From Sista Felicia: Don’t forget to leave your shoes out tonight….

Italy Magazine best explains why in an article published October 31st, 2011.

“The 1st of November is a national holiday in Italy, known as Tutti i Santi or Ognissanti, which celebrates all saints and is followed by All Souls Day on the 2nd of November, a day devoted to honor loved ones who have passed away.

Il Giorno dei Morti begins at dawn with a somber Mass for the dead, offering prayers and alms for the deceased. After Mass, families visit the graveyard to pay tribute to the faithful who have gone before them. At the cemetery, the graves of family members are decorated with mums and candles.

Yet, the day is not only a solemn affair and the remembrance of the deceased can turn into a celebratory occasion in certain regions, especially in Sicily.

In Sicilian, this ‘day of the dead’ is known as “U juornu re muorti.” Children wake up hoping to find a treat from relatives not yet forgotten. The ‘muorti’ bring presents of toys and sweets. The tradition serves to strengthen family bonds, linking children to family members who have come and gone before them.

Until a few decades ago, this was in fact the only celebration of the year when children received presents, usually sweets and toys. Today there are many other occasions during the year (Christmas, Epifania, Birthdays, etc.) and the tradition risks to loose its strength. But parents continue to warn their children to behave in hopes that “i bonarmuzza re muorticieddi” (the good souls of the dead) might bring them presents. The young ones wake up on the 2nd of November to hunt for presents that had been hidden around the house.

One of the most common treats is Frutta Martorana, sweets made of almond paste that are expertly crafted to look like fruits. The marzipan delicacies are a specialty in Palermo, Sicily, where they are said to have been first made by nuns at the Monastero della Martorana. The nuns prepared the ‘Frutta’ in honor of a visiting archibishop at Easter time. The bishop was so impressed by the convincing display of fruit and vegetables that he declared that a miracle must have occurred to allow such a bountiful harvest so early in spring.”

Today, November 1st, 2012 All Saints Day

I awoke this morning and immediately reached for my cell phone to send a text message to my daughter Amanda at boarding school, reminding her that today is all Saints Day, and to go to the campus Chapel to say a special prayer. I reminded her to place her shoes next to her dorm room door tonight before she went to bed and to think of special times with deceased family members and to have happy thoughts of them as she dozes off to sleep. This custom my Grandmother Felicia and Grandpa Joe kept alive in our family for as long as I can remember. It got me thinking about the good times spent with them at this time of year…

Halloween for My Family was Always a Special Night.

Grandma Felicia & Grandpa Joe resided on Tolman Avenue, overlooking Gloucester’s beautiful Harbor. It was “The Place” to be On October 31st. Our entire family would celebrate at their home with extended family and friends. It was always our last stop of the evening, “The Place” where we all wanted to be. For many of us it may have seemed like it was only for the giant-size candy bars Grandma was known to give, but truthfully it was for her delicious covered pizza, sweet treats, and endless bottles of Twin Light Soda. Back in those days it was simply unheard of to give giant-size candy bars to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. I have said many times before that my Grandmother Felicia was way ahead of her times, in so many different ways. She should be credited as “The Inventor of Super Sizing Food,” after all, she was doing it long before it was fashionable! Her tradition of handing out giant-size candy bars is one example of how modern she was. Although she was known as a beautiful modern woman for her day, she remained old fashioned in her ways of sharing traditions and keeping them alive.

My Grandfather Joe and Grandmother Felicia were known to be great story tellers. I remember especially that on Halloween night Grandpa Joe would have all 7 grandchildren’s undivided attention while telling crazy stories about some deceased family member or how they almost became deceased. Like the time when pirates boarded the Benjamin C, his fishing boat, which is a great story to be told another time but, to sum it up quickly, the pirates took over the boat, then left he and his crew on an island where the Indians came out of nowhere and scalped his hair right off his head–and that’s why he was bald! Needless to say the stories that he told in their downstairs kitchen are forever priceless. Through his repertoire of old stories, some fiction and some not, my cousins and I learned about our heritage and deceased relatives. Through his gift of storytelling he gave each and every one of us an understanding of how important it is to keep deceased loved ones connected with future generations.

We left their home each Halloween night filled with sweets and stories. In the midst of a mass exit from their home Grandma Felicia had a magical way of stopping the chaos to deliver a very important message every year. It became quiet while everyone stood by their back door (the boys dripping in sweat from running around the house and makeup running down my cousin Licia’s and my faces) as she reminded each of us to prepare for All Souls Days on November 2nd, by placing our shoes by the front door the next evening before we went to bed on November 1st All Saints Day. She would remind us not to be afraid of the souls of deceased; that it was a good thing that they visit while you sleep. She recommended we welcome their visit by sharing stories and fond memories of departed loved ones before going to bed on All Saints Day.

