Pursuit of the spooky Looking back on 9/11
Love on Lee Street
VOL. 3 NO. 3
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02 | 01945
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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
04 What's Up
06 Love on Lee Street
10 Scoring a first
12 House Money
14 Staying on track
16 Fright write
18 Turning a page
One for the books
Sept. 11, 2001. We all know where we were and what we were doing. I was driving to a client meeting in New
Hampshire with Kathy O’Toole. As readers of 01945 might recall from our Fall 2018 cover story, Kathy —
Marblehead High Class of ‘72 — was a lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts State Police, superintendent of
the MDC Police, Boston Police commissioner, and secretary of Public Safety in Massachusetts. She was most
recently chief of police in Seattle. She’s arguably the top woman cop in America.
It was one of the most fascinating hours of my life. As we drove north and listened to the radio as events played
out, Kathy sat in the passenger seat telling me what she’d be doing had she still been on the job. Within minutes,
a radio commentator would offer updates and detail moves being made by public officials — and it would be
exactly what Kathy had said moments earlier.
Virginia Buckingham of Marblehead certainly remembers where she was on 9/11, and what she was doing.
She was the CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority, which has Logan International Airport under its
jurisdiction. She was in her car when she first heard of the terrorist attack; and at work when the second plane
hit the north tower.
What followed was one continuous nightmare that resulted in her losing her job, being subjected to lawsuits,
and leaving her with a reservoir of self-doubt and post-traumatic stress.
Buckingham has written a memoir, "On My Watch," which chronicles not just the 9/11 terrorist attack itself,
but her journey from the dark days in its immediate aftermath to a breakthrough — her realization that nobody
could have foreseen what would eventually happen. Steve Krause has the story.
This issue of 01945 features three other authors, including Jim Nemeth, who, with fellow historian Bob
Madison, has written a book about science fiction movies called "It Came From …" that recounts the
backgrounds of your favorite horror, fantasy and sci-fi films. The book, which has been in the works since 2011,
fulfills a lifelong dream of Nemeth's — to write and publish a book. Bill Brotherton has the story.
Maureen Cavanagh’s journey with her daughter Katie through the haze of opioid addiction has not been
a pleasant one, as outlined in her book ,"If you love me: a mother's journey through her daughter's opioid
addiction." Through some harrowing experiences, which include looking at Katie's track-scarred arms from
shooting heroin intravenously, the two-year ordeal was a nightmare. Now, both are on the other side of it. Anne
Marie Tobin has the story.
Mimi Lemay knew early on that there was something different about her middle child. Jacob, assigned female
at birth, insisted he was a boy. And when it became apparent that this wasn't just a phase, the Lemays set out to
do what they could. Mimi tells of that process in her book, "What We Will Become," which she published last
year. Elyse Carmosino has the story.
Also in this month's edition, Molly Blander is all of 12 years old, but the issues that govern her life would make
her appear much older and wiser. From "Black Lives Matter" to anti-Semitism to concerns about immigration,
Molly has become a true activist. Again, Steve Krause has the story.
Tom and Ashley McMahon have used Lee Street as the backdrop for their relationship since it began —
when they were walking their dogs and happened to bump into each other. From courtship to engagement and
marriage, Lee Street has been a special place for them. Gayla Cawley has the story.
We have a couple of sports stories in here, too. Joe McKane used to jog past Seaside Park every day and bemoan
the lack of baseball action on the diamond. Thus, the Seasiders, an entry into the North Shore Baseball League —
made up primarily of players who have aged out of American Legion ball — were born. Dan Kane has the story.
And through the uncertainty of high school sports due to the COVID-19 virus, one man has been chomping
at the bit — Elmer Magana, who is the new boys soccer coach at Marblehead High. Magana is also the first
Latino coach in the town’s varsity system. Mike Alongi has the story.
20 Tale of hope
22 Play ball
24 Loving Jacob
26 Fall unfolding
28 Helping hall
30 Kid with a cause
Molly Blander, 12,
balances being a kid with
9-19 Lincoln House Ave., Swampscott
A D I V I S I O N O F E A S T C O A S T D E S I G N
04 | 01945
Photography by Grace Perry Productions
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Living Swell, Marblehead
The play's the thing
What: Marblehead Little Theatre presents
"Through the Big Times and Back," an
online play reading series.
Where: Streaming on Facebook Live at
When: The series debuted on Sept. 30 and
new episodes are scheduled on Oct. 14, 29
and Nov. 11, 7 p.m.
What: Sustainable Marblehead works to
reduce carbon emissions and improve
quality of life in part through its Harbor
Working Group devoted to protecting the
harbor and ocean.
Where: Visit sustainablemarblehead.org for
Zoom log in information.
When: Oct. 14, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
What: The Marblehead Museum sponsors
a walk into the town's spooky history and
legends guided by historian Diana Dunlap.
Where: Old Burial Hill — Visit
marbleheadmuseum.org to register.
When: Oct. 16, 17, 23, 24, 6:30 p.m.
Thinking globally, acting locally
What: Rotary Club of Marblehead is part
of a 1.2 million-member network united to
create lasting change.
Where: Visit marbleheadrotary.com for
weekly meeting Zoom log in.
When: Tuesday, 6-7 p.m.
Get in the spirit
What: Marblehead Chamber of Commerce
sponsors an online spiritual intuitive
development circle to help participants
increase their intuitive awareness through
guided meditation and other exercises.
Where: Go to creativespiritma.com/circle
to register for Zoom access.
When: Oct. 27, 6-8 p.m.
Time to sing
What: Abbot public library sponsors Songs
with Spencer — an online sing-along for kids
featuring old favorites and fun new songs.
Where: Go to abbotlibrary.org to access
the library's YouTube channel.
When: Oct. 29, 10:30 a.m.
34 ATLANTIC AVENUE | MARBLEHEAD, MA 01945 | 781 990 5150
06 | 01945
For Ashley and Tom McMahon, wedded bliss got
its start on Marblehead's Lee Street.
