but I bet lots of other folks may be late to the bacon bowl world too!), but it looks like, from what I can make out, it all started with Megan Reardon, or “not martha,” (not Martha Stewart??).
This is not my photo, it belongs to, and is courtesy of Megan Reardon, who lives in Seattle, and writes “not martha.” To learn how to make these amazing bacon bowl wonders press here.
George is grinning, huge wide smile, and those of you who have been readers of the Newburyport Blog for any length of time know that George is usually a glum sort of fellow, even with his passionate romance to Georgiana Tadpole (if you really would like to know about any of this frog stuff please press here).
Instead of telling the readers of the Newburyport Blog what is making George smile so hugely right off the bat (although he’s not smiling in the picture, I couldn’t get one of him smiling), I’m going to start at the beginning.
Way, way back (”in the day,” I’m not sure if it’s that far back) in 1990 I painted a whole bunch of paintings for a major New York show, oil on panel, and the panels warped (I used the wrong kind of panel - never did it again). Panic city, you betcha. I went to what was then Wendover Woodworks on Liberty Street in Newburyport, and one of the owners, Andy Willemsem saved my sorry soul by making some absolutely gorgeous frames that solved the warping problem and saved yours truly. It was then I met Andy’s partner in this wonder furniture creating place, Henry Fox.
About 15 years ago, wandering around my Newburyport neighborhood, I ran into Henry Fox, who told me the harrowing tale of his son, born 3 months early with a host of medical problems who had been saved by the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at MassGeneral in Boston, and had just been moved to one of the more local hospitals. I later shared this story with other families who had critically ill new borns, including my most wonderful neighbors, who found themselves and their newborn son also at MassGeneral. (The young man is now happily running around our neighborhood.)
Andy Willemsen moved on and Henry Fox named his wonderful furniture business after his two sons, “Fox Brothers.” (Still there on Liberty Street in Newburyport, still amazing.)
Fast forward to 2012, yesterday, a “new” or “new” to me, George and I being 5 years late to the story (not quite as bad as my late arrival to the David Sedaris planet, see earlier post, but not so good) local Newburyport blog called “Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs,” by a fifteen year old young man called Orren Fox.
I’m thinking Fox?? Fox?? Henry Fox?? The timing’s right.
And sure enough this blog is written by Henry’s son Orren, the one in intensive care 15 years ago. How cool is that, but it gets so much better.
Scrolling down the blog’s sidebar the young man has been interviewed/written up by the Huffington Post, NPR, Yankee Magazine, the Boston Globe to name a few, and has been to the White House, March 7, 2012, for “Know Your Farmer Event.”
I’m beginning to join George in grinning from ear to ear about this young chicken farmer and organic food activist.
“Margaret Mead would have loved Orren. A soulful and gifted young man who has done more to help make a positive impact by 15 than most folks do in a lifetime.” From Do Lectures.
And Orren has added bees, in “Bee Happy” - check it out here.
AND Orren has serendipitly gone into business with his brother Will (with a little help from Dad) making “FoxBoys” longboards, skateboards in the most glorious shape, a little like a boat, read and see all about them here.
And Orren Fox is so media savvy as to make grown “social media” folks weep - along with the Happy Chickens blog there are the Facebook pages that one actually enjoys looking at and reading, and twitter accounts. But it may be in the blood because his Mom, who gave birth to him all those many 15 years ago, is Libby Delana, the founding partner of Newburyport’s Mechanica, the next generation branding firm.
So if you are discouraged by the news or local or federal politics, life in general, go investigate Orren Fox, a young man who transcends the sustainable movement. It doesn’t matter if you are dark “green,” light “green,” in-between or orange; right wing, left wing, moderate or independent. When you read about this fantastic story, you like George, will be grinning from ear to ear and doing a dance in the end zone of your choice.
On Thursday June 28th, 2012 at 7:00 p.m., there will be a public informational meeting in the Firehouse Center for the Arts theatre for Phase 2 of the Clipper City Rail Trail and Harborwalk project. This is the part of the Newburyport Rail Trail that will go through the South End of Newburyport.
Here are 3 maps courtesy of the Newburyport Planning Office.
For more information on this second phase of the rail trail and to see larger version of the maps go to the City of Newburyport’s website here.
And for more information or questions Geordie Vining, in the Newburyport Planning Office, is the project manager for Phase 2 of Newburyport’s Rail Trail.
There will be a Public Hearing (this is the legally required one) on the Newburyport’s proposed Local Historic District (LHD),Thursday June 21, 2012, at 7PM at the Newburyport High School Auditorium (not City Hall).
