Goodness, I blinked and discovered Valentine’s Day had come and gone. Yesterday, though, I was planning to get to the Seniors Serving Seniors Valentine’s Day breakfast at Danvers High School.

It’s been an annual event for many years and included different choral directors. Alex Grover has thoughtfully brought a group of his singers to entertain the Danvers seniors since he came aboard.

If I remember correctly, though, last year a snowstorm canceled school, therefore no Valentine’s Day breakfast.

Since I have to have this column finished by Tuesday at noon, I have to assume the breakfast went off without a hitch, especially since the forecast sounded OK.

You will just have to wait until next week to see any pictures.


Yesterday, I was also planning to stop at New Brothers sometime around 4:30 p.m., to catch the Northshoremen’s romantic love songs they usually croon for the diners.

I was looking forward to seeing and hearing the barbershop singers’ rendition of some romantic numbers, you know, the songs with the words that still make sense to many of us.


Friday night was one of those chockfull-of-events evenings. John Archer was very excited about the show the Art Association put on together with Jeff Surette, art teacher at the Holten-Richmond Middle School.

The artwork by the students was phenomenal. Photographer Jeannine Pelkey was a substantial part of the event and she was there for the judging Thursday.

Each of the 75 middle school artists that participated entered one work for the judged show and from what we’ve heard, it was a tremendous success.


Gail Eaton and I went to the PEM’s (Peabody Essex Museum) most recent exhibit that was launched at Friday night’s press night and Salem neighborhood opening.

PlayTime is on view through May 6 and it’s the kind of exhibit kids (over 4) and adults of any age will enjoy.

According to the press packet, PEM “debuts the first major thematic exhibition to survey the rapidly evolving role of contemporary art and culture. … Play is a catalyst for creativity, where we make up the rules and learn how to negotiate and resolve conflict.”

The exhibit was introduced by Trevor Smith, exhibition curator and PEM’s Curator of the Present Tense.

“This is the first major thematic exhibition to survey the rapidly evolving role of play in contemporary art and culture,” he said.

Now I know that sounds overwhelming, but the bottom line is that PlayTime is important.

“Play helps us possess a power for change.” Smith continued. “It’s fundamentally about human empowerment.”

Do not be intimidated; just go and enjoy the entire exhibit. I certainly did and I am a Type A person who feels guilty doing something just for fun when I have so many things to do.

So, since Gail and I really didn’t know what to expect, we went for it all. One of the things we particularly enjoyed was a room filled with big pink balloons. There were so many I didn’t think any more could fit in and certainly not adults and children as well.

We all seemed to rally, though, when we were told we had to make it out the other exit at the end of the display. Of course, the challenge is to somehow get through the room, reach the door and escape without letting the balloons out.

At first, I think we all went in assuming we would immediately leave, but that’s not really what you are supposed to do. Instead of making the escape an intense part of the installation, just relax and go for it. After all, what’s more fun than being launched into a room full of pink balloons?

Interestingly, once you let yourself enjoy it for what it is, you start to laugh at all of us intent on getting out. Like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, we met the challenges and got to Oz, or rather the exit door.

Gail and I were laughing so hard we were actually having fun. It’s a good thing we couldn’t see ourselves the way others saw us.

“You should see your hair standing up (from the static electricity),” Gail said.

“You should see yours,” I said in return.

Hey, no one ever said this was going to be a beauty contest! It’s more like a let your hair down — or in this case up — experience.

As we continued our escorted tour, we passed by some youngsters working with supplies bent on making their own Chagall or Picasso. The important thing is there is no right or wrong; it’s whatever you want it to be.

Suddenly we found ourselves in a room that was very familiar to me. It was the maritime historic East India Marine Hall that used to hold some pretty interesting marine objects. It was a place my young sons and my husband loved to spend time.

It still has a collection of carved nautical female figureheads high on a wall; they were once mounted on a ship’s bow. In the early days of seafaring, when wooden ships sailed the seas, carved figureheads depicting women were also known as “Neptune’s wooden angels.” That’s a lot better than the Sirens, the dangerous ladies who lured men to their deaths with their voices.

Instead of the wooden ship paraphernalia in that room now, there are seven pairs of spinning carwash brushes in various sizes and colors which “move in a choreography of color and light.”

As soon as I walked into the room and saw the spinning brushes, I immediately thought of Hartnett’s car wash. Those brushes do yeoman’s work, the PEM brushes, Simple Couples, are “moving in a mesmerizing mix of color and rhythm.”


Sunday, Gayla Bartlett, who had brought the idea of a judged potluck lunch contest to the Maple Street Church, asked me to be the mystery celebrity judge. There were two other judges, Paul Pepper, an active church member, and John Moresco, manager partner of the Danvers Texas Road House.

Gayla and Paul’s wife, Donna Pepper, were right on top of things as part of the committee. They had prepared cups with something like 18 food samples, including two children’s offerings.

Judging so many proved to be quite a challenge. It was interesting to see the variety of dishes from macaroni and cheese to pork, London broil, several chicken dishes ranging from baked stuffed to Chinese style orange chicken, from the simple to the gourmet.