A MARRIAGE MADE ON
FALL 2020 | 07
BY GAYLA CAWLEY
entire relationship could
be described as a modernday
fairy tale, and, like
the best fairy tales, it
culminated with a lavish
Seemingly ripped from a romance
novel's pages, the story revolves around a
chance encounter on the same street that
became the centerpiece for the biggest
moments in a blossoming relationship.
It all started in May 2018 when Tom
and Ashley McMahon were out walking
their dogs on Lee Street, and happened to
bump into each other.
"We just kind of ran into each other
on the street and that was it," said Ashley
McMahon, who had recently moved into
1 Gregory St., which is on the corner of
Lee where Tom grew up and his mother
"I only knew his mom very briefly at
that point," Ashley, 37, recalls. "I knew
more about the neighbors around me.
One of the neighbors was hoping we
would meet and she could put us together.
It kind of happened on its own anyway."
From there, the couple started dating.
Eighteen months later, Tom, 38, was ready
to propose and knew there was only one
place he wanted to make things official.
After recreating their first date, dinner
at Warwick Place, Tom told Ashley he
needed to get something at his mother's
house and drove down Lee Street. It so
happened Ashley needed to stop by her
Gregory Street home and, as she got out
WEDDING, page 8
PHOTOS 1, 3, 5, 6, 7: KRISTIN LAFRATTA
PHOTOS: 2, 4: OLIVIA FALCIGNO
Dennis E Nelson, CFP®
8 Atlantic Ave
Marblehead, MA 01945
08 | 01945
WEDDING, continued from page 7
of her car, she got the surprise of her life.
"He got down on one knee in the
middle of the street and it was awesome,"
said Ashley. "It was pretty natural when
this whole thing evolved for us to celebrate
on Lee Street because it has been such
an important street for us throughout our
When COVID-19 forced Ashley and
Tom, like so many other couples to scale
back their wedding plans, Lee Street
quickly figured in their reconfigured
Following their ceremony at
Goldthwait Reservation, which was
followed by a small private dinner at the
Marblehead Arts Association (Tom's
mother is a member), it was only fitting
that the couple shared their first dance on
Lee Street during a block party attended by
neighbors who could not attend the scaledback
Looking back, Ashley said their
wedding day could not have been planned
any better, but the storybook celebration
did not look too promising during the
Like so many other large-scale events
this year, the McMahon wedding, which
was held on July 11, was severely impacted
by the pandemic. Out of an initial guest
list of 200 people, only about 50 of their
immediate family members and closest
local friends could attend the ceremony.
"I think the biggest heartache for me
was having to make the call that I couldn't
have my family come," said Ashley. "My
family is from upstate New York and his
sister lives in California. My maid of honor
is from Florida and his best man is also
in Florida and they also couldn't come.
That was the hardest part for us — we
were celebrating the most important day
in our lives and we couldn't let our family
Luckily, the ceremony went off without
a hitch, with the two dogs who brought
the couple together walking Tom down
the aisle. Strangely, the couple's dogs are
both male and happen to be the same age
— Ashley has a German Shepherd/Great
Dane mix named Watson and Tom owns
an Australian Shepherd called Chewy.
Both dogs are 4.
And the pandemic wasn't the only
cloud hanging over the wedding. The day's
forecast indicated there was a big storm
coming, in the form of a monsoon-type
rain event that threatened to cancel their
neighborhood block party that evening.
Ashley and Tom forged ahead, asking
neighbors to come to their outdoor block
party that evening. In preparation for the
celebration, the couple had given each
neighbor a gift bag that contained a bottle
of champagne, two glasses and a wedding
The neighborhood pulled together
for Tom and Ashley, with several people
stringing lights along the street and
assembling small tents in case the rain fell.
As Tom and Ashley made their way
down Lee Street as a married couple for
the first time, their neighbors were waiting
for them, ringing their bells as the pair
walked by. Two of their friends sang Cyndi
Lauper's "Time After Time" while the
McMahons shared their first dance.
"It definitely was incredible," said
Ashley. "We honestly couldn't have
planned it any better. To us, it was really
magical that we had all things Marblehead,
three different locations and they all had a
special significance to us."
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10 | 01945
KICKS OFF VARSITY
SOCCER AS COACH
BY MIKE ALONGI
He served as junior varsity coach at
Marblehead for the past nine seasons,
and now Elmer Magana is the new
varsity boys soccer coach.
"I'm extremely excited to become the
next head coach of Marblehead soccer,"
said Magana, a native of El Salvador and
the first Latino coach of the Magicians
Magana has had great success with
the Junior Varsity boys soccer program;
posting winning seasons the last six
years, going undefeated last year and only
conceding 10 goals in each of the last four
seasons. Magana also works as a World
Language teacher at Marblehead High,
and his passion in the classroom and on
the athletic field is rarely matched.
"It's a great honor to continue the
winning tradition here and also to
continue to grow our program year by
year," said Marblehead Athletic Director
"Elmer comes to the program as a
very familiar face, as he has been doing
an outstanding job with the JV boys
soccer team for the last nine years. He
has proven to us he has the experience
and ability to continue building a
Magana will take over the program
that former head coach Scott Laramie
has led for the last nine seasons.
Marblehead varsity boys soccer coach
Elmer Magana is the first Latino head
coach of the boys soccer program.
PHOTOS: OLIVIA FALCIGNO
FALL 2020 | 11
I'm happy that the guys will have a familiar
face to look to, especially in a strange
season like the one we'll be having.”
— ELMER MAGANA
"We want to thank Scott for his time
and energy given to the program, as he
was a valuable asset to the Marblehead
coaching staff," Ceglarski said.
As the Magicians get set to hopefully
embark on another season, Ceglarski
is secure in knowing that his new boys
soccer coach is already entrenched in the
"We are thrilled to have Elmer at
the forefront of the Marblehead boys
soccer program," said Ceglarski. "He
brings passion, energy, and a wealth of
knowledge to the school and we have no
doubt it will be a smooth transition."
