Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Dream

A New Year’s Dream for Rockport…

Satellite view of Rockport’s Whistlestop Mall, MBTA Station, and Hardware Store.

I had a dream….  There's this beautiful little town, perched on the rocks, on the very tip of Cape Ann.  
It’s a very pleasant town, with lots of very friendly people.  Thousands and thousands of people come from all over the world to visit each year.  We have artists whose work is shown in galleries around the world, and we have a new music performance center that is one of the best in the world. 
We have authors, and fishermen, teachers, healthcare workers, shopkeepers, inventors, publishers, entrepreneurs, cooks, potters, lawyers, hospitality workers, scientists, photographers, scholars, mechanics, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, broadcasters, engineers, bankers, and lots of retired people who used to do all those things.
Where several decades ago we had a whole bunch of little grocery stores, and two years ago we had one, now we have none.
My dream was that one day soon some men and women got together and decided to make a change right in the heart of town.  They decided to pool their resources, and create a place where Rockporters and neighbors from Gloucester could come to shop for groceries, buy good wine and cheese, and baked goods and quality prepared foods.  In that same place there would be one or two nice little restaurants, and maybe a snack bar.  Since our flower shop is now gone, there might be a pretty flower shop. There’d be a drug store, of course.

Rockport is ready for a small, high-quality food and beverage store.

These people would be a friendly combination of those who own the included property, those who have a bright vision of such a new feature for Rockport, and political leaders who share that vision.
I think we could count on the support of our State Senator and State Representative to go to bat for us, and hopefully our Congressman as well, to pry the resources from the Commonwealth and Federal Government, to finally build the MBTA station that people have been talking about for years.
Along with a new, revitalized train station would come a plan to develop housing nearby for people who mostly depend upon public transportation. 
Our Planning Board would prepare a proposal for special zoning, and Town Meeting would approve it.
Since this would all be located around the train station, there could be state and federal funds to help make all this happen.  
And because this retail area would be next to the train station, it would be a good place for little shops that would serve train passengers, both our own commuters and all the visitors who come and go by train.
With all the imaginative people in Rockport, this dream might just happen.
Sam Coulbourn

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Visit to Murmansk...

Our Trip to the Soviet Arctic

                I had wanted to go to Murmansk since I was a 14-year old, working on my Aunt’s Mink Ranch in Virginia.  Her son-in-law, Francis Grigsby ”Gig” Farinholt, had been a sailor aboard the cargo ships making the run past German U-Boats up to the North Sea and around into the Arctic to Murmansk during World War II.  The United States shipped the Soviets many millions of dollars worth of military equipment, as well as food and supplies for their very survival, and this is where it landed. 
            At the start of World War II the Germans, allied with the Finns, had used Finnish bases to bomb Murmansk.
            Gig told me about the warm welcome the Soviets gave the convoy crews each time they landed in Murmansk.   They held big dinners, with plenty of black bread and sausage and, of course, gallons of vodka.
            Marty and I flew up there in June, 1982, midway through our two years in the Soviet Union. We went on the longest day of the year, which, in the Arctic, is pretty long.  There was no night time. 

Murmansk Harbor, a vital ice-free port for Russia

            We flew from Moscow to Murmansk on an Aeroflot Tu-154.  As usual, the air was very close on the Soviet airliner, with the oppressive aroma of bad breath and body odor from the passengers.  A little before we were to land the clouds cleared and we could see the Kola Inlet on the Barents Sea. The Tuloma River flows north past Murmansk on its way to the sea.  Even though this is well inside the Arctic Circle, the Soviets are usually able to keep it open to navigation during the winter. 
            Near Murmansk we could see snow-covered mountains and a few bergy bits (small icebergs) floating in the water.

Murmansk: “Alyosha” Memorial to Soviet Soldiers in Arctic War 1941

            Natasha, an Intourist guide, came on board our plane just after we had landed in Murmansk on a flight from Moscow. Then a member of the air crew led us from the plane like VIPs.  Both Natasha and the air crewman noted that this bright and sunny day was unusual for Murmansk. 
            Natasha rode in a cab with us, showing us the sights as we headed toward the city of Murmansk.  We passed the ancient site of Kola, mentioned in chronicles in 1264 A.D. but was the site of a fort built in 1565.  The Swedes failed to capture the fort in the Russo-Swedish War of 1590-95, but the British attacked the fort during the Crimean War in 1854 and reduced it to ashes.
            It’s very hard to build here, Natasha said, because of the permafrost.  The buildings we saw as we entered the city were typical low-quality Soviet construction, but here, apparently to boost morale during the long, dark days, walls of buildings were covered with large, bright murals.