Below is the summary of the LHD Ordinance and the LHD Ordinance updates (3rd draft, now officially called the “Preliminary Report”). Press images to enlarge.
LHD Ordinance Summary, Page 1, Excluded Items and Reviewable Items (Press image to enlarge)
LHD Ordinance Summary, Page 2, Additional Changes (Press image to enlarge)
The PDF version can be read here: 2012-public-hearing-lhd-ordinance-summary2
Or you can read the PDF version on the City of Newburyport’s website here.
This is the map of the proposed Newburyport Local Historic District (Press to enlarge). It can also be seen on the City’s website here.
Complete information on the updates on Newburyport’s proposed Local Historic District (LHD) can be read on the City’s website here.
This is a Newburyport postcard that I had never seen, clam diggers at work in the Plum Island basin. (Press image to enlarge.)
I’m liking this whole Newburyport Local Historic District (LHD) mess as a musical (see previous post).
It could open with a Tom Salemi, one of Newburyport’s esteemed bloggers, character singing a solo, “Keep it Classy” (based on Tom’s great essay, “Take the Bagels, Leave the Petition,”on Newburyport’s LHD in Newburyport Today).
The stage is dark except for Tom’s character, and then in the background, lights come up come slowly, we have two ladies in front of an establishment handing out fliers. Their musical number is called “Fines, Fines, the LHD will Bankrupt You.”
And huddled at the front of the stage are preservationists (Newburyport preservationists tend in general to be meek and mild, “fierce” is not an adjective I would give to most Newburyport preservationist. “Fierce” goes good with some of the the anti-LHD folks, but not most preservationists, so that’s why they are huddling). Lights come up slowly on them, and their musical number is, “It’s not True, It’s not True, It’s a Lie.” (Clearly this will be an ensemble piece.)
So Tom’s character is singing “Keep it Classy,” while the two anti LHD women are singing “The LHD will Bankrupt You”, and the Newburyport preservationist are singing “It’s not True, It’s a Lie.” And then everyone freezes, you know the way they do on stage.
And what I’m picturing here is having someone dressed as Mark Twain, maybe with a sign hanging across their chest so the audience will get it, walks on stage, spot light on him, everyone else is dimmed out. Doesn’t sing, just looks at the audience and says, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
The Mark Twain character walks off, and the Tom Salemi character sings one last line of “Keep it Classy?” with a question mark in his voice, and then the lights fade out on all the characters. (Irony here, how elitist!!)
First possible scene of the new possible Broadway hit, “LHD-Bombshell,” (still a working title-the “Smash” thing again, see previous post).
My lovely young theater friends in NYC hate the TV program “Smash.” (I am secretly addicted to “Smash,” don’t tell them-truly they will be offended!!)
I suppose for them it’s a little like me watching Bravo’s “Next Great Artist,” The TV show reminds me of an advanced art class in college (not even grad school). But, whatever quality the art may be, or how “unrealistic” the “reality” process may be, the press and the buzz probably helps whoever like crazy in their career, that’s just the nature of the biz, at least in my world.
So my NYC theater friends may be addicted to Bravo’s art stuff, who knows.
But thinking about “Smash,” I kept wondering, too bad someone couldn’t do something with all this Newburyport Local Historic District (LHD) drama. Historic preservation may be boring (this is certainly the first time in the 31 years I’ve been here that it’s gotten this much attention!!), but my, we’ve got a lot of great characters, on both sides, and mucho drama. A LHD sensation!!
On the pro side we have Jerry Mullins who has outed himself recently as the P.Preservationist. Jerry is dedicated. All that dedication makes some people just uncomfortable, positively squirm. But through all of this LHD stuff, one of the great gifts is that I’ve gotten to know Jerry Mullins, and he’s my new bff.
On the anti side, we’ve got great characters. We got one of the leaders, on tape, accusing the mayor and the Local Historic Study Committee of secretly meeting, and implying that they are engaged in illegal acts. You can’t make this stuff up. What a TV writer wouldn’t give for this!
We’ve got the John Birch Society messed up in this LHD stuff. If you were a fiction writer, no one would believe you. It’s yummy.
We’ve got a colorful Bossy Gillis character from Plum Island, telling people, on tape again, that LHD (like it’s some sort of terrible medical disease) will control you. The LHD has nothing to do with Plum Island. It’s not on Plum Island. Bossy Gillis is alive and well. How cool is this? Wowza!!
