It CAN happen in your town. It happened in ours.

Our home town of Winthrop, Massachusetts is normally a pretty boring place, at least in terms of crime. Kelly and I read the police blotter every week in the local paper, and most of the time it is pretty vanilla. Don’t get me wrong, we like the fact that Winthrop does not have the levels of crime that other places do. We somewhat affectionately refer to Winthrop as “Mayberry-by-the-Sea” because the sorts of things that happen around here are usually pretty small.

Last weekend Kelly and I were away from home at a craft fair in West Medford, Massachusetts when we got word that something had happened just around the corner from our house in Winthrop. It first it was not very clear – something about a truck crashing into a building, and then someone involved in that crash shooting at people. It took a few hours before we started getting a clearer picture of what had happened, and even then it was still just bits and pieces.

When we got back to Winthrop that Saturday evening, we had to find a different way to get home because the cordon around the crime scene extended far around the area, including parts of Cross Street, where we normally would have pulled up to get to our house on Almont. We knew things were bad because there were police cars everywhere, and not just from Winthrop. We saw State Police, Boston, Revere, and Chelsea police in addition to Winthrop police.

Within the next day or two, things had cleared up significantly. A guy had stolen a plumbing supply truck and sped through the streets of Winthrop, going about twice the speed limit. He turned from Revere Street onto Shirley Street, speeding down the street past all of the parked cars that narrowed the road considerably. As a result he hit a white SUV more-or-less head on, causing it to crash into a fence and some hedges literally within sight of our back deck. He then lost control of the truck and crashed it into an unoccupied brick building at the corner of Cross Street and Shirley Street. After he got out of the truck, he was met by people who had come out of their homes thinking they could help after the crash. But the guy was armed with two pistols, and at some point he started shooting. First he shot Ramona Cooper, an Air Force veteran and current VA employee, three times in the back. Then he apparently bypassed the opportunity to shoot several other people, and instead went after David Green, another Air Force veteran and a retired Massachusetts State Trooper. Both victims were black, and the shooter whose name I refuse to use was white. It became clear by Monday that there was some sort of racial motivation for what this man had done. He had targeted only black people, and had apparently was responsible for numerous racist and anti-Semitic writings.

Last night there was a memorial service, and it was pretty well-attended. Unfortunately I am heard of hearing and could not hear much of what was said, but it was still a lovely event. I hope people are a little more aware of what is happening around them, and I sincerely hope that people around here will stand up against racism when they see or hear it. That’s what needs to happen.

Try to do right, and be the kind of person your kids (or your dog) thinks you are.

Much love to all,

~Geoff

Ah, summer…

Yes, summer is really here, and today the temperature here in Winthrop by the Sea has reached 93 degrees, with a heat index of 100.  So naturally, this is when our air conditioner decides to partially break down.  We have AC in the basement (where it is least needed) and partially on the first floor, but it basically isn’t working at all on the second floor and so the temperature in our bedroom hit 85 degrees in the shade.  We are temporarily sleeping in the basement on the sleeper sofa until the HVAC guys can come on Monday.

The only one of us who seems totally unaffected is Violet.  She doesn’t seem to mind the heat at all.  Scratch, on the other hand, has camped out in the basement with us and the dogs.

Two Northeasters in a row

I normally don’t mind a little snow, as it is New England and we expect to get some (mostly) between November and March.  But the two storms that we have had most recently have been a bit more problematic, mostly because of strong winds and heavy coastal flooding.

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My presentation to WIHA last week

As Kelly and I are both new members of the Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association, I was invited to do a presentation for them, and so I decided to do my Boston in the Civil War era presentation, basically a revised version of a presentation I wrote for Historic New England years ago.

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Upcoming Summer Fun

There are some great summer activities coming up in and around Boston starting this weekend.  Take a look and see what’s coming, I have some fun things on the docket.

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The garden is doing pretty well so far

In my last gardening post, I had promised to put up more pictures at some point to show how things were progressing with the garden.  And so here is the progress report.  Today was a gorgeous (but hot) summer day and I was out in the yard doing some work, so I thought I would take some pictures for another blog post.

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The most famous boat in town

Ever since the big nor’easter we had earlier this month, there has been a new tourist attraction of sorts along the coastal road between Revere and Winthrop.  A sailboat washed ashore, dragging its mooring line with it.  The storm washed it almost all the way up onto the sea wall.  I can’t imagine that the boat was not damaged in the process.  What a shame.

I wonder when someone will finally come claim it.

Anyway, it seems as if at any given moment, someone has stopped to look at the erstwhile shipwreck and take pictures of it.  The first day after the storm, there was a whole row of cars.  And every single time I have driven along that coastal road, no matter what time of day, there was someone looking at the boat.  Seriously, every single time, including today, when I finally stopped and got a picture or two myself.

I hope it is not too badly damaged.

-Geoff

Our nor’easter made the national news, and so did Kelly’s video of it

Over the last couple of days, we had our first nor’easter since we moved to Winthrop.  The storm caused wind speeds here near the coast to pick up quite a bit, and as  result there was a pretty heavy surf along the beaches here too.

That is all seawater that came over the wall.
That is all seawater that came over the wall.

Continue reading “Our nor’easter made the national news, and so did Kelly’s video of it”

2016 just can’t end fast enough

Well.  Where to begin.

Yes, 2016 has not been a great year for all sorts of reasons.  In that sense.  John Oliver is right  (see below, and definitely not safe for work).

We can’t wait for it to be over either.

Yes, there have been some good things that happened this year.  Kelly and I finally have a house of our own, and we love it.  Just this past weekend we put up our Christmas tree for the first time in several years.  I was smiling from ear to ear.  I just couldn’t help myself.  As silly as it might seem to some people, putting up the tree in our living room as we listened to Christmas music was one of the most serene and happy moments I have had in a long, long time.  It meant the world to me.

Also, there was the addition of little Violet to our family a few weeks after we moved to Winthrop, and we love her very much.  She is an absolutely sweet and affectionate little thing and we could not have hoped for a better addition to our little family.  She has found all sorts of little places around the house to sleep, and one of my favorite things to do around the new house is to find the new places where she has decided to sit and/or nap.

We spent our Thanksgiving day in New Hampshire at my sister Liz’s house, after picking up my Aunt Donna from her place (also in NH now) and heading over to have Thanksgiving as a late lunch.  And we had a pretty good time, all things considered.  Luckily, we managed to avoid all discussions of politics.

So yes, while I can’t avoid discussing politics forever, I am going to put off talking about it for a little because I wanted to end this post on a positive note. While I have much to see about current events I will still try to put up some more pictures of the new place, as well as some pictures of all of our furry “kids” together.  It is the season for that sort of thing.

Much love to all our family, friends and acquaintances.

-Geoff

#ShopLocal – Small Business Weekend Shows

This weekend isn’t all about Turkey, Black Friday, and football.  It’s also about Small Business Saturday & Sunday, sometimes called Plaid Saturday & Sunday.  These days are the exact opposite of what Black Friday is all about.  They’re about shopping at local stores, shopping handmade, and keeping your holiday spending in your local economy where it will do the most good.

As it so happens, I have two Small Business Weekend shows this weekend, and they’re going to be a wonderful antidote to Black Friday insanity, indigestion from eating too much, and Forced Family Fun Time.

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