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02 | 01945

A publication of Essex Media Group


Edward M. Grant

Chief Executive Officer

Michael H. Shanahan


Edward L. Cahill

John M. Gilberg

Edward M. Grant

Gordon R. Hall

Monica Connell Healey

J. Patrick Norton

Michael H. Shanahan

Chief Financial Officer

William J. Kraft

Chief Operating Officer

James N. Wilson

Community Relations Director

Carolina Trujillo


Susan Conti


Thor Jourgensen

Contributing editors

Gayla Cawley

Cheryl Charles

Contributing writers

Mike Alongi

Elyse Carmosino

Gayla Cawley

Dan Kane

Anne Marie Tobin

Guthrie Scrimgeour


Olivia Falcigno

Spenser Hasak

Julia Hopkins


Edwin Peralta Jr.

Advertising Design

Sean Casey

Advertising sales

Ernie Carpenter

Ralph Mitchell

Eric Rondeau

Patricia Whalen


110 Munroe St.,

Lynn, MA 01901

781-593-7700 ext.1234


781-593-7700 ext. 1253



A number (32) of things

Not that you care, but I began my career as a sportswriter at The Daily Item (now, like 01945, an Essex

Media Group publication). In those days, in high school football season, writers were assigned a team to

cover throughout the season. And because it was my first go-round, initially I had no idea how lucky I was

to be assigned Marblehead.

The team was coached by Alex Kulevich, whom, along with a few players from that team, I still see, four

decades later. I generally sit a few pews behind Alex at 4 o’clock Mass on Saturdays at Star of the Sea. I

buy appliances from Alex’s son, Tom (an extraordinary tight end in those days), at Tri City Sales; and have

had reason to know what former lineman Lane Forman is up to these days.

I loved covering that team and those players. The team -- is the nickname still the Magicians? -- was,

well, magical. It went 8-2, led by a quarterback, John Wolf, who had a big arm and a bigger personality.

I had a reason to catch up with him a couple of weeks ago and we talked a little about that team and a

lot about a fullback and linebacker on that team: little brother Robert Wolf, who was a better basketball

player -- captain his junior and senior years -- and who went on to Penn.

As indicated by Guthrie Scrimgeour's story, Robert has done OK for himself. He founded a holding

company, 32 Advisors (yes, that was his uniform number), is a contributor on Fox News, and includes

among his friends a guy you may have heard of, named Obama.

This edition of 01945 has a few other great reads, as well.

You may have noticed we live in stressful times. Everywhere we look, there's something that puts

someone on edge. In every facet of life, there seems to be built-in stressors that induce panic. Even the

harmless stuff, like watching Tom Brady win a Super Bowl with another team, can leave some panicstricken.

Wendy Tamis Robbins was only 6 years old when she had her first panic attack. And, she says, they

never stopped. She told our Gayla Cawley she suffered from what she called "treatment resistant anxiety"

for nearly 40 years. By the time she was in her 30s, she wondered whether she could ever live life without

some kind of panic, and it was a debilitating disorder.

Robbins outlines her issues, and how she has dealt with them, in a book that's due out in May, "The Box:

An Invitation to Freedom from Anxiety."

Elsewhere, this now-yearlong pandemic has required different ways of doing things all over the board.

One such endeavor is the high school band.

Anne Marie Tobin writes that Jack Attridge is a 13th-generation Marblehead resident, principal of

the Attridge Group at William Raveis Real Estate, and the founder of All Marblehead, a social-media

initiative created as a place for people who are interested in the town to learn about local events and

discuss town topics in a positive and constructive way.

Also, entertainer and local personality Johnny Ray has teamed up with his old friend, executive chef

Edgar Alleyne, to open Beacon Restaurant & Bar downtown, in the former Wick's; Guthrie Scrimgeour

writes that Doug Hill has transformed his four-story house into an informal "Marblehead Museum;" and

Peter Jackson, who told our Elyse Carmosino that being Black played a big role in his decision to take

part in Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine trial; and that while the COVID-19 pandemic has affected some

small businesses in negative ways, that hasn't been the case for Marblehead Cycle.

How can someone who died more than 600 years ago be an influence on a person's life? When that

person is Leonardo da Vinci it's easy to see how. Da Vinci was a major influence on the life of artist

Jonathan Sherman.