And then you have the somewhat deer stuck in the headlights Local Historic District Committee caught in the shit storm. It’s almost like you can hear them saying, “Say what??” (We’ve got a chorus number here in the making.)
And a newspaper person declaring really, really early on that the LHD is already lost in a messy defeat .. Honey, this is at least a 4 part play. A little speedy on the getting to the conclusion thing, don’t you think??
It’s a musical in the making. We could make preservation history in Newburyport. Can we ramp it up a little more? Let’s really go at this full throttle. Let’s make history, let’s make this whole LHD mess worthy of a TV sitcom. I’ll take Broadway. Or it could be a TV drama (I’m not fussy here) about Newburyport’s LHD being a Broadway musical-just like “Smash,” only it’s about historic preservation not Marilyn Monroe. TV and Broadway. Is that fun or what? (And I bet my lovely young NYC theater friends would watch it!) Think casting, Newburyport Blog readers, think casting. (I’m sure everyone’s brains, for or against, are turning on the casting thing… now, don’t be mean.)
They did it. Green Theatre Collective (GTC) raised $10,000 in 4 weeks. Oh me of little faith. And that means that this eco-theater company with its roots (pun intended) in Newburyport, can gather the just plain old lovely young men and women who made up the company last year, and go for it again this year, this time with Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, The Tempest.
And GTC had its maiden voyage right here in Newburyport, Massachusetts, sponsored by Theater in the Open, in a gorgeous setting for Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Maudslay State Park last summer. With a big thank you for a plug by Tom Salemi at Newburyport Posts and JC Lockwood at Newbuyrport Arts, along with the Newburyport Daily News and the Newburyport Current.
Ok, its personal. The GTC founder and Executive Producer is my son, Hal Fickett, who got his education right here in Newburyport, Massachusetts (yes, we do have great schools that are most worthy of our support). And the first performance was dedicated to most beloved Newburyport High School theater teacher, Suzanne Bryan and all Newburyport educators (those graduates do appreciate you folks!).
Am I proud and excited for this young eco-theater company. You betcha!
I walk down the street and I see her sweeping in front of her Newburyport home. I call her name, but not until I call out, “Hey beautiful, what you do’n,” does my friend turn her head. She’s one of the first people I ever knew when I moved here 31 years ago.
My neighbor, way back then, was a crusty old guy, and my friend was the sister of his very longtime girl friend, Ollie.
“What’s go’n on Mary?”
“I don’t know, what’s go’n on?”
My friend shrugs.
Me, “The LHD.”
“You for it or against it?”
“Advocating for it.”
“That’s the one where they want to tell you what to do with your home.”
Not the first time I’ve heard this by a long shot. “It’s mainly to prevent people from tearing down old homes.”
“That’s not such a bad thing, is it.”
“Nope,” I say “And no one’s going to come into anyone’s home. And no one is going to tell anyone what color they can paint their house.”
A little tension goes out of my friend’s shoulders, and we change the subject.
She tells me she turned 87, and we reminisce about her sister and my crusty old neighbor Jim.
Jim and Ollie used to have a huge garden (a real old time neighborhood garden) up on Johnson Street, on the land on the left as you’re walking down the hill towards the Nock Middle School. All built up now. I always wish that I had painted the portrait, or at least taken pictures to paint a portrait one day, of Ollie and Jim, sitting on the side of his old beat up dark green van, the side where the door slid open, in the middle of the huge vegetable field. They were a great, almost iconic Newburyport pair.
So Jim knew a lot about gardening, and laughed and laughed at me when my little tomato plants in my tiny Newburyport backyard were felled by cutworms. (I’m from New York City, who knew from cut worms?).
And Jim came over and told me how to put a ring of paper around the stems of my little tomato plants, and push the the ring of paper down into the earth so the little critters couldn’t snip and destroy.
And Jim was as delighted as I was with my eventual tomato triumph.
“He used to laugh and laugh at you.”
“He sure did.”
“I don’t ever look at a tomato plant without thinking of you and Jim.”
We talked about her children and her grandchildren and folks that are no longer around.
And as I turned to go on with my walk, I winked at her.
“You’d give anybody a lift, Mary.” And that made my day.
I love walking through Newburyport’s South End. And spring is my favorite time of year in this gorgeous city.
I wait every year for this particular tree to bloom in Newburyport’s South End.
So many treasures to find walking around this gorgeous city of Newburyport, MA. I found this jewel on my walking tour this morning in Newburyport’s beautiful and charming South End.