Magana said he has forged strong
bonds with Magicians players.
"I'm happy that the guys will have
a familiar face to look to, especially in
a strange season like the one we'll be
having," said Magana. "Almost all of
these guys were my players in junior
varsity over the years, so being able to
continue this journey along with them
will be very exciting."
As for what's next, Magana is hoping
that his team can get out on the field and
compete against the rest of the Northeastern
Conference as soon as possible.
"We're hoping that things continue
in a positive direction and we'll be able
to get out on the field," said Magana.
"We'll certainly follow all of the
guidelines that the MIAA has put in
place and we'll do our best to compete
against all of the great competition we
have in our league."
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12 | 01945
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JACK ATTRIDGE
FALL 2020 | 13
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14 | 01945
Marblehead resident Don Stubbs owns North East Trains in Peabody.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
The train keeps
BY THOR JOURGENSEN
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit
Don Stubbs' business hard, closing it for
six months, but not bringing the model
locomotives and rail cars inside North
East Trains to a halt.
Stubbs, a town resident who taught
at the Bell School in the 1980s, survived
the tough spring and summer thanks
to his regular customers and the online
orders he fills for miniature railroading
enthusiasts around the world.
"We've been hurting but we're
surviving," he said.
He has started to open his Main
Street, Peabody store to customers on an
A Marblehead resident since 1980,
Stubbs' passion for miniature railroads
extends to his love for Marblehead
history and sailing — he holds a
merchant marine master's license.
Stubbs decided to turn a hobby into a
business in 1988 when he opened North
East Trains about four blocks from the
model and miniature train store's current
Located in a former hardware store
with high, tin-stamp ceilings and classical
music playing at a soft volume, North
East is a model-train lover's dream come
true. Display cases and shelves showcase
miniature locomotives, passenger and
freight cars with names like "K-line
diesel" and "Jordan spreader plow."
A walk around the store is a visit to a
world where rail enthusiasts from around
the region stop in to shop or sell their
train collections. Stubbs says North East
also attracts worldwide interest with
rail enthusiasts from Switzerland and
Polynesia placing online orders through
"We have repeat customers from
around the world. They trust us," Stubbs
The store also sells radio-controlled
cars, slot cars and models.
Stubbs came to the North Shore
FALL 2020 | 15
by way of Michigan after a childhood
in Ontario. His brothers gave him his
first Lionel train set and his interest
in painting led to him to acquire the
teaching degrees that brought him to
Marblehead in 1980.
He taught at the Bell School where
he strived to use art as a medium for
understanding academic subjects.
"I loved the enthusiasm of children at
a young age and I worked with a lot of
wonderful colleagues," he said.
A rewarding career couldn't keep
Stubbs from deciding he wanted to
be his own boss and open a business.
Turning to his boyhood love for
Don Stubbs shows off a Lionel Boston & Maine
MW2 Diesel model engine which came into the
shop to be restored.
model trains seemed like a natural
"It's a wonderful hobby and I've done
it ever since I was a kid," he said.
North East had two previous
locations before it ended up at its
current site where Stubbs gets a helping
hand tending to customers from store
volunteer and Lynn resident John Calder.
A true-blue train enthusiast,
Calder's idea of a vacation is to visit
a train station converted to an inn
in Pennsylvania where guests are
guaranteed to see 100 trains roll by daily.
He shares Stubbs' enthusiasm for
”introducing trains to children and
It's a wonderful hobby
and I've done it
ever since I was
buying collections that need a loving home
beyond someone's basement or attic.
Model trains are sold in a variety
of sizes or "gauges," ranging from
"Z" to "G." Hundreds of train cars of
various sizes fill North East, including
Stubbs' favorite: a replica of a 1920s
era "Climax" logging train engine with
a tender emblazoned with the name
"Hillcrest Lumber Co."
History is attached to every
locomotive and train car North East sells
and slices of Americana are recreated
every time a collector assembles a train
and the accompanying track, buildings
and other scenery, as well as specialty
items like the miniature "Amtrak train
info" arrival/departure sign with its
detailed lettering: "4:00 Crescent No. 9
New Orleans New York On Time."
Stubbs on more than one occasion
has been stumped by fellow railroading
enthusiasts who ask him specific
questions requiring research.
"We work with people to figure out
problems. There's so much to learn — it
beats sitting around and watching TV,"
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16 | 01945
01945 AUTHORS EDITION
of the spooky
Film historian Jim Nemeth is the
co-author of "It Came From…"
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
BY BILL BROTHERTON
im Nemeth has been hooked
on science fiction and fantasy
books and movies since he was a
kid growing up in Chicago, so it's
somewhat appropriate we're wearing
facemasks and maintaining a safe
distance while chatting on the deck of his
This could be a futuristic scene from a
Ray Bradbury novel or 1950s spookfest by
Don Siegel or Jack Arnold. Two earthlings
just trying to survive a deadly virus on a
Nemeth, who moved to town with
husband Ken Bowden in 2005, is probably
smiling behind his mask. He's just fulfilled
a lifelong dream, to write and publish a
book about the stories and novels behind
classic horror, fantasy and sci-fi films.
"It Came From…," co-written with
fellow film historian Bob Madison, will
thrill fans of the genre. It has been in
the works since 2011. "I hit a brick wall,
terrible writer's block," said Nemeth. "But
with support and encouragement from
Bob, my longtime friend and co-writer, he
got me out of the block and I wrote like
Nemeth spent many a day, laptop in
hand, sitting on the sand at Devereux
Beach, writing "It Came From…"
"When I was young, I discovered classic
vampires and Frankensteins. Saturday
nights, Chicago TV aired "Creature
Features." which ran horror movies. As I
got older, I just had to read every horror
book I could find." Nemeth soon wanted
to know how these movies were made.
He spent hundreds of hours researching
the original stories and screenplays, and
deduced that loving the book didn't
always mean he loved the movie, and vice
versa. He talked with directors, actors and
behind-the-scenes personnel from his
favorite movies, plus authors of the original
story and the writers who adapted those
stories for film.