Then there's our knockout cover story by Mike Alongi about Zach Calmus. It packs a punch.

And did you know that it should be "Chandler Hovey Light Tower?"

Neither did I.

04 What's Up

06 Talk of the town

12 House Money

14 Two-wheel titan

18 Heavy hitter

20 True Townie

22 Wolf man


24 Sweet talker

28 Sherman's march

30 Beacon brothers

32 Pioneer Pete

34 Mask music

37 Wall buster

40 Love pup



Zach Calmus is a force

to contend with in the

boxing ring.


Julia Hopkins

It's all in the


Dubbed "Marvell Head"

or "Marble Harbour" by

Capt. John Smith, the

town's name is also rooted

in the mistaken impression

held by settlers that the

local granite ledges were

marble. History holds that

Marblehead was called

"Foy" by immigrants from

Fowey, Cornwall, England.

George was here

The Revolutionary War hero and first

president, George Washington, visited the

town in 1789 during his presidential tour.

Marblehead was the 10th largest in the

United States at the time.

Birthplace battle

The enduring feud

between Beverly and

Marblehead over

which community is

the birthplace of the

American Navy includes

Marblehead's claims

that the first vessel

commissioned for the

Navy, the Hannah, was

equipped with cannons,

rope, and provisions,

including the indigenous

molasses/seawater cookie

known as "Joe Frogger."

Tent town

It's a tower, not a house

The “lighthouse” at Chandler Hovey Park is

actually a light tower. It was originally built as

a lighthouse in 1835 and was 23 feet high. The

current one, which is 105 feet high, was built in

1896, to better withstand the wind and waves.

The town's earliest

dwellers were Native

Americans and, later,

planters who moved

from Salem. Residents of

Nashua, N.H. and Lowell

set up tent colonies

dubbed "Lowell Camp"

and "Nashua Camp"

to serve as a fresh air

getaways from their city's

smoggy mills.

Is it Gerry? Or Jerry?

SNL Shoutout

Stand-up funny

guy John Mulaney’s

grandmother lives in

town and formerly

taught English at

Marblehead High.

Mulaney often

mentions the town in

Saturday Night Live



Gerry or Jerry?

Pronouncing Elbridge Gerry's name

correctly is a town litmus test. History

attaches the former governor's name

to a political maneuver dubbed the

"gerrymander" designed to reconfigure a

voting district to provide a candidate or

party a decided advantage at the polls.

Most people pronounce Gerry's name

like "jerry." But a Gerry descendant

was quoted in a 2018 Wall Street

Journal article stating that his ancestor

pronounced the family name "gary."

Wonder how he knew?

04 | 01945


Town Meeting time

What: This town rite of spring includes

Town Meeting where residents put

democracy into action.

Where: Our Lady Star of the Sea,

community center parking lot,

80 Atlantic Avenue

When: Monday, May 3, 7 p.m.

Arts alert

What: The Marblehead Festival of Arts is

always looking for volunteers.

Where: To volunteer, simply go to

marbleheadfestival.org/volunteer and click

the button.

When: Festival 2021 will look different due

to the pandemic, but event planning

is underway.

Service before self

What: Rotary Club of Marblehead Harbor

is dedicated to Rotary International's motto

of helping others.

Where: Rotary has helped support the

Marblehead Food Pantry and Club Harbor

Heroes and Shelter Box programs.

To find out more about Rotary, email info.


Memories wanted

What: The Marblehead Museum's

COVID-19 Archive Project seeks to collect

pandemic stories and preserve them for

future generations.

Where: Call the Archive Project voice

number, 978 414 5093, to record a message.

For more information, visit


Want to dance?

What: Marblehead School of Ballet

offers live, online dance classes.

Where: Go to


for class schedules and information.

When: Spring term classes running

from March 29-June 5 are

posted online.

SPUR equals fun

What: SPUR is a "community of doers"

dedicated to inspiring, volunteering,

connecting and learning.

Where: Visit www.spur.community for

activity information.

SPUR is slowly re-opening volunteer

opportunities as COVID-19 precautions

are eased.

06 | 01945

A man about town


Left, real estate agent Jack Attridge is surrounded by

photgraphs from his All Marblehead Facebook page

mirroring Marblehead faces and places.