Shortly after we had checked in to our hotel, Natasha took us on a tour of the city. Murmansk was a city built right about the time of the October Revolution, so it has none of the beautiful buildings and churches the Czars built across Russia.  With a population of about 300,000, it is the largest city above the Arctic Circle.  We had often seen that in northern latitudes there was often a severe alcoholism problem.  Not just in the USSR, but in Scandinavian countries.  Marty asked Natasha about this.  This young lady, whose father happened to be the mayor, told us that, no, they had no such problem in Murmansk.  As she was saying this, we happened to be stopped at a traffic light, and next to the car was a lamppost, with a really drunk Russian hanging on to it.  As if on cue, the poor guy then lost his grip and collapsed on the pavement, just as our guide was declaring no problem with alcohol.
            A little while later, we encountered a whole busload of Finns.  They had flown from Helsinki to Murmansk, to see the sights, and had just come from visiting the fishing fleet.  We met them at a “Beryozka” which was one of thousands of such state stores across the USSR that sold goods for foreign currency only. Here the specialty was little birch bark canoes and other craft items, and of course vodka.  That was what the Finns were looking for. From the looks of them, they had found vodka before, because they were already pretty drunk, but this gave them a chance to stock up on some more.

Shopping at the market

            We had lived in the USSR nearly two years, and had never had a nice meal of fresh fish.  Fish you could buy in the Moscow Rynok (Market) was always frozen, usually in large chunks of ice and fish together, so the fishmongers just hacked off a couple of kilos of salty ice and fish and sold you that.  Customer service was not a big thing in the USSR.
            At any rate, Marty suggested that, since we were here in the largest fishing port in the whole USSR, we ought to be able to find a nice fresh fish, so we went looking for a restaurant that would serve fresh fish. 
            We didn’t find such a restaurant, so we entered a nice-looking establishment that our Intourist guide had recommended, and were shown to our table and given large, heavy menus.  Many Soviet restaurants used these large menus with many pages, and then it became a ritual for the customer and the waitress to find out what, in all those pages, was actually available.  As you ordered a dish, the waitress would solemnly answer “Nyetu”, which means “that’s not available!”
            We started with a little plate of caviar, with toast points, chopped onions, and glasses of vodka.  This is a popular, and delicious appetizer in Russia.  After that, we had Kotlyeti, or cutlets of veal.  
            The people at the table next to us sent over a bottle of Soviet Shampanskaya (Champagne) and we exchanged toasts.  They were all sailors aboard Soviet fishing boats, and their wives. They said they go out for six months and come in for one month.  One said he lives in Moscow with his family.  They get good pay, which was obvious from the clothes and jewelry on the women.  The sailors took turn dancing with Marty, but I, always attached to my attaché bag, could not get up and dance.
            Across the dance floor in this restaurant was a wedding party.  A long table of very plain, solid-looking Russians was celebrating a wedding.  We went over and congratulated the bride and groom, and told them that where we came from, it was good luck for the bride to put a penny in her shoe.  I didn’t have a penny, so I gave her a U.S. dime, and the whole party was delighted, because Russians really turn on for anything which might give them “good luck”. 
            We chatted briefly with some of the older members of the party, who recalled the days when the Americans brought all those shiploads of cargo to help the Russians survive the terrible war with Hitler’s Germany.  Soviet propaganda was quick to dismiss the American Lend-lease contribution of World War II, but every Russian who lived through those days remembers and always expressed gratitude to us for all Americans. 
            It was nearly midnight, and we had had a big day, so we went to catch a bus back to our hotel.  It was still bright daylight—it never gets dark on the longest day of the year up here.

[Note: This has been revised since it first appeared Oct. 23, 2011.]

The Personal Navigator offers these books, papers and other periodicals:

Shipmate, The Eyes and Ears of the Navy; Publication of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, September 1945         1945 England, Harry W., Managing Editor        Annapolis, MD: U.S.Naval Academy Alumni Association. Victory and Industrial Issue: End of World War II came as a surprise to editorial staff, so they rushed to include "The Sinking of the Rising Sun" by Lt. S.L. Freeland. "a concise and vivid report of how U.S. Navy made Japs wish they had never thought of Pearl Harbor." Story of new USNA Superintendent, first Naval Aviator to take post, Vice Admiral Aubrey W. Fitch, '06, by Comdr. Louis J. Gulliver, '07. "Ships from the Texas Plains" story of ships built by newcomers to shipbuilding in Houston. These ships passed the "final examination" when they survived the horrible typhoon off Luzon in December 1944, that caused sinking of three other destroyers. "How the Seabees Transformed Tinian" as base for Superforts bombing Japan. "P.H. to Okinawa"-- "’The Big E’, carrier Enterprise, fought the whole bloody war, and came out asking for more”. "What's the Dope" news of alumni, first entry is from Col. Harry Hawthorne, Class of 1882.  Names of naval officers mentioned in this issue is an honor roll of naval heroes of World War II and afterward. 104 pp. 21.7 x 29.3 cm. Magazine, moderate wear, good. (6229) $35.00. World War II/Naval                                               