The book, available from Amazon
and other online retailers, is published by
Midnight Marquee Press of Baltimore. It
contains 21 essays providing comparisons
between original source material and the
feature film for well-known classics, cult
favorites with a focus on less-covered
works. It is not without controversy:
Nemeth isn't a fan of "Psycho," the
FALL 2020 | 17
acclaimed Alfred Hitchcock motion
picture that scared the bejesus out of
millions of filmgoers.
"This is the 60th anniversary of (the
movie) "Psycho," so people are paying
special attention. Not everyone agrees with
my assessment of the film, evident from
some of the comments I've received from
those who have read the book."
He's also not wild about "The Shining,"
calling Stanley Kubrick's big-screen
translation of Stephen King's beloved
novel a disappointment that emphasized
style and scares over King's deftly
developed characters and their motivations.
Other renowned films or screenplays
get the stink-eye from Nemeth and
Madison, but "It Came From…" mostly
celebrates and professes its love for sci-fi,
fantasy and horror. Favorites include
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "The
Wizard of Oz," "Willy Wonka and the
Chocolate Factory," "This Island Earth,"
"Planet of the Apes," 2012's little-seen
"John Carter" and various Supermans,
Draculas, and Frankensteins.
In 1993, Nemeth entered a national
magazine's short-story writing contest
with his tale about a vampire who was
outsmarted by a total eclipse of the sun. At
the Famous Monsters World Convention
in Virginia, Bradbury and Robert Bloch
("Psycho" author) judged his work the
best. "Just to know that two of my favorite
writers read my story and liked it was
thrilling. That was enough for me."
Nemeth and Bowden share their house
with two cats: a boy, Bob ("We just like
the name."), and a girl, Carly (named for
singer-songwriter Carly Simon). Nemeth
isn't sure if Bob and Carly give "Cat
People" and "The Black Cat" paws-up or
makes them scaredy cats.
Nemeth, a technical writer in the
corporate software field, hopes there will
be a sequel to "It Came From…"
"One of my goals was to have this book
placed in the window of Marblehead's
Spirit of '76 Bookstore. I just missed out.
It closed in December … I miss that place
Just to know that two of my favorite writers
read my story and liked it was thrilling.
That was enough for me.”
— JIM NEMETH
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18 | 01945
01945 AUTHORS EDITION
reckons with the day that
changed America and her life
BY STEVE KRAUSE
Virginia Buckingham has taken many
walks across the causeway at Devereux
Beach, looked across the horizon and seen
the Boston skyline off in the distance,
"I'd visualized planes going into
buildings," she said. "I'd see planes, and
listen. I'd have nightmares about planes
crashing into buildings, and I'd be trying to
get to the scene and help out … and never
be able to get there. It was a form of PTSD
(post-traumatic stress disorder)."
The 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks is next year and since that
bright blue Tuesday morning, Buckingham
has worked to put that day in perspective,
and — with any luck — move on.
It hasn't been easy. Since the attack,
Buckingham has done a lot of soul
searching. The Marblehead resident was
CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority
on Sept. 11, 2001, when two of the four
airplanes involved in the attack that killed
nearly 3,000 people took off from Logan
International Airport, which is under
Buckingham suffered a lot of criticism,
or, as she called it, "scapegoating" because
of the attacks, and ultimately resigned from
Now she's written a book, "On My
Watch," which details the aftermath of the
attacks and the process she said she went
through "not so much to move on, but to
move forward" from it.
"It was a difficult time," she said. "I'm
trying to do some good with it. I'm a writer
in my heart, and if it's not my vocation it's
my avocation. I really needed to make sense
out of what happened. I decided to publish
it in hopes of offering things to others that
might help them in their own struggles. If I
can do something good with something bad,
that's a gift."
Buckingham said she heard six words
that changed her life, "and changed the
Those words were, "Two planes are off
She was driving to work when she heard
the first reports about an airplane flying
into one of the Twin Towers. She heard the
second report live.
"I did not know until later that morning
that the planes were from Logan," she said.
"There was a lot of confusion about what
In the immediate aftermath, she didn't
even think about her status as head of
Massport. It never dawned on her that her
job might be in jeopardy.
"It was, 'How can we keep the airport
safe? How can we evacuate terminals?
How can we make sure the airport is
secure so that investigations could be done
"We opened a family services place
quickly for those whose loved ones were on
planes. We were focused on the families."
Soon enough, though, came the
reckoning — in this case, from acting Gov.
"I read the first newspaper story saying
that I may be targeted on Sept. 13," she
said, "It did not take long. I didn't focus on
it because I didn't want anyone who was
investigating and dealing with it distracted."
FALL 2020 | 19
However, keeping that distraction away
proved to be impossible.
"It was a very intense six weeks," she
said. "I've come to learn a lot about blaming
and political leaders. The public had a lot
of questions, and a lot of fears, and I've
come to understand that blaming is a way
to assert control over a situation. I was a
convenient target to make people feel safer."
She also noted that the people in
corresponding positions at Dulles in
Washington and Newark, N.J., were not
"The man at the gate in Portland
(Maine) — if you remember, two of the
terrorists got on planes in Maine and flew
to Boston — was also distraught," she said.
"I finally got to meet him, and he looked at
me and said, 'We both come from hurt.'"
Buckingham said she internalized all
the criticism and it resulted in "seeds of
doubt. Could I have done something better?
It came to a head when I was sued for
wrongful death by the family of one of the
victims. That was devastating."
The personal lawsuit was dropped
quickly, but the one against Logan took
years to resolve itself, and that weighed
heavily on her, too.
"It took me a long time to realize that
Writing the book has been a healing
thing for me. I'm hoping it will be a
healing thing for others. I think
it'll be applicable to others.”
wasn't true," she said. "And it took me a
long time to reconcile what happened. But
it was finally decided that Logan's security
wasn't any better or worse than anyone
She also got affirmation from several
sources, including one of the most unlikely.