Jack Attridge is a 13th-generation

Marblehead resident, principal of

the Attridge Group at William Raveis

Real Estate, and the founder of All

Marblehead, a social media initiative

created as a place for people who are

interested in the town of Marblehead to

learn about local events and discuss town

topics in a positive and constructive way.

The platforms also promote Attridge's

real estate business.

In 2009, Attridge launched the All

Marblehead Facebook page as a place to

"put my real estate going forward and to

share a lot of community information.

"It started organically and just grew,"

Attridge said. "The platform is there

for everyone to use and we decided to

leverage it to connect the community.

Really the mission, outside of the 5

percent that supports my business, is to

support Marblehead, Marblehead people,

Marblehead businesses and nonprofits."

The All Marblehead Facebook

page has more than 17,000 followers,

while Instagram has about 8,600.

Both platforms feature anything and

everything happening or about to happen

in Marblehead as well as thousands of

some of the most beautiful photos you

will ever see.

From amazing sunsets to Christmas

trees in dinghies in Marblehead Harbor

to historical sites and places, the photos

bring out Marblehead's unique charm

and give people plenty of reasons to

SPRING 2021 | 07

smile. There's even a photo of a moose

dog-paddling his way across the harbor.

The photo generated more than 1,100

likes on Instagram.

The platforms also feature many

contests, including photo contests and

"Guess the Depth" snowstorm contests,

one of which raised more than a $1000

for the town, as well as food drives and

other community services, including

posting important emergency notices and


"For that contest, we pledged to

donate $10 for every inch of snow in

the first storm of the year and we asked

people to match it," Attridge said. "It's

just a fun way to promote the community

and engage people while supporting local

businesses by giving away gift cards to

contest winners. We are also active in

helping keep the community informed

about things like snow emergencies and

other things that people need to know."

Attridge feels that Instagram is so

much more friendly than Facebook, but

Facebook allows people to post links

while Instagram does not. Both allow

posts to be automatically shared.

Attridge said he read an article in

a real estate publication that the Los

Angeles Times was getting rid of its real

estate classified section.

"That was the beginning of the

decline in real estate print advertising, at

the same time the Marblehead Reporter

and The Salem News began publishing

their articles online," Attridge said. "They

were allowing anonymous-type postings

in blog-like settings and I saw that as

incredibly community busting. Sadly

what used to be okay to do anonymously

is now okay to do even when you have

your name on it."

Attridge said the model for All

Marblehead is about 95 percent

community-based and 5 percent real


"I'm part of a 13th generation

Marblehead family and a lot of us

have been in business for ourselves

and helping out in the community so a

lot of this information comes my way

naturally," Attridge said. "It's worked

phenomenally for the community and my

business where we are able to leverage

our social channels for our business as


Attridge has sold more than 400

homes representing $400 million in sales.

He said the past two years he has sold

more real estate in Marblehead than any

other competitor. He said he has been

approached many times by others to sell

his Facebook account and others have

suggested he incorporate a paywall. He

has done neither.

"It's all free and we would never

monetize the platform," said Attridge.

"I think it all goes back to the goal,

which is to promote Marblehead and

my love for the town and making it

a better community," said Attridge, a

past president of Marblehead Museum

and two-time president of Marblehead

Rotary. "It's totally free and worth

it as we are able to follow a lot of

organizations and share what other

people have posted."

Attridge said he used to have an All

Marblehead Happenings Facebook group

that also has about 18,000 followers

but has had to archive the group on two

occasions when "people started to talk

about crazy stuff, like killing coyotes

because there were too many, instead

of promoting the good in Marblehead,

especially last April with the pandemic.

People would start getting online after

dinner and were basically keyboard

warriors. The thing is that a lot of

times people try to lift themselves up

by bringing others down, so we took it

down again so we can focus on doing

Michael Clough Family Photography


08 | 01945

good deeds on all of our Facebook and


As far as the photos go, Attridge

said it's difficult to pinpoint followers'

favorites, but sunsets and harbor shots

are always a sure bet.

"The sunsets are just amazing, but

we also had a huge interest in the Adam

Sandler movie scenes (from "Hubie

Halloween"). They were just amazing

as well," said Attridge. "We also had

some great photos in 2019 when the

July storm came through and Glover's

Regiment, the Festival of Arts, but my

favorite is just the subject of Marblehead.

I love the fact that our content is totally


While Attridge may be the man

about town, there is a woman behind the

curtain — Cindy Schieffer.