Those folks who stayed after services were treated to a very nice lunch buffet augmented by chicken tenders from Texas Road House and some other dishes.

First prize went to Grace Phinney for her Cranberry-Sausage Puff; 2nd to Judy Manuel, for Orange Balsamic Chicken; 3rd to Lynne Duffill for Lemon Cream Cake; and fourth or honorable mention was won by Julia Martin for her Boeuf Bourguignon.

In the kids division, Morgan Costa won first for her Lemon Cake and Grace Lawler won second for her spaghetti and meatballs.

Everyone truly seemed to be having a great time.


Since we are giving out accolades, we have to share this one C.R. Lyons posted on Facebook about a month ago. He was praising Kathy Ciman, our conscientious downtown parking clerk (Meter Maid in Boston) for her random acts of kindness.

According to C.R., she’s always on the alert to make things better in the downtown area, whether it’s ensuring a broken fence in a municipal lot be repaired, a dying tree be replaced, or …… fines for parking in a handicapped parking space, Kathy is a dedicated town servant,” C.R. wrote in Facebook.

“She does her job above and beyond every day and Danvers is lucky to have her — even if you have been the victim of a parking ticket. Today I saw her going above and beyond yet again, and her good deed shouldn’t go unnoticed. There she was, unasked, digging out the fire hydrants on Maple Street during her rounds. Kudos, Kathy. Thank you for making our town a better place.”

We definitely agree.


Last week, I was listening to a newscast and the word wonky came up in a political situation. Frankly, I never heard of it.

I subscribe to the theory that we are never too old to learn something new so I Googled the word. I discovered it can be used in two different contexts. The first is crooked or askew like: the table was wonky because one of the legs was too short.

Since the word was used in a political context, this definition was more appropriate. It refers to someone who is bogged down with minutiae: Wonky “connotes the kind of expertise that only a long-time insider within a given field can have, and it often comes up in politics, where a wonky person is one who is immersed in the details of policy.”

I’m sure you also know some wonky politicians and people like that.


It’s no wonder that the folks who graduated with the Danvers High School Class of 1977 didn’t know RoseAnne DeFrances.

Sunday, when I was at the Maple Street Congregational Church for the food judging, Bob Wilkinson, a member of the DHS Class of 1967, the one that recently celebrated its 50th reunion, told me that RoseAnne was not a member of the Class of 1977, which I had been led to believe, but she is a 1967 graduate and member of his class.

Funny, when someone brought it to my attention, I did question it, but when I checked the press release sent to me, it definitely made RoseAnne 10 years younger and that’s not so bad for the woman who had served in several different positions.

When she retired recently, it was from her last position as chief development officer when she was lauded at the Children of Promise Gala in her honor.


We are sending belated condolences to John Archer, who had to fly to London a few weeks ago to be at the wake and funeral of his 2-1/2-year-old grandnephew, Henry Delaney, John’s sister’s grandson.

Rob had grown up in Marblehead, but now lives, as they say, across the pond. Henry had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, shortly after his first birthday, his dad, actor Rob Delaney put on Facebook.

Henry had surgery to remove the tumor and further treatment through the early part of 2017. Then the cancer returned last autumn and he died in January.

Rob Delaney is a British actor who stars in and co-writes the show “Catastrophe.”

“Henry was a joy,” his dad wrote. “He was smart, funny, and mischievous and we had so many wonderful adventures together, particularly after he’d moved home following 15 months living in hospitals. His tumor and surgery left him with significant physical disabilities, but he quickly learned sign language and developed his own method of getting from A to B shuffling.”

We send our sympathy to all the family in London and America.


I’m sure you have been watching the Olympics, as have I. The action comes on so late in most cases and keeps many of us awake so that we don’t miss anything.

I feel like a zombie in the morning.

I can’t tell you how proud I am of our athletes. They have really been performing under a tremendous amount of pressure and they’ve been doing quite well under not-so-great conditions.

Wow, the wind and the cold plus icy conditions have been very difficult for athletes like the skiers, snowboarders and those who faced shiny ice as they participated in the luge.

Between those conditions and the athletes’ nervousness, it’s been quite a challenge for the participants and the families who are there with them.


Speaking of families, we heard something special that United Airlines recently did. American ice skater Bradie Tennell’s wish was to have her parents and her bother share her excitement as she competed in the solo skating competition. (She skated beautifully and gave the worldwide audience a flawless presentation.)

The one thing that would have been missing was her family so one of her friends started a GO FUND ME page hoping to raise enough for her parents and brother to be with her.

When United Airlines heard about it, they provided the three plane tickets for mom, dad and brother to Pyeongchang. What a thrill for all of them!

Now that’s a lot better than dragging someone off a plane.


Hopefully, as we continue to watch the Olympics, we will see more medals on our American Athletes and of course, we will be watching women’s hockey with Danvers’ own Meghan Duggan as captain.

We wish the women all sorts of good luck and we also wish the same for all our athletes.