"Anne MacFarlane of Revere had
a daughter (United Airlines employee
Marianne MacFarlane) on one of the
flights," Buckingham said. "I met with her
and asked her if she felt I, or Logan, were
responsible. She said no, she didn't. Her
compassion, and embrace, were lifesavers.
"She gave me so much peace,"
Buckingham said. "I hope I gave her some."
She also got reassurances from Andrew
Card, who was President George W. Bush's
chief of staff, "who kindly told me the
— VIRGINIA BUCKINGHAM
administration didn't see Logan as being
any different than any other airport."
And, finally, the commission that
investigated 9/11 "used a perfect phrase to
describe it: 'It was a failure of imagination.'
Nobody could have foreseen this."
Buckingham talks in her book about
being her own hero.
"Writing the book has been a healing
thing for me," she said. "I'm hoping it will
be a healing thing for others. I think it'll be
applicable to others. People feel their own
sense of guilt and blame, especially during
this pandemic. So many decisions have to
"But hold onto your voice," she said. "I
think resilience is recognizing you're broken,
and that you can't change what happened.
But you're made stronger by it."
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20 | 01945
01945 AUTHORS EDITION
knows the pain parents
of addicts endure
Maureen Cavanagh is the author of "If You Love Me."
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
Every day is a gift.
Those are words from the last line of
Maureen Cavanagh's 2017 book ,"If you
love me: a mother's journey through her
daughter's opioid addiction."
The truth is, for most of that two-year
journey, every day of Cavanagh's life was
a nightmare believing her daughter was
probably dead and wondering why she was
powerless to save her "Ladybug."
Her daughter's addiction thrust
Cavanagh, living in Marblehead at the time,
into a shadowy and seedy drug world of
drugs, addiction and denial.
From confronting her daughter about
stolen jewelry, to seeing needle track marks on
Katie's shriveled-up arms for the first time, to
looking into her lifeless eyes, to not knowing
where her daughter was — and whether she
was dead or alive — Cavanagh never stopped
loving Katie and never lost hope that she
would somehow find a way to survive.
And she did.
Cavanagh had just started a new career as
a family recovery coach after spending several
years in special education in the Marblehead
school system, founding Magnolia, New
Beginnings, a non-profit peer support group
for persons struggling with substance abuse
disorder (SUD) in 2012.
"I was doing nothing but paperwork and
wanted to do what I love, my way. Initially,
for a fresh start I knew it would be a lot of
drugs and alcohol, but we had some domestic
violence situations as well, but once Katie
started having her problems, we focused only
on addiction-related matters," Cavanagh said.
The problems began when Cavanagh
noticed her spoons (used to heat heroin for
intravenous injection) were disappearing.
"It's the little signs that nobody sees
because this isn't a part of your world,
this is your beautiful, perfect child, it's not
something you would ever think about
your children," Cavanagh said. "The natural
reaction is you think the spoons were thrown
away in a yogurt cup. I had no idea. It's not
in the realm of possibilities for me and why
would it be?"
Katie came to her mother and told her
she had been experimenting with drugs and
drinking too much.
"I was horrified, but she came to
me with everything," Cavanagh said. "I
underestimated the power of addiction and
thought because she came to me, she would
always come to me."
Katie went into rehab, but it didn't take.
"She did great, I was pretty sure she
was one and done," said Cavanagh. "But it
FALL 2020 | 21
From that point on, Cavanagh's life was
upended. She and ex-husband, Mike, did
unthinkable things, like breaking down doors
to rescue Katie from drug dens, searching for
her after she bolted from rehabs and even
kidnapping her to force her into treatment.
Katie made more than 40 trips to detox
and treatment centers and survived 13
overdoses, many of them near-fatal requiring
Narcan (a prescribed drug used to treat
opioid overdoses) and CPR to bring her back
to life. She was arrested multiple times.
And Katie wasn't the only one struggling
through the ordeal. Cavanagh fell into
depression and there were many nights when
she went to sleep thinking she would never
see or talk to her daughter again.
"I was so tired of being tired," she wrote
in the book.
Through it all, Cavanagh continued
helping parents of other children battling
substance abuse disorder (SUD) through
One day, out of the blue, her daughter
asked her to help the person Cavanagh
believed got Katie hooked on heroin and
taught her how to use a needle for the first
time. Cavanagh was stunned; but help she did.
"I could not hold anything against
Katie that she did when she was addicted,"
Cavanagh said. "Every person deserves
treatment. I needed to put my money where
my mouth is."
Cavanagh's story has been shared on
CNN's Anderson Cooper show as well as
in the New York Times. The audio version
of her book earned runner-up honors in
Audible's 2018 Best of the Year: Bios and
Memoirs category behind Tara Westover's
entry, "Educated." One of the three other
second-place award winners? None other
than former First Lady Michelle Obama's,
whose book, "Becoming," also finished
"You wouldn't be thinking that runnerup
is a big deal, but every time I see my book
next to hers, it makes me smile," said
Cavanagh. "It's fun to think that losing is
something I'm proud of. How can you be
a loser when the other loser is the wife of a
Cavanagh says that "recovery is a long
journey, it's not a destination." Happily, her
daughter's long journey is now three years
"There were very few people other than
me who thought she had any hope. And now
she works and supports herself and just went
back to school." Cavanagh said.
Magnolia, New Beginnings now has
more than 25,000 members in closedsupport
"We have people in every state, in the UK,
people all over the place, and we are going all
the time," she said. And it's all free. I've seen
it happen to my own child right in front of
me, so I really understand what people go
through with SUD. You just never think it
will happen to you."
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22 | 01945
by the sea
THE STORY OF HOW
SEASIDE PARK GOT ITS
OWN BASEBALL TEAM
BY DAN KANE
Sometimes the love of the game can be
so strong that even the sight of an empty
baseball diamond makes you cringe.
That's what happened to Joe McKane
before he created the Marblehead
"I kept jogging by Seaside Park in
the summer and kept seeing it empty,"
McKane said. "It was a shame, it's one of
the best parks on the North Shore and
this city has such a great baseball history."