“Managing consistent and engaging

social media channels while running a

successful local real estate business and

(Left) Brian Crowley, left, shares

a minute with Jack Attridge.

All Marblehead Facebook highlights

the town's beauty.

other local initiatives takes more than

one person," Attridge said. "Cindy is

an irreplaceable part of my team (and

is my social media manager. Cindy and

I meshed right out of the gate with

a shared perspective and community

connection to our content.”


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SPRING 2021 | 09

A MAN ABOUT TOWN, from page 08


10 | 01945

A MAN ABOUT TOWN, from page 08

Attridge joined William Raveis Real

Estate in 2007 after 20 years at Carlson

Real Estate. He is vice president of the

Marblehead Museum and Historical


His professional website describes

how "it always felt natural to work

in town and with the residents of

Marblehead. From a very young age, I

worked at F.N. Osborne's Fine Grocers

alongside my grandfather and his

brothers, a business that they took over

from their father. After that, I worked

at Osborne's Greenhouses, my uncle’s

plant and flower shop. Although I didn't

realize it at the time, I was learning

important lessons alongside my family. "

Attridge is a member of the North

Shore Association of Realtors, the

Massachusetts Association of Realtors

and the National Association of Realtors.

A member of the Chairman's Elite Club,

he has been a consistent top performer in

his 27 years in the industry.

Jack Attridge was the listing agent for 27 Brown St., built by Paradise Construction and sold last

September for $2.7 million.


When asked where All Marblehead

will be in 10 years, Attridge said he

doesn't see any significant changes in the


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Attridge and his wife, Jill, are the

parents of two daughters, Jessica and


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SPRING 2021 | 13

A peak inside

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14 | 01945

"The pandemic has brought a bike boom world wide," said Marblehead Cycle owner Dan Shuman.


The pandemic has people pedaling

The COVID-19 pandemic

has touched some small

businesses in surprising ways,

as one Marblehead bike shop owner has


“I’ve been here a long time,” said

Marblehead Cycle owner and resident

Dan Shuman. “The pandemic has

brought a bike boom worldwide. There

are more people out riding than ever

before, so we’ve been very busy.”

Shuman, who bought Marblehead

Cycle in January 2020, has been in the

bike business for most of his life. He

started as a teenage apprentice at the

shop in 1986.

The father of two purchased his first

bike store, Salem Cycle, in 2000 and has

remained a steady fixture in the local

cycling community ever since.

According to Shuman, when the

coronavirus pandemic hit the North

Shore in March, sales at both of his

shops skyrocketed.

An incentive for people to spend

more time outdoors, coupled with this

year’s unusually mild winter, has made

for a perfect storm of factors resulting in

the most frantic season of bike buying —

and bike fixing — he’s ever seen.

“I don’t know how many repairs we’re

doing every day, but we’re busy enough

where it’s taken a week to 10 days to get

them done,” Shuman said. “People are

coming from all over for bikes. We have

someone coming from Connecticut this


A report published in September


by market research firm NPD Group

found that shortly after the coronavirus

pandemic hit stateside last year, U.S.

sales of traditional bikes, indoor bikes,

bike parts, and other accessories grew

a combined 75 percent, resulting in

a nearly $1 billion increase in sales

compared to April 2019.

“There are no bikes available anywhere

in the world right now. They’re so hard to

get. I can’t order more Redline (bikes) in

any color,” Shuman said. “I have orders

with a bunch of different suppliers. I

placed a lot of the orders back in May,

and most have just started to come

in. For a lot of bikes, we won’t see any

more until April, May, June, except for


Extremely high demand, plus global

SPRING 2021 | 15

factory shutdowns, mean bike parts have

become scarce everywhere.

“Manufacturers don’t have the parts

to build the bikes because the people

that manufacture the parts don’t have

the parts,” Shuman said. “Because of the

pandemic, factories have shut down.

“Most of the parts are made overseas

in Asia, so they got shut down first, then

they couldn’t supply the product to the

bike companies to build the bikes, and

then the shippers got shut down.”

He added that strokes of plain bad

luck have also played a part.

“A lot of the bikes come on big

cargo holds across the ocean, and

about a month or two ago, one of those

freighters hit a big storm, and about

1,500 containers went over(board)," he

said. “It’s just one thing after another.”