U.S. Rivers and Harbors: Letter from the President of the United States Transmitting to the House of Representatives a statement from the Secretary of War concerning appropriations for improvement of rivers and harbors, dated Jan. 12, 1877 Washington, DC: United States House of Representatives. Letter from President U.S. Grant of Jan. 12, 1877 transmits letter from Secretary of War J.D. Cameron of Jan. 11, 1877 with the whole package of indorsements and statements for the Chief of Engineers for the improvement of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas Rivers; the Ohio River; the Columbia River; the harbor at Racine, WI; Kennebunk River; the Channel between Staten Island and New Jersey; the improvement of Sabine Pass, Blue Buck Bar and Sabine Bay; the Harbor at Fall River, MA; for gauging the waters of the Lower Mississippi and its tributaries; work on the Galveston, TX ship channel; and much more.  56 pp. 15 x 23 cm. Paper booklet, some pages loose, fair. (7004) $17.00. Scientific/Engineering   


Wild Flowers: Plates 212 and 213

Wild Flowers; Three hundred and sixty-four full-color illustrations with complete descriptive text; popular edition in one volume, second printing, September 1935 by Homer D. House. 1935 New York, NY: The MacMillan Co This edition is based on a work of similar title originally issued by the State of New York. This work is reproduced by permission of the Board of Regents of the State of New York. Marvelous introductory description, 24 pp. Descriptions and color plates include Families: Cat-tail, Water Plantain, Arum, Spiderwort, Bunchflower, Lily, Orchid, Buckwheat, Poppy, Fumewort, Mustard, Pitcher Plant, Virginia Stonecrop, Saxifrage, Rose, Apple, Pea, Geranium, Wood Sorrel, Jewelweed, Milkwort, Mallow, Violet, Loosestrife, Wintergreen, Heath, many more.. 362 pp. 23.5 x 29.7 cm. Light green buckram cloth on board, spine lightly sunfaded; gilt lettering. Half-title page shows diagonal crease, no dj, very good. (7987) $58.00. Scientific/Nature

Bartlett's Foreign Tours, for the Season of 1895 Chester, PA: Professor F.W. Bartlett Description of tours to Europe, the Mediterranean and The Holy Land. Includes three fold-out maps of Switzerland, the Mediterranean, and Europe. 44 pp. 11 x 17 cm. Paper booklet, cover lightly soiled. Fold-out maps good. Good. (3361) $25.00. Travel/Maps

Hints on Etiquette and The Usages of Society with a Glance at Bad Habits by Agogos (Charles William Day), Illustrated by Brian Robb.    Agogos (Charles William Day)  1946    London, England: Turnstile Press Limited. First published in 1836, this little book was first published by Turnstile Press in 1946; this reprint was in 1952. This book is not written for those who do but for those who do not know what is proper.  Examples of "Hints": Whilst walking with a friend, should you meet an acquaintance, never introduce them. Never make acquaintances in coffee houses. It is considered vulgar to take fish or soup twice. If either a lady or a gentleman be invited to take wine at table, they must never refuse; it is very gauche so to do. Do not practise the filthy custom of gargling your mouth at table. As snuff-taking is merely an idle, dirty habit, practised by stupid people in the unavailing endeavour to clear their stolid intellect... it may be left to each individual taste as to whether it be continued or not. 68 pp. 10 x 14.7 cm. Decorated cover with same design on dust jacket. Very good. (8171) $14.00. Educational

Cyclopædia of Wit and Humor, The; Containing choice and characteristic selections from the writings of the most eminent humorists of America, Ireland, Scotland, and England, Illustrated with 24 portraits on steel, and many hundred wood engravings, 2 Volumes Burton, William E., Editor,1858  New York, NY: D. Appleton & Co. 1136 pp.  17 x 25.5 cm. Here is a rich collection of the humor of English-speaking people up to its publishing date of 1858. Droll stories, poems, songs by American and Irish writers and speakers in Vol. I and Scottish and English writers and speakers in Vol. II.  Beautifully illustrated with 24 steel engravings of notable humorists, all with tissue guards.  Two volumes, quarter leather with marbled boards, marbled page ends, five-ribbed spines with gilt titles. Minor rubbing to leather spines, altogether very good copies.       (8330) $150.00. Humor                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Contact me at scoulbourn1@verizon.net

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Life in an SSBN

The Day Kennedy Was Shot  

USS Ethan Allen (SSBN 608)

            Here on the fiftieth anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, those of us who were alive at that time can all recall where we were, and how we reacted.               