It didn't take long before McKane
decided to fill that empty field across
from the Marblehead Police Department
with a team. Players donned jerseys with
"Seasiders" printed in blue and red on
The team competes in the North
Shore Baseball League (NSBL), a men's
league that includes several teams with
representation as far north as Kingston,
He's the Seasiders skipper, but
McKane doesn't take too much credit for
what happens on the diamond.
"I get called coach, but I don't
know about that," McKane said. "I
do everything like raising money and
picking up the bats but I have captains
coach the team for the most part."
This year putting that team on the
field was harder than ever. The pandemic
forced the NSBL to delay their season
to late summer. Teams eventually hit the
field and although the year was shortened
and riddled with guidelines, McKane and
the Seasiders were happy to play.
"It was great," McKane said. "The
guys running our league did a great job
to get it pulled off. Each town had to get
approval from the city to practice and
have games. Kent Wheeler coaches the
local Legion baseball team and we piggy
backed off what they were doing.
"We had one player test positive early
in the season but, other than that, we
pulled it off," McKane said.
The season went as well as it could,
masks and all. The Seasiders finished 6-8,
good for eighth place in the league, and
just one win shy of the playoffs.
The future looks bright at Seaside
Park and McKane hopes it features
plenty of Marblehead's finest ballplayers.
"We’re a young team," McKane said.
"One of the things I’m trying to do is get
more players from Marblehead. We used
to be exclusively Marblehead, but we had
trouble fielding nine guys so we have
players from everywhere.
"This season we had seven new players
that had been or are at Marblehead
High. Ben Brennan is one of our captains
and he's been big for us recruiting young
local players. Next year we’ll get even
more," McKane added.
And McKane has plenty of local
connections. The team plans on using
Wheeler's Legion team as a sort of
makeshift farm system. McKane is also
helping coach a fall ball team made up of
Marblehead High School players.
Making those connections, and above
all else, playing ball, is what will keep
McKane and the Seasiders coming back
to the field every summer.
"I love the game and I love the
guys," McKane said. "It’s all about the
interaction with them and it's meant to
be enjoyed. This league isn’t a priority or
anything, guys have jobs and families.
But it felt good to be back out there
playing baseball this year with everyone
FALL 2020 | 23
JULIE GAUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
I love the game and
I love the guys.”
— JOE MCKANE
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24 | 01945
01945 AUTHORS EDITION
A lesson in
BY ELYSE CARMOSINO
Mimi Lemay knew early on that there
was something different about her middle
From the age of 2 1/2, Jacob, who was
assigned female at birth and given the
name “Em” (a pseudonym), was adamant
he was a boy, taking any chance given
to express his unrelenting affinity for all
When it finally became clear Jacob’s
insistence wasn’t a phase or pretend play,
but very much part of his reality, his
parents tentatively began to explore a
number of different options.
“That experience leading up to the
transition felt very rocky to us. We didn’t
know much at the time about transgender
children. We didn’t really understand what
he was saying to us when he said, ‘I’m
a boy,’ because his sex assigned at birth
had been female,” Lemay, a Marblehead
resident for two years, said. “It took us
years of trying to figure this out, watching
him become increasingly unhappy over the
issue of his gender and reaching out for
any resources we could find.”
As the couple watched their child
become more and more withdrawn, Lemay
and her husband, Joe, struggled to find
something — anything — that could help
“We realized he needed to be allowed
to socially transition, which means a
change in pronouns, possibly a name
change, just the outer aspects,” she said
of her then-4-year-old. “Seeing such
It’s so clear to everyone in
(Jacob’s) life that he’s so
brave, and I wanted to
share that positive
— MIMI LEMAY
an immense, positive benefit from the
transition for Jacob, and seeing him kind
of come to life again, it really felt like a
miracle to us that we had our happy child
back. That was something I considered
sharing because there were so few
resources out there for parents of young
Although she wanted to help other
families going through similar struggles,
Lemay closely guarded her own experience,
not wanting to expose Jacob or her two
other children, Eli, now 12, and Lucia, now
8, to anything outside their safe circle of
friends and family.
In 2015, with Jacob’s blessing, Lemay
penned an open letter to her son titled,
“A Letter to Jacob on his Fifth Birthday,”
which she published on Medium.com with
the hope that other parents of transgender
children would find solace in knowing
they’re not alone.
In it, Lemay recounted her son’s
difficult journey from a distant, withdrawn
preschooler who seemed torn between two
parallel identities, to a joyful and loving
little boy who glowed at the opportunity to
finally become ‘Jacob’ - a name he happily
chose for himself.
Lemay’s gripping and emotional
retelling of her son’s earliest years went
viral, and it wasn’t long before the letter
was picked up by other media outlets,
including NPR’s Robin Young, who
invited Lemay onto her show to discuss
the family’s experience and subsequent
decision to share their son’s story with the
From there, Lemay said she was
contacted by several organizations working
on a state-wide equality law that asked her
to join them in the fight to bring rights to
people like Jacob, which then ultimately
led to publishers approaching her about
the possibility of writing a book.
There was one glaring problem,
“I realized that if I were just to tell the
story I told in the letter, I would be leaving
out half the story,” she said.
In 2019, she made good on her promise
to tell "the other half of the story" with her
book, "What We Will Become." It was
published two years after Lemay and her
family moved to Marblehead from Melrose.
“Even before we were married, we
would take day trips to Marblehead during
the summer,” Lemay said. “(The idea of
moving) was kind of tucked away, but it
didn’t seem feasible. Joe worked in Boston,
so we settled in a location closer to the
city and had our kids. Then my husband’s
company was at a stage where he could
do some remote work, and we started to
set our eyes on that beautiful little town
that we had fallen in love with years ago.
Suddenly, it felt feasible.”
The book not only discusses Jacob’s
journey to discover his gender identity,
but also explores Lemay’s own complex
relationship with faith and culture and the
childhood that helped shape her.
