Carla Grillo is the author of “The Past Is A Present”, a book profiling 28 seniors from the Gloucester senior community. All proceeds will benefit The Gloucester Council on Aging and the Rose Baker Senior Center.
The book is sponsored by the Friends of The Gloucester Council on Aging.
TO PRE-ORDER THE BOOK, USE LINK: https://pastisapresent.org
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GLOUCESTER’S “CATERPILLAR” MASTER MECHANIC
RAY CHANDANAISMy friend and a great guyLooking back over 50 years ago, when I first met Ray, we both were so young. Ray had teamed up with Ozzie Howard, starting their Marine Repair business on Pond Road, while I had just opened my Gloucester Marine Insurance Agency.Ray and Ozzie both serviced our fishing fleet, and in a way, complimented each other’s work. Ray approached his Caterpillar customers with the tools and expertise of a brain surgeon. His partner, Ozzie, serviced his customers with his “jack of all trades” experience and a sledge hammer! IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF ONE ERA AND THE END OF ANOTHER.
As our business relationship grew, our friendship intensified. In my life, the friendships I’ve made along the way, are all important. Ray Chandanais is my good friend, along with his family: wife, Helen; son, Jay; sister, Theresa Wilkins; mother, Mary, and their own family relatives come to mind.
In 1981 when our family opened our Union Hill Coffee House, the first daily breakfast customer was Ray! No one supported our business more than Ray, and on weekends, his entire family. Our friendship went far beyond business. Ray, Helen, and their family were our family. Joan and I were invited to their wedding at the Surf in Magnolia. Family birthday parties, Veteran’s Day and Marine Corps (10 November) annual restaurant birthday celebrations, when Ray loaned his sons’ Marine Corp portraits for display above our restaurant dessert case. Ray was so proud… GREAT MEMORIES!
Gilson’s 60th Wedding Anniversary
When our family – sons Brent, Blake, Joan and I opened our restaurant, September 17, 1981, our lives changed… our new family, our Union Hill customers led by the Chandanais, became our life!
GLOUCESTER’S “GENERAL MOTORS” MASTER MECHANICSEBASTIAN “BUZZY” PARISIJoe G… F/V St. Peter says “He kept us running!”
Sebastian “Buzzy” Parisi, now retired, was a Number One diesel mechanic, just like his dad, Joseph “Three Finger Joe” Parisi, before him.“Buzzy” Parisi possessed the same mechanical genes as his father, Joe, who was the legendary Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine Master Mechanic from the Golden Age of Fishing 1940 – 1955. I can’t resist offering this memory of the 1940’s.As a 12 year old boy in 1945, I sat on the threshold of the engine room companionway looking down at the initial starting of the Catherine Amerault’s big six-cylinder 400 H.P. Atlas Imperial diesel engine. As the Atlas Company representative checked all the operating systems and the Lister auxiliary engine pumped up the air, I watched Walter Davis, Alec Grimes, and “Slim” Cook ( Groton’s Machine Shop employees) doing their thing in preparation of starting this monster AWESOME (to a young boy) green machine!Unlike the stream-lined Cooper Bessemer, the Atlas had a Rube Goldberg character – the push rods, rocker arms, valve cages – moving parts were exposed! When the Atlas rolled over, belching the sound of escaping air, gears engaging, chain drives rattling – in unison, all responding to engine room bells and buzzers – it was a MIRACLE beyond words to a young boy! That was the world of “Three Finger Joe” Parisi. I’ll never forget it!Joe’s son “Buzzy” would follow his dad into the GM “General Motors” era only a few years later.
As the 1950s faded, more and more the heavy-duty slow turning engines were being replaced by small Buda’s, Cummins, and GM 6-71s, etc., especially in the day-boat fleet. Many old timers thought that horses were being replaced by ponys! That the small high-speed engines would not last – not true.
Three-Finger Joe’s Son, Buzzy Parisi, a GM manHis father was a heavy-duty Atlas genius!
Buzzy Parisi’s era was dawning. He would be in on the ground floor. The fleet quickly adapted to these smaller high-speed GM’s and Cats. Buzzy would be the waterfront’s “go to” GM diesel man!In a 1999 GDT article by Peter Prybot, he mentioned the F/V Serafina N., St. Jude, and Diane Carinhas, as a few of Buzzy’s engine customers. They were all my insureds! I can see Lakeman’s Diane Carinhas loaded, coming like a train down the North Channel, thanks in part to Buzzy Parisi’s expert maintenance. The fleet – at least 50 – 60 boats equipped with Detroit GM diesels – depended on Buzzy Parisi.Like his dad before him, MASTER MECHANIC SALVATORE “BUZZY” PARISI had no equal when it came to GM diesels!
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Ron Gilson and Erik Ronnberg
Arthur D. Story Shipyard