            On November 22, 1963, I was Weapons officer in USS Ethan Allen (SSBN608), a fleet ballistic missile submarine.  We carried 16 Polaris A2 missiles with nuclear warheads. We were submerged in the Mediterranean Sea.   These submarines had two crews, Blue and Gold.  I was in the Gold crew, and we had relieved the other crew and then undergone a month of work alongside our tender at Holy Loch Scotland.  We had been underway, submerged, for over a month at this time. 
            One of the agreements in resolving the Missile crisis of 1962, in return for the Soviets to remove their missiles from Cuba, was for the United States to remove its Jupiter missiles from Turkey.  This left targets in the Soviet Union uncovered and so Ethan Allen and other fleet ballistic missile submarines were ordered to pick up those targets, which meant that during part of our deterrent patrols we would have to move into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
            On a submarine only the officer of the deck regularly looks through the periscope, and then only on rare trips up to periscope depth.  The rest of the time we would cruise at perhaps 200 or 300 feet keel depth.  In those days we used a long floating wire that trailed several thousand feet astern to receive radio signals.  Since our mission was to be able to receive a message from the President ordering launch of our nuclear missiles, we depended upon that wire. 
            These were the days before cell phones and nearly everyone being instantly connected to everyone else.  That wire was all we had.  Each man aboard was entitled to receive about two “Familygrams” during a two-month patrol.  Our families could send us these messages, which were carefully censored.  They were not allowed to send us bad news, because there was nothing we could do about it.  We couldn’t answer back, and only in very vital life-and-death situations aboard the submarine would we ever surface to offload a crewmember. 
            On November 22, 1963 it was seven p.m. aboard our submarine when we received a flash message that President Kennedy had been shot.  We were on Zulu time, six hours ahead of Dallas, when the message arrived.
            No one in our government knew what would come next, and certainly aboard that submarine we knew nothing more!  
                A short time after the news of the shooting, before we had even heard that Kennedy had died, we got a Weapon Systems Readiness Test (WSRT).  These were very real alerts sent to submarines on patrol, meant to test the readiness of the Polaris weapon system. 

Polaris Countdown

             We responded to these tests just as we would for a real attack order; only the Captain and the Executive Officer knew when the message arrived if it were a test, because we were required to bring 16 missiles up to readiness for launch and flight. After the first few minutes we would be ordered to arm the warheads, that are the nuclear tips on each missile, and that was when we would all know it was the real thing.    
            When we heard that the President had been shot, we imagined that the assassination might be part of a large plot by the Soviets, culminating in a nuclear attack on the United States.  For a very scary period of time we didn’t know if we would be ordered to launch missiles for the start of World War III!
            In this case it was indeed a test, and we didn’t arm the nuclear warheads. But it was scary!
            We all know now that the Soviets were not launching an attack, but we didn’t know it then, and things were very tense for several hours.

            In the next several days we were fed news reports which helped us to piece together a fragment of the massive television and newspaper coverage that the rest of the world was getting.  When we returned to Holy Loch in early January 1964 we received our mail, and Time and Life Magazines which reported all about the killing of the President, and then the killing of his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Kennedy’s funeral and the start of Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

            As we flew from Scotland back to Rhode Island, and rode the bus back to our base in New London, Connecticut, we eagerly read our personal mail, and scanned the newspapers and magazines which were loaded with this huge national story.
                My “catching up” on the news now that I was back on dry land had to wait, though, because I took my wife Marty to the Navy hospital to have a little girl.   That little girl is now all grown up, and has a family of her own.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

How we began....

Arriving in Massachusetts, 1623…..

Puritan Women making dinner, ca. 1630


       Imagine…you’ve been here in Massachusetts now all summer.  The ship and crew who brought you over from England have gone back, promising to return next spring.
            You and the 13 other men have been cutting timber and building log cabins, and now you have finished harvesting the vegetables you grew.  You’ve been cutting firewood like mad lately, because you think it’s going to be cold this winter in that little cabin.  Even with the 13 men and the cow… and the chickens.
            You’re the only Englishmen you have seen since you arrived.  A few Indians have come by, and one even spoke a little English! 
            You wonder, why is it that you wind up here in what they call “Gloucester Plantation” with not a white soul around, and these Indians show up and one knows some English?  Where do these guys get exposed to English in this God-forsaken, rock-strewn piece of nowhere?

          The year is 1623.  You’ve heard from the Englishmen living down at Plymouth Plantation that winters here are ------ words that Puritans do not use! 
            Back in Dorset Shire, England, a group called themselves the Dorchester Company decided they would gather up their funds and send a boat to the New World.  They gathered £800, enough to buy a small boat and load it up with a crew, and 14 others who would form a new plantation, wherever they landed.  The plan was to land the 14 and some cattle and chickens, and then they would start to build houses and start a small farm.  The sailors would lay out the drying racks (stages) for drying fish, then get to work harvesting all the cod they could carry.  When winter grew near, the boat and crew returned to England, leaving the settlers to settle. 
            Other boats were heading for many other destinations along the New England shoreline in those years.  Some landed at Monhegan Island and began a plantation.  Others at a town they named Saco, also up in what became the Province of Maine.  And nearby, at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, another settlement began. 
            Another settlement sprang up in Nantasket, and Marblehead, and Weymouth

            In 1624 the Dorchester Company sent two ships to re-supply and conduct fishing, but they were anxious to make some money, and this colony business was slow music for them.  Imagine—setting these guys up to grow stuff, others to catch fish, in this place called America.  Is it going to be a moneymaker?
            They stayed with it another year. They sent two ships again in 1625.  With some women, more cows, and more chickens. 
            Women.  Imagine.  We should have thought of that before! 