“When ( Jacob) began to decline in his
mood because of his gender dysphoria,
looking into his eyes, I understood the
kind of pain he was in, even though my
experiences growing up were different,” she
said. “It wasn’t gender identity, but it was
the gender role imposed on me by the ultra
Orthodox Jewish world that I lived in.
“Growing up, I was told there was
one role for me to play as a woman in my
The Lemay family, from
left, Jacob, 10, Mimi, Lucia,
8, Joe, Luna, and Eli, 12.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
society, my community, and that God had
designed me to play the role of an auxiliary
to my husband one day.
“I was to be —the word is ‘modest’
— but the implication was to not be
outspoken, to not have a public-facing
career in any way. To make myself as small
As a young girl, Lemay said she was
intellectually curious, eager to study the
Torah in the same way the men in her
community did. She added that in the
ultra-orthodox Jewish community, most
of the power lay with those who were able
to read and interpret religious texts, and,
as a girl, she was limited in what she could
pursue, always dodging the message that
she was less than her male counterparts.
“I was locked out of that as a woman,
and that created a lot of grief and
unhappiness in me growing up until
I finally had the courage to leave that
community behind,” she said.
That’s why years later, when her
son began to display many of the same
behaviors she experienced as a child,
Lemay said his pain was obvious to her.
“My son presented with this deep
anguish … He was two or three years old,
but I know that I had to solve the mystery
of what was going on,” she said. “I think
because of my past and because of the
trouble I went through, I was more easily
able to see a path through for him that at
the time felt very unconventional.”
Now an active and bright 10-yearold,
Jacob has already accomplished a
considerable amount when it comes to
igniting widespread change, frequently
accompanying his mother to speak about
transgender rights in front of human rights
advocates and politicians, including United
States Senator and former presidential
candidate Elizabeth Warren.
He loves animals and music and riding
his skateboard. He wants to maybe become
an actor one day. He definitely wants to
continue being an advocate.
“I love putting a smile on people’s faces.
It makes me feel so happy,” he said. “I’m
just really glad that we can help people
understand what it means to be trans and
just help out, you know?”
She calls Marblehead "a really safe
community. I found so many people have
reached out to me to support what we’re
In the last few months, the town
has put together a social/emotional
learning subcommittee on LGBTQ
youth in its schools and is now taking
recommendations on how to improve the
town’s inclusivity. Lemay said she’s thrilled
to see so much visible support.
“I think the Marblehead school
system is dedicated to being models
in this regard,” she said. “I couldn’t be
happier. I think we have some wonderful
community members who have chipped in
and are really concerned about this subject
considering the vulnerabilities of these
FALL 2020 | 25
26 | 01945
Marblehead resident Vil Ramos surfs after
sunset on Devereux Beach.
Sunset over Marblehead Harbor on
a quiet evening.
Storefronts are ready for fall on
PHOTOS BY OLIVIA FALCIGNO
From Old Town to the harbor, Marblehead's
beauty was on display for photographer Olivia
Falcigno's camera as summer shifts into fall.
The Marblehead Light Tower stands
guard over the harbor.
A two-wheeled sojourn on
Left, Swampscott residents Michael
and KC Cucchi celebrate their 15th
anniversary with their daughter,
Francesca, 10, at 5 Corners Kitchen.
FALL 2020 | 27
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28 | 01945
A fine Fellow
Marblehead resident Peter Preble is the recording
secretary and past grand master of Odd Fellows
Kearsarge Lodge No. 217 in Swampscott.
PHOTO: SPENSER HASAK
BY MIKE ALONGI
Peter Preble knows what it's like to
steer an organization dedicated
to helping others through good
times and bad.
The Marblehead resident and
secretary of Odd Fellows Hall Kearsarge
Lodge No. 217 said the big grey building
on Swampscott's Elmwood Road is
seeing a revival even as businesses
and organizations begin to re-emerge
following the shutdowns caused by the
After having meetings and events
suspended since mid-March due to the
pandemic, the Odd Fellows are holding
meetings again and slowly trying to get
back to normal.
"It's been an interesting year, that's for
sure," said Preble, adding, "Unfortunately
after shutting down meetings and
everything back in March, we haven't
been able to do as much as we've wanted
to in the community. We've still been
able to contribute as much as we can, but
it's certainly been a bit of a tough road."
The Independent Order of Odd
Fellows as it is known today began in
Baltimore, MD, where five members
of the Order from England founded
Washington Lodge No. 1 on April 26,
1819, by self-institution.
In modern times, the Odd Fellows
have been in the forefront of nearly all
organizations in helping to make this
world a better place in which to live. Odd
Fellowship is a family fraternity with
activities and programs for every member
of the family.
The first lodge in Massachusetts —
Massachusetts Lodge No. 1 — was selfinstituted
on March 26, 1820 in Boston.
A charter was granted May 18, 1823 by
the Grand Lodge of the United States.
Prior to this recognition, it had acted
with the powers of a Grand Lodge and
authorized the institution of the Siloam
Lodge. The Massachusetts Lodge has
been dissolved and reinstated several
times throughout the years. In fact, the
Grand Lodge ceased to exist in 1832
only to be revived in 1838. The Lodges
of Massachusetts have a long history
of revival and consolidation. There
have been 244 different numbers given
out over the years and many numbers
have been given out more than once.
Today there are 42 active chapters in
Massachusetts, with Kearsarge Lodge
No. 217 residing in Swampscott since its
FALL 2020 | 29
founding in 1892.
The Order of Odd Fellows' mission
statement is a simple one — "The
command of the IOOF is to 'visit the
sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead
and educate the orphan.'"
Specifically, Odd Fellows today are
dedicated to the following purposes:
— To improve and elevate the
character of mankind by promoting the
principles of friendship, love, truth, faith,
hope, charity and universal justice.
— To help make the world a better
place to live by aiding each other, the
community, the less fortunate, the youth,
the elderly, the environment and the
community in every way possible.
— To promote good will and
harmony amongst peoples and nations
through the principle of universal
fraternity, holding the belief that all
men and women regardless of race,
nationality, religion, social status, gender,
rank and station are brothers and sisters.
