• December 21 2018,  Lynnfield,  Peabody

    Buon Natale – the rich Christmas traditions of Italy

    Buon Natale – the rich Christmas traditions of Italy  By Helen Breen    Italians celebrate Christmas for a full month from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 through the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Although some regional differences exist, the month basically is devoted to religious observances and spending time with family and friends. While food is an essential focus of the season, other traditions include: The crèche The presepe or crib, depicting the stable scene surrounding the birth of Christ, is essential to the observance of Christmas. Its origins date back to St. Francis of Assisi, who in 1223 wished to create a “natural…

  • December 21 2018,  Revere

    First female City Council President and Vice President “dynamic duo” adorned with flowers

    By Tara Vocino A historic moment was celebrated Monday night during the last City Council meeting of the calendar year when the first-ever female City Council President and City Council Vice President, who served the city together in 2018, were recognized inside the City Council Chambers – and adorned with beautiful flowers. City Council President Jessica Giannino and City Council Vice President Joanne McKenna were voted by their male colleagues to hold the positions of Council President and Council Vice President throughout 2018. According to Giannino, the council elects its own president and vice president yearly. City Clerk Ashley Melnik said on Tuesday that there is no ordinance regarding length…

  • December 14 2018,  Lynnfield

    Victorian Christmas traditions were soon adopted in America

    By Helen Breen   At the beginning of the 19th century, Christmas was hardly observed in Britain, or on this side of the Atlantic. But by the turn of the 20th century, the holiday was commonly celebrated in the Western world. Certainly, Queen Victoria’s marriage to her beloved Prince Albert influenced her to adopt his German tradition of the Christmas tree “bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts.” Many other customs around the Yuletide soon followed.   Christmas cards In 1843 Sir Henry Cole was too busy to send traditional handwritten greetings to his friends so he commissioned an artist to design the first “Christmas card,” depicting…

  • Lynnfield,  November 21 2018,  Peabody

    Norman Rockwell depicted an idealized version of American Thanksgiving

    Norman Rockwell depicted an idealized version of American Thanksgiving By Helen Breen “Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn’t the perfect place I had thought it to be, I unconsciously decided that if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be, and so painted only the ideal aspects of it.”   So wrote Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), American painter extraordinaire, reflecting back on his life’s work. Recognized for his artistic talents very young, he received his initial commission at age 17. By his early 20’s, he was designing the first of 321 covers for the Saturday Evening Post, in a relationship that would last for 47 years. In…

  • Lynnfield,  November 16 2018

    Cranberries, an essential ingredient in our Thanksgiving feasts

     By Helen Breen   The first Thanksgiving dates back to November 1621, when those hardy Pilgrims who had survived the first winter at Plymouth Plantation gathered with neighboring Wampanoag Indians for a harvest celebration. Puritan chronicler Edward Winslow recorded that Governor William Bradford “sent four men on a fowling mission in preparation for the three-day event.” Presumably, hunters returned with an ample supply of wild turkeys that were plentiful in the area, along with ducks and geese. Their “stuffing” may have been made with herbs, onions and nuts. Winslow noted that the Wampanoag guests arrived with “an offering of five deer.” Most culinary historians agree that cranberries, in some form,…

  • November 9 2018,  Saugus

    Historical Note: Saugus son Arlie Pond made international news in two very different careers

      Editor’s Note: Saugus Historical Society President Laura Eisener submitted the following article to The Saugus Advocate. It was initially published in the society’s newsletter in 2014. In an email last week, she notes she wrote the article “about a Saugonian who served in the Spanish American War and World War I as an Army surgeon, and who became so revered in the Philippines that a street was named after him.”   “Born in Saugus, Dr. Pond was in Manila near the end of World War I, but was travelling to Vladivostok in late fall of 1918, arriving on November 11, the day the armistice was signed. He had grown attached…

  • Lynnfield,  November 9 2018

    Commemorating the Centennial of the World War I Armistice

    Lynnfield honored the service of “the Boys” who served “Over There” By Helen Breen The town of Lynnfield rose to the occasion in supporting the troops when the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. American forces under General John J. Pershing arrived on the Western Front in the summer of 1918, contributing significantly to the Allied victory declared on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.   The home front Lynnfield, with its sparse population of 1,100, made significant contributions to the “war effort.” Some 245 residents became members of the Red Cross. Those in the Center were under the direction of Dexter F. Parker. Parker also produced…

  • Lynnfield,  November 2 2018

    Remembering Lynnfield Gold Star Heroes of the Korean and Vietnam Eras

    By Helen Breen As Veterans Day approaches, let us reflect on the lives of five young Lynnfield men who made the ultimate sacrifice during the time of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. These accounts are based on the research done by Evelyn Zynsky in “Lynnfield’s Gold Star Servicemen: World War II, Korea, Viet Nam,” which was published in 2002. At the age of 78, Evelyn, with the help of her husband John, both members of the “Greatest Generation,” chronicled the bravery of their 13 contemporaries who died in World War II. They then moved on to the later conflicts of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Lynnfield heroes of these wars…

  • Lynnfield,  October 26 2018

    The Halloween Folk Art of Will Moses; Halloween in Lynnfield

     By Helen Breen (Will’s story and images from willmoses.com)   “Soft, shadowy foothills dotted with traditional white farmhouses; weathered red barns tilted haphazardly on broad patchwork sweeps of green and hay-gold fields; small clusters of black and white cows grazing placidly in the distance … it’s all part of Moses Country” – artist Will Moses, that is. His studio in Eagle Bridge, New York, near the Vermont border channels “the white house where the legendary Grandma Moses, began her career.” Like his great-grandmother, “Will has created a vivid, delightful miniature world, peopled with villagers who have stepped out of the past to charm us with their simple, everyday pastimes.” Encouraged…

  • Lynnfield,  October 5 2018

    Remembering Perley Burrill’s in other days

    By Helen Breen     Perley Burrill, a young man who has been a resident of this town for five years, has, through thrift, energy, perseverance, hard work and fair dealings with the public built up a business that shows what aggressiveness and progressiveness can do.   Starting on the lowest rung of the ladder, by taking over the gas station on Salem Street, with its obsolete equipment, he has improved and modernized it so that it ranks among the best in the state.   From the Lynnfield Village Press, November 30, 1939     Such was the self-promoting publicity generated by Perley Burrill in his early entrepreneurial days. An…