            All this time, more English ships were landing, bringing settlers to the New World.  Plymouth Company, who bankrolled the starving Plymouth Colony, was anxious to provide a little variety amongst those very religious, strait-laced Puritans.  They decided to send the Reverend Lyford, who had religious views a little more liberal than the Plymouth group.  This Rev. Lyford was a nice guy, but he had been caught in what might today be considered an “indiscretion” with a woman not his wife. 
            When he arrived in Puritan Plymouth, he was like the skunk at the picnic.  This band of very religious, very stern and severe men and women would have no part of him.
            Rev. Lyford and the gentleman who was his traveling companion were bounced, and went to Nantasket. 
            Back in England Dorchester Company sought a man of stature to govern the people in Gloucester Plantation, so they chose a notable named Roger Conant.  They sent him to take over as governor.  When Conant arrived in Massachusetts Bay, he heard that Rev. Lyford was looking for a place to settle, so he asked him to join him in Gloucester.
            In those days, in order for any plantation to become viable, in addition to farmers to farm, women to cook and bear children, you needed a minister.  Religion, and a church, were absolutely vital.  Going to church every Sunday, usually all day Sunday, was not optional. 
            Now the small settlement had cattle, farmers, a minister and a governor. These first Gloucester settlers were not Puritans.  In fact, some had had some problems with drunkenness.
            However, by 1625 the Dorchester Company found that the whole venture was a losing proposition and they abandoned it.  Some of the settlers went back to England, and Conant and some of the group picked up everything, including their small homes, and moved to Naumkeag, which is now Salem
            More ships were arriving every few weeks, and landing settlers here, there and everywhere, and New England was growing.  While Conant and most of the early arrivals had moved to Salem and to New London, down in what was called Connecticut, more Englishmen arrived in Gloucester and began to carve out farms and send boats to sea to harvest the rich bounty of fish.
            It is interesting to read about the first families of Gloucester, and the amazing mobility of people, up and down the coast.  Many would arrive and live in Gloucester, then move to New London on the Thames River, or to New Gloucester and Yarmouth, in Maine Province.  And people from other settlements would move to Gloucester.
            Richard Tarr and his family arrived at Sandy Bay in a tiny boat in 1690 after sailing from Saco, Maine, then to Marblehead.  He is said to be the first settler of Sandy Bay, which would become the Fifth Parish of Gloucester, and then in 1840 would become Rockport.
Gravestone of Richard Tarr, Rockport’s first citizen, b. Bristol, England, ca.1646, d. Sandy Bay, 1732.

            He and his family lived alone in the little cabin he built, on what is now Main Street. About ten years later John Pool and his wife Sarah and five children moved from Beverly.  This was 1700.  Rockport had just taken off, because John Pool was a man of many talents.  He dammed up Davison’s Run and built a sawmill where the present Mill Dam is.  He had workers dig out the area that is now the Mill Pond.  He built the first frame house in Rockport, and by 1710 was shipping fine hemlock timber down to Boston to build Long Wharf

Dam to provide water power for John Pool’s sawmill.
This is the 2013 version. Brass plaque at front right is shown below.
“The Mill Pond—a grist mill privilege granted to John Pool, 2 December 1701.”

            Pool became a rather wealthy man, but his wife Sarah died, and he married another, and she died.  Then another, and she died. Then another, and she lived, and in 1724 John Pool went to his rest and was buried at the foot of King Street, with all his wives. 
            In 1754 there were some 300 people living in Sandy Bay, and they didn’t like walking all the way to Gloucester’s First Parish or to Annisquam’s Third Parish for church every Sunday.  Especially during the snowy months.  They petitioned for a meeting house and a parson, and in 1754 they became the Fifth Parish.
            About this time the disease of throat distemper (now called diphtheria) hit Sandy Bay and other parts of Gloucester. This deadly disease swept through the village, killing children in nearly every family.
Richard Tarr and John Pool walked through this forest, now called the Town Forest, atop Pool’s Hill.  Notice the glacial till—granite boulders left over from the ice age!  Notice also—no hemlock.  Pool cut them all down.

            The Revolutionary War was disastrous for Cape Ann.  British Navy ships conducted numerous raids all along the coast and made any kind of shipping of merchandise dangerous and costly, and fishing also became much more difficult and dangerous.  This all resulted in tremendous economic doom for Cape Ann, and much of the population had a hard time feeding themselves.  However, many of the local seafarers went to sea as privateers, raiding other ships and generally raising hell.  Some made a lot of money, but most did not, and many were lost at sea.
            There was a short time after the war’s end when the situation persisted, but then things started to improve.  Ocean shipping returned, more jobs appeared, fishing became much more productive, farmers were able to sell and ship their goods.  By 1823 in Sandy Bay a company was forming to extract the rich slabs of granite from the land.  Over the next several decades this would mean that Sandy Bay, and by 1840, Rockport, would be the fastest growing part of Cape Ann

Continued next month.  Learn about Rockport when it becomes a town on its own, and Hannah Jumper and her raid, and more!


