Monthly Archives: August 2007

5 Bald Newburyport Guys and a Barber and An Outrageous Health Insurance Hike

Mike Costello, Ed Cameron and Tom Jones have my unwavering political support.

Why you should ask? “Five Bald Guys and a Barber,” that’s why.

“5 Bald Guys and a Barber”
For large photo please press here.
Courtesy of Susanne Cameron

Thursday, in my completely ditzy way, I forgot all about the Newburyport Bed Race (Yankee Homcoming).

After writing Mike Costello (no kidding, really) an email wailing about how the new state Health Reform Act could not possibly be working, because the new rate hike for my health insurance was a whopping 43.7%. (Now “low” double digit inflation is bad enough, but mid-range double digit inflation. Good grief. I figured maybe the health insurers were hoping for the self-employed and small business owners of a certain age, just to pass into the word-work from shock, when they found out what the plans for their new health insurance premiums were going to be.) Possibly more whining about the dubiousness of this new Health Insurance Act for all?? from moi, on the Newburyport Blog.

So here I am wandering the neighborhood, wondering where everyone is (it’s sweltering hot, I figure everyone’s getting cool in front of the AC or a fan), and low and behold, a whole lot of the neighborhood and a whole lot of people (Federal Street looked like a hopping block party, lots of fun) were watching the “Bed Race.”

And seeing Mike Costello, Ed Cameron and Tom Jones running and sweating down Federal Street as “5 Bald Guys and a Barber,” (I’m not sure what the male version of “ditzy” would be, maybe “wild and crazy guy?”) made me stop thinking about the 43.7% health insurance rate hike, and actually cheered me up and calmed me down a whole lot.

“5 Bald Guys and a Barber”
Left right—Ed Cameron, Peter Bart, Rich Herman, Mike Costello, Tom Jones, Foreground—Esther Sayer
Courtesy of Susanne Cameron

With that kind of sense of humor and, let’s face it, a certain amount of chutzpa, how could anyone not get all kinds of things done in the political arena. Right?

I even decided that I wanted Tom Jones to be the new Newburyport City Council president (I’m assuming he is going to win as one of the Newburyport City Councilors at Large) (Sorry Tom O’Brien, you didn’t run in the bed race, I don’t think), provided that he always wears a tee-shirt as Newburyport City Council president that says “5 Bald Guys and a Barber, and I’m proud.” (The design of course is up to him.)

Ed Cameron has got to beat Erford Fowler in a tight Ward 4 race and Federal Street is in the wrong ward (Ward 2). Oh well. But hey, this counts as major political points/stuff in my book. (And then he’s got to wear the same tee-shirt too.)

And Esther Sayer looked pretty cute pretending to be a bald person in the middle of the bed. I don’t know who cooked this one up, but I LOVED it.

Mary Eaton

Newburyport, Candidate’s Websites and Blogs

For those who are running for election this year in Newburyport, MA, I would be happy list all applicable blogs and websites at the side of the Newburyport Blog under “Newburyport Election 2007–Blogs and Websites.”

If you are a candidate running for Mayor, the Newburyport City Council or the Newburyport School Committee, and have developed either a blog or a website, please free to let me know. Or if you would like, please have someone from your campaign contact me.

Thanks so much,

Mary Baker Eaton
Editor of the Newburyport Blog

Memory and Newburyport’s Historic Gardens

I started thinking about “memory” (see earlier entry) again and what it means to a sense of place and historic preservation, because I started to think about historic gardens, mainly along High Street, how beautiful they are, but whether or not they make sense in day to day living in the year 2007.

All of this came into my head as I watched the work on 87 High Street take place.

Again, when is it appropriate to impinge on the past, and when is it appropriate to preserve it? And again, for me, there is often no easy answer.

And historic High Street gardens are not exactly a new topic.

“Gardens of the New Republic: Fashioning the Landscapes of High Street, Newburyport, Massachusett” is all about the significance of gardens in Newburyport, MA. The book is available at the Newburyport library and bookstores. It can also be obtained through the website

And in 2006 Preservation Massachusetts named the Wheelwright Gardens as one of Massachusetts’ “10 Most Endangered Resources.”

This is from the Newburyport Current , Tuesday, September 26, 2006, by Ulrika Gerth:

“The fact that this extremely rare Federal style garden has remained intact for over 120 years is amazing,” said Jim Igoe, president of Preservation Massachusetts. “This horticultural gem shares the same historic significance as the main house on this property and should benefit from the same type of protection granted to it.”

All of this had me scurrying to find old photographs and garden plans of gardens in Newburyport, MA to share with readers of the Newburyport Blog.

This is a an old photograph of the Wheelwright Garden at 75 High Street.

And I’ve been told, and I haven’t verified this, that there is a replica of Old South Church at the top of that wonderful wooden structure at the end of the garden.

The Garden at 75 High Street,
The Wheelwright House,
Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
at the Newburyport Public Library

Mary Eaton

Newburyport and Friendship

I read about Mr. Ryan’s definite departure from our fair city with great sadness.

Mr. Ryan has probably become one of the Newburyport Blog’s biggest friends.

I know this comes as a surprise to many and horror to more than a few.

The Tom Ryan that I have come to know in the last year and a half is a completely different Tom Ryan than the often cruel, smart-assed editor of the Undertoad, who often seems to have a huge chip on his shoulder.

It’s as if the Tom Ryan of the Undertoad is a “persona,” and the Tom Ryan that I have come to know is a completely different person.

And if the Undertoad editor is a “persona,” believe me, I more than understand.

Over the last year and a half plus, I find that as the editor of the Newburyport Blog I have begun to develop a “persona” myself. A completely ditzy person, who talks to birdbaths, has stuffed animals making political commentary, and who occasionally makes an intelligent observation.

And as I put myself “out there” in a small community, it feels as if the “persona” serves as some sort of protection or shield.

I could honestly say that it is very possible that Mr. Ryan is the best friend that the Newburyport Blog has had thus far.

Mr. Ryan calls up and checks on me. Sees if I’m doing Ok. Tells me I’m doing something worthwhile (yes, hope that is true) and not to lose heart. And there is no agenda.

Possible small gestures that have gone a long, long way. And no one else in Newburyport, MA has come close to showing the consistent compassion, empathy and support that Tom Ryan has.

Actions speak loudly.

Now as the election heats up and I may disagree with Mr. Ryan on this or that, I still may well get “Toaded.” But all those “small” kindnesses have added up to a mountain of consideration. It would take an awful lot of wild “Toading” to negate all the kindness that Tom Ryan has shown to me and the Newburyport Blog.

Mary Eaton