Thursday, September 10, 2009

Forgotten Photo Friday, Gloucester gets Short Changed by the Mint.

Friday is the day when I go back into the archives and dig up some photo that I have forgotten about or never got around to posting. This first photo is from last Saturday and probably never would have been published. The last three are just little gems that illustrate the piece.

Gloucester gets Short Changed by the Mint




With great sadness, I must report that the wishes of our fellow Massachusetts citizens and the people of Gloucester have been overturned by bureaucracy. We, the citizens of Massachusetts were asked if we wanted to put the Fisherman’s Statue on the back of a quarter. We responded, “Yes.” The Mint responded, “No.”

Forgotten Photo, click to enlarge.When I interviewed for work in Gloucester three years ago, I entered the first rotary on the drive into town and saw the welcoming sign with an image of the “Man at the Wheel”. Although I had never been to Gloucester, I felt that I had seen the Fisherman’s Statue somewhere in a distant time and place, almost like it was a part of a dream. Maybe it was a post card, maybe it was on a map, who knows? It seemed so fitting. This is Gloucester.

And when I did see the real statue on “The Boulevard”, it was magical. There it was, the “Man at the Wheel”, the Fishermen’s Statue. A man at the helm of some unknown schooner, sailing out of Gloucester Harbor, not realizing that he will never come back. At the foot of the statue are the names of all those known to have been lost at sea from our port.

I walk The Boulevard quite frequently, past the Fishermen’s Statue. I have seen the endless numbers of tourist take pictures of the statue. I have even taken group pictures for some of them so that they can all be seen together. Some are happy and jubilant and others are solemn as they read the names of those that have gone down.

Forgotten Photo, click to enlarge.As a child, I leaned about the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Salem witch trials. We are all told of the role of Boston, Lexington and Concord and the “shot that was heard ‘round the world.” We do not hear about Gloucester, founded 1623. This is a town steeped in history and has put fish on the tables of millions. Gloucester, launching point to the Grand Banks, home to immigrants and subject of the art works of Oliver Wendell Holms, Fitz Hough Lane, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Charles Olson.

But what a price was paid for her sea heritage? Going out to sea without GPS, without weather faxes, radios, position transponders or even hope of having a USCG rescue was what our forefather fishermen faced daily. We were reminded of this with the recent visits of two storms Bill and Danny that came within a week of each other. This would have been very perilous for the unwarned wooden boats on the sea. Thus in some years as many as two thousand sailors were lost.

Forgotten Photo, click to enlarge.Yes, I walk The Boulevard and see the tourist. I like to watch them when they first see the Man at the Wheel. Every so often, I see a couple or a family looking and point at some name on the brass plaques. I know that when they are standing and pointing at a name that is near the end that it is personal. And when I walk on Pavilion Beach and find a bouquet of dead flowers washed up as I so often do, I now that someone has come to remember a lost loved one.

This is Gloucester.

It is my sincere hope that the wishes of the citizens of Massachusetts will be honored and the US Mint will place The Fisherman’s Statue on a quarter, as we were asked and we responded, 4:1 over the next choice.

13 comments:

Hundewanderer said...

What a lovely story, thank you for sharing. hugs from Hundewanderer

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

A wonderful post Steve. What a pity about the statue.

Frank said...

Steve I couldn't have said it any better myself. You hit the nail on the head with this one

Roy said...

That's a shame Steve. The Fisherman is far more symbolic than what was chosen.

Chris said...

hi Steve,
This is a very nice story! And I love the picture you did with the moon. Concerning bureaucracy, we all know what it is and that the opinion of people often does not count. A pity.
Have a nice week end.

goodmorninggloucester said...

Well said Steve, well said. You sure you've only been here for three years, LOL!

The Early Birder said...

Steve, through your lens & words I am beginning to understand more clearly the history of Gloucester. Let's hope that common sense & the citizen's wishes will prevail. FAB

Anonymous said...

What was chosen to be on the new quarter?

Steve B said...

I know folks, it's a shame. The historical park in Lowell was chosen.

Paul F Frontiero Jr. said...

Beautiful

Pagan Sphinx said...

How sad. You wrote such a poignant tribute to Glouster's sea faring past. Such hard work and, at times, so much sadness and tragedy and courage.

I wonder if the Mint simply can't bring itself to honor the honest hard work of immigrant Americans.

A fellow Massachusetts-ite. :-)

P.S. I'm glad you've enjoyed the photos from Portugal. In recent visits there, I haven't been able to visit the small fishing villages; some of which still maintain some small fishing industry; mixed with quaint attractions for the tourists. In any event, I am always interested in the history of people anywhere. How can one not be?

Denise said...

A fantastic post Steve and amazing images. It is a great pity that the fisherman wasn't chosen.

matthew houskeeper said...

Now I need to go learn the history of this statue. When it was created etc.
I agree, it would have been an excellent and appropriate choice.

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