I encourage all of you to take some time tonight to reminisce with your children and to keep the memories of deceased ones alive, and to tuck a little something into their shoes placed by your front door. In the morning I guarantee you will see joy in their eyes and a smile across their face when they realize they had a visitor from their someone special while sleeping.

I’ll be missing my Amanda tonight and tomorrow morning but I know she, too, will keep our tradition of Celebrating All Saints Day and All Souls Day, no matter how far away she may live from home.

Breaking News: Berklee in Gloucester Indie Rock Tickets Available Now

You heard it FIRST on GMG: Tickets just went on sale for the next Berklee in Gloucester benefit on November 29 (the Thursday after Thanksgiving) at Latitude 43.  This is our first Indie Rock Night featuring one of Boston’s top Indie bands, The Shills with local rising stars, Renee & Joe.  Space is limited, it’s an ALL AGES SHOW, so get your tickets now.  Check out The Shills in this video (more excellent videos of The Shills here).

This concert features recent Berklee alumni from Boston and Gloucester sharing the stage to help send a Gloucester student to Berklee (more about the Scholarship Fund).  When you think of Berklee College of Music, you might think Jazz only, but Berklee is all about contemporary music, which was Jazz when Berklee was founded in 1945, and now includes  genres that didn’t even exist then.  Check out this from  Berklee’s About page:

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For more than half a century, the college has evolved to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business, leading the way with the world’s first baccalaureate studies in jazz, rock, electric guitar, film scoring, songwriting, turntables, electronic production, and more than a dozen other genres and fields of study. 

Simply put, if you want to study contemporary music — from Jazz to whatever genre becomes the next big thing — and you can get in to Berklee (not so easy) that’s where you want to be.  So, save the date Thursday, November 29 and come to Latitude 43 to hear some of the best Indie Rock on the planet — and, who knows, you may be helping to send the next big rock star to Berklee.

Remember, it’s an all ages show, so you can bring your kids and introduce them to the latest generation of Berklee rock stars.

Give a Gift for Good

Looking for the perfect holiday gift?  Want to get something special, one of a kind and handmade?  Well then look no further, visit Haiti Projects located at 136 Rantoul Street in Beverly, MA, shop online or visit The Gloucester Bookstore who has been a large supporter of Haiti Projects since the start.  Also, find us at any of the Fairs listed below in the Greater Boston area.

Haiti Projects was founded by Annisquam native, Sarah Hackett, in 1994.  She wanted to empower the women in the area of Fond des Blancs, Haiti through employment, not a handout.  Since then, Haiti Projects has grown to employ up to 100 women, provide a women’s health clinic and library for the area.  A whole generation of children have been educated, fed, and clothed because of the extraordinary talents and hard work of their mothers.

Every year, we look for new and exciting designs for our customers. This year, we are announcing leather handbags, made from goat leather.  Indigenous to Haiti, these soft and supple bags are the perfect holiday treat for you, or for someone else.  Inspired by Haitian designer Prajje Jean Baptiste this design embodies the promise of a new high end Haiti. To see our other products, learn about our other projects and how you can help visit  Happy Holidays!

*Mention this GMG post online or when you visit our locations and receive 5% off of your order!

2012 Fairs           


Darmouth Fair, 40 College Road, Dartmouth, NH 11/2-4

Harvard UU Church, 9 Ayer Road, Harvard, MA 11/18


Cultural Bizarre Harvard University’s CGIS
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 12/7-9 & 12/15-16

Le March de Noel French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough Street Boston, MA 12/8

Thank you Felicia and Alex for a Double Whammy of Deliciousness!

Lucky Mom Post #2 and Lucky Friend!

I hope you are not hungry while looking at the following mouth-watering deliciousness.  I am straight out with work and again came home to the most fabulous dinner–Son Alex’s deluxe veggie delight Swiss burger.

On our porch table I discovered a Sista Felicia-super-surprise-melt-in-your-mouth chocolate-concoction-Halloween-treat. Did I mention I am very blessed with both thoughtful son and dear friend? Thank you Felicia and Alex for a double whammy of deliciousness!

Sista Felicia’s Halloween Treats

Washed up Finback Whale Being Disassembled!