            Marshall, John W., Burnham, Newell, Dennis, Henry, and Cleaves, Levi, compilers;  History of the Town of Rockport, as comprised in the Centennial Address of Lemuel Gott, M.D., Extracts from the Memoranda of Ebenezer Pool, Esq., with interesting items from other sources. 1888 Rockport, MA: Printed at Rockport Review Office.

Babson, John J., History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Including the Town of Rockport.  1860. Gloucester, MA: Procter Bros.

Morley, Arthur P., Rockport, A Town of the Sea. 1924. Cambridge, MA: The Murray Printing Co.

This history was part of the October meeting of Rockport’s History Book Club.  If you live in Rockport or nearby, join us for our next meeting, on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Because of Thanksgiving we must move from the regular last Wednesday in the month to the next Wednesday, which is in December.  The Subject is The American Labor Movement, 1900-2013.
 Read any book that interests you on the Labor Movement during any part of 1900 to now--- Taft Hartley, John L. Lewis, the IWW, CIO, the ILGWU, Strikebreakers, FDR and Labor, Eugene V. Debs, Frances Perkins--- whatever suits you!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

These Old Boots Slogged in the Snow....


These Old Boots…
Slogged in the Russian snow….

These boots took me to a lot of places.  Since they remind me
of days slogging  in the snow along the Neva in Russia, I
photographed them with this Soviet sailor’s hat.

                It was time for them to go.  I haven’t worn them in many years, yet I felt sad about putting them in a charity bin, but now some deserving soul might be able to get more miles out of them.
            I bought them when we moved to New Hampshire in 1980, because they were awfully good walking through deep snow, and there was plenty of that.  

            Then we got sent to the Soviet Union.  I was assigned as Naval Attaché in Moscow, 1981-83.  Most of our work consisted of traveling to other cities where we could observe the USSR --especially its navy As a naval officer, I led a group of two naval officers and one Marine officer and some of us were on the road nearly all the time. 
            Most of our trips consisted of catching the midnight train from Leningrad Station in Moscow, en route Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).  We would arrive in that far northern city about 8 a.m.  and a driver would pick us up and take us to the American Consulate.  We kept a small four-wheel drive vehicle, a Soviet Niva, at the Consulate for our business.  As soon as we dropped our bags at the Consulate, we would get in the Niva and start our travel around the city. 
            Our job was to observe as much as possible of the construction of new warships at the many shipyards in and around Leningrad We would also observe what ships were in the harbor, and in the Neva River, including barges and ships, which traveled back and forth in the Soviet canal system.
            Some of the time, we would park our Niva and get out and walk, often in heavy snow, to get the best look at a particular intelligence target. 
            The KGB knew when we had filed to travel to Leningrad, and they generally followed us wherever we went.  Sometimes they followed us closely; sometimes they kept their distance. 
            Usually our routine included a walk along Lieutenant Schmidt’s Embankment of the Neva, where we could see a lot of ships tied up all along the embankment.               
            Slogging in that snow along Schmidt’s Bank was a cold exercise. 


Ships tied up along Schmidt’s Embankment, Vasilyevsky Island, St. Petersburg

Women’s Day in Leningrad—Fats took the day off.
            At Schmidt’s Bank hundreds of boats and often warships and submarines tied up.  Many of the smaller, lighter draft boats were awaiting a schedule to move up the canals that cut across Russia. Here we could see these boats and ships, and Red Fleet ships, and also ships under construction in the many shipyards of Leningrad
            Whenever we would take these walks, we tried to take along our cameras and collect photos of interesting things.  Photography in this area was forbidden, however.
            The KGB assigned an elderly “goon” that attachés named “Fats.”  He and some of his associates generally were around to follow us wherever we walked, or drove, and to make our job harder, or impossible.  They wore the red armbands of “Druzhniki,” or “concerned citizens.”  Sort of like elderly volunteers who operate as school crossing guards, except these were assigned to look after the foreign “spies.”  The Soviets considered all foreign diplomats spies—they hadn’t changed their attitude toward foreigners in centuries.

 Peter and Paul Fortress, from across the Neva

            One day, March the 8th, 1983 to be exact, it was International Women’s Day. Now, in fact, the Soviets didn’t care much about women’s rights, except the right of old women to stand in the street all day long in the winter, smashing ice with a heavy iron rod.
            But this day, as we arrived to do our job of collecting intelligence in Leningrad, there was NO KGB.  They had the day off!
            I was traveling with my assistant, Pierce Crabtree, a big, burly former Navy football player. With no KGB to bother us, we went wild photographing shipyards and ships and everything we could see.  We were driving a Soviet “Niva.”  4 x 4 vehicle.We thought this would be a great day to check out some radar installations near the Czars’ summer palace at Petrodvorets.  However, somewhere between Kipen’ and Ropsha, we got stuck in the snow. 
            If the KGB had been around, we would not have been able to get that far.  Now, free to travel, we had gone and gotten ourselves in trouble.  The snow was pretty deep.
Fortunately, along came a bus full of Russians.  The driver and some of the passengers got out and helped push us out of the snowbank. 
The KGB would NOT have helped us out of the snowbank, but these Russians were like good neighbors you meet anywhere in the world.