To that end, Kearsarge Lodge No.
217 has remained busy even during the
pandemic. Despite having to cancel
meetings for the majority of the summer,
the Lodge has still been donating to a
number of organizations, including My
Brother's Table, the Salvation Army, the
Greater Boston Food Bank and many more.
"We've really been trying to help in
any way we can, because we know so
many people are having a tough time
these days," Preble said. "It's our mission
to help people who need it, and that's
what we're going to continue to do."
Now that pandemic restrictions are
easing a bit, Kearsarge Lodge No. 217 is
back to conducting normal business —
albeit with a scaled-back operation.
"We're still conducting business and
still paying the bills and all that, but
things have been scaled back a little bit
to keep everyone safe and distanced,"
said Preble. "We started meetings up
again about a month ago and we've been
keeping the attendance down a bit for
safety as well."
Looking ahead, Kearsarge Lodge No.
217 is still waiting to move offices after
the pandemic forced them to delay their
move. It's still a game of wait-and-see,
but Preble feels that things are moving
in the right direction.
"We're just trying to help people in
any way that we can," said Preble. "We're
going to be changing offices eventually
and we're still working to survive, but
we're as dedicated as ever to helping
those in need."
Our wicked “HEADER’S HALLOWEEN” collection pays homage to
Adam Sandler’s Hubie Halloween movie which was filmed
here in town. These festive ornaments are all made by hand
and are available to order on our website.
Serving the North Shore since 1972
30 | 01945
Molly on a
At the age of 12, Molly Blander is an
"activist for social and racial justice"
who spent part of her summer
supporting the Black Lives Matter
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
BY STEVE KRAUSE
Sometimes, you wonder whether
precocious children find the time to balance
their off their ambitious activities with, you
know, the simple joys of just being a kid.
Molly Blander, 12, assures one and all
that she is quite capable of kicking back and
having fun. The problem is that this summer,
whenever she did that, disaster struck.
First, it was riding her bicycle. More than
30 years earlier, her mother, Leigh, had an
accident with her bike; and this summer it was
Blander's turn. While riding hers, she hit a
pothole, got knocked off, and broke her nose.
"She wasn't wearing a helmet, but I was,"
said Blander, matter-of-factly.
Then there was the dog in September.
"I was taking her out of the groomer's on
Humphrey Street," she says, "and she was
really happy to be leaving the groomer's. She's
a big dog, and when she was out the door, she
pulled on my arm. I had to go get X-rays."
These escapades, however, belie Blander's
serious-minded endeavors. She doesn't just
ride bikes like her mother. She takes after
Leigh Danielle Hurwitz Blander in other
ways too. Leigh is a socially-conscious writer
and so is Molly. Where Leigh wrote, and
writes, prose, Molly is more into poems.
Their similarities lie in what they write
about — hot-topic issues. And the two are
also similar in another way. Neither has any
compunction about poking and prodding
people to get them to understand.
“For me, I like to call myself an activist for
social and racial justice,” Molly Blander said.
“I’ve always been very passionate about those
Earlier this year, she was a finalist in
an international Pulitzer Center poetry
contest — the youngest of the 18 remaining
contestants out of 1,000 who applied.
The contest was called “Fighting Words,”
and it asked young people to think about how
journalism and poetry can help make sense
out of today’s events. Students wrote poems or
essays based on stories not often reported that
were picked from the Pulitzer site.
Blander chose the ordeal of asylum-seekers
and, right off the bat, the poem’s title —
“Home Sweet Home — An Oxymoron” —
reflected its tone.
It is angry, yet compassionate — consider
the following excerpt:
"Request for asylum drifts out the
window/Like the smoke from a snuffed out
candle/Along with a desperate dream for
For me, I like to call myself an
activist for social and racial
justice. I’ve always been
very passionate about
— MOLLY BLANDER
FALL 2020 | 31
a child walking for the first time/Walking/
Grudgingly walking back to the land they
hoped to escape."
As summer morphed into fall, Blander
began preparing for classes at Marblehead
Middle School, where she is a seventh-grader;
and she took part in the weekly Black Lives
Matter demonstrations at King's Beach in
Swampscott, close to Gov. Charlie Baker's
house. Almost immediately after those
demonstrations began, a counter-protest
sprung up across the street, featuring "Blue
Lives Matter" supporters.
" I try to attend every week when I can,"
she said. "Sometimes school gets in the way.
I don't interact with (the Trump supporters
who make up a lot of the Blue Lives Matter
population). We're not there to debate with
them. We just want to make our point,
respectfully and peacefully."
And the point, she said, is simply that
"Black lives matter. Of course police lives
matter. But right now, the lives that need help,
and the ones who need to be in the spotlight,
are black lives. Of course, all lives matter. But
all lives cannot matter until Black lives do. It's
so sad that so many people in the country have
to turn it into a one-or-the-other scenario."
If this seems like heady stuff for a 12-yearold,
it really isn’t, Blander said.
All you have to do is consider her
“My parents are very active,” she said.
“What my parents have done for me is create
an environment where I can educate myself.
Another of the causes she’s devoted herself
to is anti-Semitism.
“A lot of the issues I fight for involve
anti-Semitism,” she said. “I hope to be able
to educate people — especially those my
age — to kind of understand what’s going on
through various social-media platforms. I try
to convince my friends to watch the news.”
OK. When does she have time to be a kid?
“It’s hard,” she said. “As a kid, you want
to do kid things. Hang out with your friends.
Things like that.
"I do talk about it with my friends. It's
important to talk about these things. But at
the same time, it's important not to make
everything political. To be a kid sometime."
Toward that end, her favorite all-time
television show is "Friends," with "Will and
Grace" a close second.
"That's a great show," she said. "A
And, like most kids, she likes music,
too. Her favorite group is "Wallows," a Los
Angeles-based "indie" band.
But make no mistake. Her consuming
mission is to make people her age aware that
the future is riding on them.
Celebrating 60 years
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