The finback whale that has traveled the currents of the Boston and the North Shore to rest, post-Superstorm Sandy, on Cape Hedge beach, was taken apart by a team of hearty souls armed with butcher knives and a whetstone this morning. It looked like bloody hard work, hacking away gigantic pieces of flesh and whale muscle from gigantic bones. Like butchering a school bus.  Most of the people wielding the knives looked suitably attired with commercial rain gear covering all the parts that mattered, but a few looked like they had drifted over from the North Shore Mall with only sweatpants — sweatpants! — standing between their own flesh and that of the whale. Thousands of pounds of rotting whale flesh. I’m just guessing that those sweatpants, having absorbed dead whale moisture, are going straight into the trash can just off the beach, as it would be better to ride home naked than wearing sweatpants saturated with the smell of long-dead marine life.

The smell was epic when you were downwind, and on the car ride on the way home the air began to fill with an aroma suspiciously similar to that of our dead friend. It turns out that my 3-year-old managed to step in an infinitestimal string of whale flesh residue. His little shoes will probably be a casualty of the day along with the whale team members’ sweatpants.

It was an amazing sight and hats off to the team from Mass Wildlife and the New England Aquarium and the guy at the Rockport DPW who handled the backhoe with the delicacy of a surgeon. It was a rare privilege to see, here in New England and in this high-tech age, people on the beach breaking down a whale by hand, just like our ancestors. But in this case the whale died of natural causes and even better, he will live on in perpetuity, recreated piece by piece for display in a museum. Experiences like this remind me that living here on Cape Ann is a rare sort of gift.

The spinal cord

Whale butchering as a Family Field Trip! The 6-year-old is grossed out. The 3-year-old seems confused. The baby (not shown) just seems bored.
Jawbones of the whale: the first pieces of the skeleton loaded into the trailer.

Cape Ann Big Band Benefit for WWII Memorial @ Gloucester House on Veterans Day

There simply isn’t a better way to celebrate Veterans Day than to support the people who serve in the military and the memorials we build to those who “gave the last full measure of devotion”.   Lily Linquata sent this notice about the event that is from 3-6pm next Sunday.  If you’ve never seen the Cape Ann Big Band live, this is your perfect opportunity!

Join Gloucester’s WWII Veterans Memorial Committee and friends on this upcoming Veteran’s Day — Sunday, November 11, 2012 — for a Cape Ann Big Band concert to benefit the perpetual care of Gloucester’s WWII Memorial on Kent Circle. Starting at 3pm and going until 6pm, tickets are $20 each. Tickets are on sale now at The Gloucester House or via Connie Condon.

Cape Ann Big Band frequently sells out so don’t wait too long to get your tickets for this sure-to-be excellent event. As there will be no reserved seats, it is also important to be on time. Doors will open at 2:45.

CAST productions opening tonight!

This Thursday night (opening night) is pay-what-you-like, so it’s a great opportunity to get a taste of live performance of Shakespeare at a bargain price! Not that the regular ticket price of $15 is expensive to begin with…
I was there for some of the rehearsals and it looks like these two plays will be really good!

Fr. Matthew Green

Community Stuff 11/1/12


Special Thanks To International Dory Volunteers From Erik Dombrowski

A special note of thanks is due to volunteers who helped to remove some dories and some who volunteered their own trailers or power boat to help with the process.

Terry Greel, James & Hilary Frye, Joe Novello & Mark Harmon (boat towing crew), & Mike Harmon

2 boats in and 4 boats out in record time!

Thanks again, Erik


Cape Ann Shakespeare Troupe



Hey Joey,
This weekend in Littleton, MA, Theatre with a Twist’s production of "Peter
Pan" will get a little help from two Gloucester organizations and a local
sixth grader. Dylan Kerr will star as Peter Pan in the U.K. version of the
classic story by J.M. Barrie. You may have seen her in "Greasy Pole: The
Musical" this summer at The Annie as one of the 60’s mannequins and the
sulky 80’s teenager. She is very thankful to her Cape Ann theater mentors:
Henry Allen for his limitless support and warm welcome to Gloucester;
Rockport voice teacher Kristina Martin for training her for the role and
making her believe in herself; and especially Rockport’s Dona Lambert for
reminding her how to play and imagine and have fun. A big shout out to
Brenda Malloy from Imagine for letting practice a song at her birthday bash
and Jeannie Sullivan from The Last Stop for always lending an ear and
providing the pickles. There will be pirates and mermaids, sword fights and
Theatre with a Twist would like to thank Ocean Alliance and Maritime
Gloucester for outfitting Captain Hook’s ship.
Hope to see you there!
Amy Kerr

Peter Pan Poster TN