Those boots took me through all that snow.  Not only in Leningrad, but also in Riga, Latvia; Tallinn, Estonia; Volgograd (Stalingrad); Kiev, Ukraine; Irkutsk, Khabarovsk and Nakhodka, Siberia and many other places.
I’ll miss those boots, and I kind of miss all that snow.

Here are some items the Personal Navigator offers:

Memories of the Russian Court, First Edition, Reprinted, November 1923  by Viroubova, Anna 1923 New York, NY: The MacMillan Co. "It is with a prayerful heart and memories deep and reverent that I begin to write the story of my long and intimate friendship with Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas II….and of the tragedy of the Revolution which brought on her and hers such undeserved misery, and on our unhappy country such a black night of oblivion."  The author tells of life at court in St. Petersburg, and Peterhof, Tsarskoe Selo, Livadia and elsewhere; how the Emperor whistled for the Empress, the children, and for Viroubova. Book contains many excellent photos of the Imperial family, including several aboard the Imperial Yacht Standert.  Photos of letters from Nicholas II and his children to the author are particularly poignant. One of the last letters from the Empress was written in Old Slavonic.  400 pp. 14 x 20.6 cm. Brick red decorated cloth on board, very clean and fresh. Plate showing letters in Old Slavonic is loose. Owner bookplate (William C. Bowlen, Dec. 1923) on front endpaper. No dustjacket. Very good. (5706) $130.00. History/Russia

V.O.K.S. Published by the Soviet Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, Vol. II No. 4, 1931    Yoffe, Yakovlev, Semyakin, Mikhailov, Tsypkin, et al 1931 Moscow, USSR: VOKS,  Trubnikovsky Pereulok, 17. V.O.K.S. (Vsyesoyuznii Obschestvo Kulturniyi Svyazii Zagranitsiy), All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries was founded in 1925 and widely recognized as Stalin's heavy-handed effort at foreign propaganda.  "The Planning of Science"-- how it is done with the new Five-Year Plan, by the new socialist people. The language of the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" referring to the "shock-brigade troops and the storming detachment of Communist Youth" is so obviously immature, in its attempt to speak to a sophisticated foreign audience, yet satisfy all the propaganda needs of an ignorant bureaucracy at home. "Tecnics of the Future" by Academician A.F. Yoffe. talks of new ideas for harnessing solar energy, and efforts to harness water power (Volkhovstroi, Svirstroi, Dneprostroi). Poem "Industrial 1931" by Vassili Semyakin, a worker in a Moscow Co-operative Candy Factory. "The Fight for the Metal" story by N. Mikhailov, worker at the "Sickle and Hammer" Sheet-rolling Factory produces a fanciful story of the massive effort in the factory to fulfill the Five-Year Plan. Photos and text tell story of return of Maxim Gorki to Moscow in May, 1931. "What is Polytechnical Education?" by I. Pistrak includes photos of men and women learning on heavy machines. "Sverdlovia" Communist University by E. Ukhalov. Photo essay shows foreign workers in the USSR; Italian woman instructs Uzbek women workers in silk mill. 100 pp. 17 x 26 cm. Periodical, heavy cardboard cover loose from text block, spine worn, edges frayed. Fair. (8126) $85.00. History/Propaganda/Soviet Union

Detskoye Selo --Parks and Palaces  Tourist Guide for Intourists [in English] N. Arkhangelsky, Editor 1934 Leningrad, USSR: Park and Palace Dept., Leningrad Soviet. Early in the life of the Soviet Union, this little Stalin-era guide was produced for English-speaking Intourist visitors to St. Peterburg, and especially for the 26 kilometer trip  to Tsarskoye Selo, renamed by the Soviets "Detskoye Selo" or "Children's Village" in 1918, reflecting the Soviets' uneasiness with the history of the Tsars.  In re-naming it, the Soviets designated this village one for caring for children, and this text states that"formerly the domain of a privileged few, have become a source of education and enlightenment" for the masses. In 1937 it was re-named "Pushkin". Text in this little book tells about life in the time of the Tsars, but is generous with the Soviet approach. Photos show Catherine Palace, Gala Hall, Amber Hall, Large Throne Hall, White Hall, Drawing Room, Private Chambers of Catherine II, Alexander Palace, Chinese Theatre, more. 64 pp.10.7 x 14.4 cm. Paper booklet with dustjacket with view of Catherine Palace, minor wear and chips on dustjacket, booklet very good. (8122) $65.00. Travel