Although he’s never seen such a

demand during his decades-long career,

Shuman said he does have colleagues

in the industry who witnessed a similar

spike in sales in response to the 1970s oil

crisis, during which a petroleum shortage

resulted in elevated gas prices that

forced many to turn to cheaper modes of


“Usually when the world has issues,

whether it’s a war or there’s a stock

market crash or an oil crash, the bike

Serving the North Shore since 1972

Cycling popularity during COVID-19 has made

bicycle parts scarce.


16 | 01945

Marblehead Cycle mechanic Marcie Clawson, of Manchester by the

Sea, repairs brakes.


Stage it.

Sell it.

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Realtor ® | Certified Home Stager

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Look your best

online and in person

“You never get a second

chance to make a

first impression.”

business still does well because people

need to get out and ride, and they need

transportation,” he said.

However, current demand is already

ensuring bikes are less affordable. Shuman

recently received a notification from

one of his suppliers informing him the

company’s prices had risen nearly 15


Thankfully, most customers have been


“They’ve been pretty OK with it

because there’s nowhere else where they

can find (what they need),” he said, noting

that he does still receive complaints about

his business’ strict COVID-19 safety

measures, which include asking customers

to wait outside the store’s front entrance

instead of going inside for assistance.

Although the strain of running two

wildly-popular bike shops have meant

months of little sleep, Shuman said

he’s simply grateful to see his business


“It’s a lot. I don’t get sleep or rest,”

Shuman said with a laugh. “Both stores

are busy. Usually service this time of year

would slow down quite a bit, but it’s still

been steady.”

SPRING 2021 | 17

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18 | 01945

His eyes are

on the prize




Zach Calmus was ranked 8th

nationally among amateur

heavyweight boxers before

turning pro.

When Marblehead’s

Zach Calmus won his

professional boxing debut

back in November, it was the culmination

of years of hard work and determination.

But after the fight, he was back in the

gym like it never happened.

“I didn’t really get hit in that fight

and it didn’t even go one full round, so

I was pretty much ready to go the next

day,” said Calmus, who graduated from

Marblehead High in 2009. “I honestly

felt like I could’ve done even better that

night, so I just wanted to keep working

and get another shot.”

Calmus, a heavyweight who trains at

Private Jewels Fitness in Lynn, picked

up that win at Granite Chin Promotions’

"Gold Rush” at New England Sports

Center in Derry, N.H. He won via

technical knockout just 2:48 into the very

first round against his opponent Yhago

Goncalves. Calmus hurt Goncalves with

a short punch and the referee called the

fight when he determined Goncalves was

unable to continue.

While Calmus has kept many things

the same since winning his first pro

fight, he’s also changed some things.

He’s continuing his workouts, sparring

sessions at Private Jewels and his day job

of moving large furniture, but he’s also

made crucial changes to his diet that

have had a profound effect on his wellbeing.

“I had been having stomach issues for

a long time, so we made a total change

to my diet and it’s been totally different,”

said Calmus, who prior to turning pro

had been a top-ranked amateur boxer for

much of the past nine years, including

being ranked No. 8 in the nation among

heavyweights in 2018 after winning the

New England Golden Gloves title in

2017. “I’ve lost 15 pounds since the fight

and I feel better and stronger than I ever


He’s continued his work with trainer

Alex Sepulveda at Private Jewels, a place

that Calmus says is second to none in

terms of training boxers for a fight.

“The reason why the fighters who

come out of Private Jewels are so good

is because we focus on the fighter here,”

said Calmus. “This is a place to make

yourself a better fighter, and Alex does a

great job of raising everyone’s level.”

SPRING 2021 | 19

Sepulveda also sets up sparring

sessions for Calmus with some of the

best heavyweight fighters in the world.

Just the other day, Calmus went down

to Dorchester to spar with Steve Vukosa

— who won the WBC United States

heavyweight title back in 2019.

“I’d rather work with a guy who’s

going to knock me down because that’s

what makes you better,” said Calmus.

“Alex sets up these sparring sessions

and it’s incredible. Without him, there

wouldn’t be a me.”

“Zach’s work ethic is unmatched,”

said Sepulveda, who also owns Private

Jewels. “The guy just can’t get enough. He

always wants to work on his craft and get


In addition to training, he’s continued

working with his manager, Patty Herlihy,

who Calmus calls “a godsend.”

