Sunday, July 10, 2011

GoodFright; Salem's Eve of Saints

  • Walking Through Salem, MA on All Hallows Eve
    I stumble upon a celebration; what can it be?
    Costumed revelers dance through the town
    as unsettled spirits are no longer bound.

  • Halloween has unleashed ghosts that taunt
    as visitors gather to enter old haunts.
    The Common is ablaze with sights and sounds
    while Wiccas worship - magic is around.

  •  Children laugh and squeal with delighted fear,
    Attend a seance if you dare.
    Visit the graveyard where Judge Hathorne now lives
    Pray for the souls condemned by ignorance.

  • The men and women hung and tortured at Gallows Hill
    are forever remembered in our hearts still.
    Continuing my walk towards Derby's Wharf.
    I smell the salt and imagine the old port.

  • One time alive and bustling with cargo and seamen
    along with the tales of pirate adventures out in the ocean.
    I stroll to the House of Seven Gables and stare
    intently I listen for any remaining souls there.

  •  Hearing nothing but the wind whispering I turn and see
    Nathaniel Hawthorne's ghost floating in front of me!
    My heart pounds loudly I barely can hear
    the sound of footsteps coming near

  •  A hand grasps my arm as I shriek
    It's only my friend asking what kept me
    shaking my head trying to clear the haze of a dream
    I realize things are not always what they seem.

  • So I continue my journey through a city that is alive
    with history, heritage and any type of being you may spy.

    To all have a Happy Halloween and GoodFright!!!!
    Tammy Anne Callahan-Callanan

Friday, July 8, 2011

Agora; Salems Farmers' Market

A place of assembly existed during ancient Greek times where merchants and craftsmen sold their wares. The 'Agora' was the definition an open-air tented marketplace. In Salem our own Agora during the 1930's had collapsible stalls made out of wood that held the treasures of the tradesman and treasure for the buyers. Before the innovation of malls, Salem, MA was the place to be especially on Saturdays. Throngs of crowds frequented the Paramount Theatre, shopped at the multiple stores that once lined the streets, while thousands of patrons visited the marketplace near Old Town Hall until sometime in the 1970's when malls opened Salem's heyday became just a nostalgic memory. However, that memory was to be renewed when in 2009 Jennifer Bell, dedicated volunteers, and the City of Salem reinstated the market area in downtown. Spurred by the advent of farmer markets in California the movement of marketplaces spread throughout the United States in the 80's and the 90's to eventually be the conceived as Salems Farmers' Market. A reinstatement that is a popular place now for not only our residents, but for those visiting our city. A popularity that has grown and will continue to grow like an 'Agora' alive with the smells and the colors that once thrived in ancient Greece. 

The market is not the tradition type of market just sponsoring local farmers. Salem has a market that features not only locally grown produce, but featured each Thursday is also speciality products as well as entertainment. Hosted by Salem Main Streets the market grows each year with an estimated 5,000 in attendance this year on opening day. The market not only meets the needs of the typical buyer, but with the financial stress on today's families the market also accomodates the needs of low-income buyers through the acceptance of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. Most importantly this meets the need of families to eat healthier by having the ability to purchase fresh vegetables, fruits, and other items. A table is available at the market where SNAP participants can purchase tokens by swiping their cards and if they happen to have any unused tokens they can be returned in exchange for the dollar amount to be reinstated onto their EBT cards. And with the farmer selling directly to the consumer without a middleman the prices are reasonable and the benefits of nutrition as well as the fresh taste are well worth the visit. I personally enjoy not only buying the products that are offered, my biggest enjoyment is the visual colors and smells that stimulate my senses. It is as though, while resting on the stairs of Old Town Hall, I have a kaleidoscope viewing bits and pieces in endless varities of patterns; with multiple colors and shapes geometrically arranged; the shapes of Salem's people, events, and places - our own Salem Agora.

Mission Statement:
Our Mission
Enhance the quality of life in the Salem downtown area by providing a community activity that fosters social gathering and interaction.
Provide a convenient and congenial means of purchasing locally grown or prepared food products.
Support local agriculture and producers by providing a direct market or their produce and goods.
Salem Farmers’ Market Committee
Jennifer Bell (Salem Main Streets)
Pam Lombardini (Market Manager)
Gus Sousa
Marlene Faust
Kristin Rogers
Aaron Martin
Jim Vaughey
Gary Gill

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Big Brother" Watching You; safety factor that can save a life

In 1907 a 25 acre parcel of land was sold to the city by Major John Spencer; the land once encompassed part of the Hemenway Estate on the north side of Forest River in Salem, MA. During the next ten years the Salem Park Department worked to install a football field, a baseball field, and also a salt water swimming pool which opened in 1919 to be used for the public and by the public; eventually to become a fresh water pool in 1999. So many summers for not only some children of Salem, but some adults as well, have enjoyed a refreshing dip in the pool. I used to ride my bike with my brothers from the Common area no matter how hot is was and meet our friends for a day of fun and a day of swimming. When my own children were young I spent wonderful times with them and other families at Forest River pool. Now, as a grandmother I look forward to many more summers with my grandsons cooling off as we share quality time together. Here in Salem we are blessed to have access to a community pool and also the community grounds housed near Forest River.
We are certainly, to my knowledge as a life-long resident, blessed to have averted the horrendous tragedy that just recently occurred at a community pool in Fall River, MA. A loss that is indescribable not only to the community, but to the victim's friends and family. A loss that may have been prevented because of many factors, yet a loss that may also not have occurred if there was underwater viewing aids installed in the pool. An underwater viewing aid allow lifeguards to see underwater and this type of equipment can be used for all types of swimming pools. Another prevention which is underwater remote monitoring that will document any type of event that may occur including anything questionable. Lastly, there is computer-aided drowning detection systems that monitor with computer software activities of swimmers and alerts staff if swimmers exhibit any behavior associated with drowning.

 Growing up in a city with tremendous maritime history and living along the water is a treasure especially on those humid summer days when the sea breeze keeps us cool. However, having a community pool to swim in especially if you are not lucky enough to have a pool of your own is a treasure too. Life is a treasure as well and though there are cities that struggle with budget cuts due to the economy, but equipment that can aid the lifeguards that patrol the pool area and the pool is a necessity. I think the days of just calling the multiple swimmers out of the water in order to do a safety check is no longer good enough. With surveillance and monitoring everywhere in today's modern world like in the novel 1984; an important factor that just may save a future life are underwater aids. An investment of this type of equipment is just as priceless as the people it will protect. Enjoy the summer, enjoy your family and friends, and definitely jump in and enjoy that cool, refreshing summertime dip. 

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