Leningrad --Putyevodityel' dlya Inturistov Guide for Intourists [in English]           N. Arkhangelsky, Editor 1934 Leningrad, USSR: Park and Palace Dept., Leningrad Soviet. Early in the life of the Soviet Union, this little guide was produced for English-speaking Intourist visitors to St. Petersburg. Text in this little book is heavy with early Soviet jargon, touting the Land of Glorious Socialism. Pictures of Statue of Lenin, Ploschad Vostaniya, Winter Palace, the Neva, The Europe Hotel, Statue of Peter I, Exchange and Rostral Columns, Tractor Street more.  Cover features drawing of Rostral column.  64 pp. 10.7 x 14.4 cm. Paper booklet with dustjacket containing picture of scene along the Neva. Minor wear and chips on dustjacket, booklet very good. (8120) $35.00. Travel

Peterhof --Parks and Palaces  Tourist Guide to Tsar's Summer Residence near Leningrad [in English] N. Arkhangelsky, Editor 1934 Leningrad, USSR: Park and Palace Dept., Leningrad Soviet. Early in the life of the Soviet Union, this little guide was produced for English-speaking Intourist visitors to St. Petersburg, and especially for the 30 kilometer trip by water to Peterhof. Text in this little book tells about life in the time of the Tsars, but is generous with the Soviet approach, noting that at Peterhof is now a town of rest for the workers of the Soviet Union. Photos show Mon Plaisir, Study and Chair of Peter I, Large Fountain Cascade and Palace,  front staircase, Chesma Hall, Peter's Hall, Picture Hall, Gothic Chapel, Railroad Carriages of Nicholas II, more. Dust jacket  features drawing of Fountains.  64 pp. 10.7 x 14.4 cm. Paper booklet with dustjacket, minor wear and chips on dustjacket, booklet very good. (8121) $35.00. Travel

Posev Ezhenedelnik Obschestvennoy I Politichestkoi Mysli (Weekly Social and Political Thought), with Zarubezhnoe Prllozhenoye (The Sowing, and anti-Bolshevik Journal,  with foreign supplement), Sunday, 27 December 1953. [In Russian]  1953 Munich, Germany: Posev Izdatyels'stvo Posev (The sowing) was the journal of an anti-Bolshevik organization. "Military Attaché in Moscow-- Richard Hilton" tells story of his work in USSR. Lead article in this issue: "Process of G. Mueller (N. Khorunzhego) is Completed"--On Friday 18 December the Frankfurt American Court completed the process of George Muller (N. Khorunzhego) and his wife Elizabeth Mueller, accused of Soviet Espionage. This report takes up nearly three pages of this issue. Bureau of KTsAV has asked to publish this letter to the Editor of the Washington Post that underlines the fact that American social opinion wholly approves of the Committee for Freeing from Bolshevism, etc. Letter, from Munich, is signed by S.P. Mel'gunov, President of Bureau. Ads for forthcoming issue of "Mysl'" (Thought) from the Posev Press; Bust of A.S. Pushkin, price 16.50 Marks (20 kron.); ad for gift books for Christmas from Posev Press includes several by N. Gogol, one by N. Nekrasov, one by Tretyakov, one by Chekhov, and one by L. Tolstoi. "Sovietskie Prosoyuzi" (Soviet Tradeunions) by S. Kursanov.  "Za Slovesnoi Shirmoi" (Behind the Masked Words) --- "Besklassove Obschestvo" (Classless Society); "Diktatura Proteliariata"  (Dictatorship of the Proletariat); "Religia--Opium dlya Naroda" (Religion--opium for the people); "Akuli s Uoll-Streeta" (Sharks of Wall Street). 16 pp. 30 x 42 cm. Newspaper, small tear in fold, main section unopened, very good.(8079) $33.00. Cold War

Soviet Theatre ca. 1950 Moscow, USSR. Collection of photos of Soviet theatre performances of 1950s, including actors Y. Tolubeyev, Z. Kirienko, A. Shatov, G. Stepanova, G. Menglet, V. Lepko, A. Kruglov, V. Orlova, T. Samoilova, R. Nifontova, V. Pashennaya and A. Katsynsky; Ballerina Galina Ulanova as Juliet, Yuri Zhdanov as Romeo. 26 pp. 27 x 18 cm. (5695) $15.00. Travel/Educational

 Hitler Marches in the Soviet Zone of Germany by Otto. Bertram 1961 Bonn, Germany: Berto-Verlag G.M.B.H. Book of excellent photos of Nazi era and Soviet era show how Hitler's regime is re-created by Soviets in their zone of Germany under Ulbricht. Same no-choice elections, Same dullness. Same marching troops. Same police state. Very skilful, sometimes funny anti-Soviet propaganda.  94 pp. 24 x 22 cm. Paper booklet, cover shows photos of Nazi troops marching for Hitler and Soviet troops marching with same goose-step. Cover shows moderate wear, very good. (6546)  $22.00. Cold War/Communism