“I’ve known her since I was 17 and

she’s the best manager in the game by

far,” Calmus said of Herlihy. “She’s

helped me with so much over the years

and she continues to help me every day.”

All of that work led him to a

tryout for the Bare Knuckle Fighting

Championship in February, where he was

one of 120 applicants selected from a

group of 6,000.

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship

(BKFC) is the first promotion allowed

to hold a legal, sanctioned and regulated

bare knuckle event in the United States

since 1889. Based in Philadelphia and

headed by former professional boxer

David Feldman, BKFC is dedicated

to preserving the historical legacy of

bare knuckle fighting, while utilizing

a specifically-created rule set which

emphasizes fighter safety.

In BKFC, only fighters who are

established professionals in boxing,

Mixed Martial Arts, kickboxing or Muay

Thai are allowed to compete.

Calmus made the trip down to

Tampa, Fla., on February. 5, where he

and 50 other fighters battled through

a grueling seven-hour tryout. Out of

the 50 fighters that day, only five were

selected for an interview. Calmus was one

of them.

“It was a crazy couple of days,”

Calmus said. “I had to arrange a flight for

me and Patty just 24 hours in advance

and get down there quickly, but once I

got there I felt totally prepared. To be

honest, I look exactly like the BKFC

logo so I think I’m the perfect fit for the


Whether or not he gets a shot

with the Bare Knuckle Fighting

Championship remains to be seen, but

Calmus isn’t only banking on that. He

Zach Calmus (left) has been

training with Alex Sepulveda at

Private Jewels Fitness in Lynn for

four years.

had a big fight offer in Mexico that he

had to turn down due to passport issues,

but he’s willing to get in the ring against

anyone, anytime.

“In a normal year, I probably would

have fought three or four times by now,”

said Calmus. “Things have been a little

less busy because of COVID, but places

are slowly starting to open up and I

think the opportunities are going to start

flowing in again pretty soon.”

20 | 01945

Home is

where the

museum is


Over more than thirty years, Doug

Hill has transformed his four-story house

into an informal "Marblehead Museum,"

an ode to the town that he calls home.

"I am a military dependent and

grew up moving all around as a kid,

and I would routinely collect mementos

from where I had lived. I'm just a

collector by nature," said Hill. "Because

I lived in Marblehead for 35 years, I've

accumulated a lot of Marblehead stuff."

Every inch of the home is bursting at

the seams with memorabilia, including

maps, paintings, books, plates, sculptures

and trinkets. Certain rooms can be

difficult to squeeze through for fear of

upsetting the piles of accumulated items.

The walls of the house are covered in

artwork, so high, in fact, that Doug said

he needed a ladder to hang many of the


Hill estimates that there are more

than 200 mementos scattered throughout

the house.

The "museum" is also a library,

featuring walls and walls of books, many

on the history of the area.

Much of the merchandise is

Marblehead-themed. For example, one of

the first things that you notice walking

through is a stained —glass octagonal

window depicting the Marblehead


The house is also filled with sculptures

and pictures of animals, with ducks,

whales and elephants as the primary


Even the bathrooms are not safe from

the abundance of items that Hill has

collected. One bathroom he refers to as

his "Marblehead Bathroom" is packed

wall-to-wall with town-themed items.

His "Duck Bathroom" is packed with

dozens of figurines and images of ducks,

inspired by his time living in Annapolis,


The stuff comes largely from yard

sales, though some items were given to

him as gifts, or purchased from local

Doug Hill has filled his Togan Way home with all things Marblehead.


"You can get some incredible finds

at yard sales," he said. "They're great for

finding treasure at reasonable prices."

He refers to his home as an organized

chaos. While he doesn't plan any rooms

out in advance, he will never pick up

an item at a yard sale without having a

specific place where he imagines it fitting

into his home.

"I always find a spot, and it always


feels like it's a perfect fit," he said.

Hill's favorite treasure is the very first

piece of Marblehead artwork he bought

— a painting by Elaine Daly, a local

artist who later happened to become a

friend of his.

"I have special feelings about that

particular piece," he said.

For Hill, there's no doubt that

Marblehead is his home.

"I immediately felt this connection

SPRING 2021 | 21

with this place," said Hill, who first

visited in 1978 while on leave from

the Air Force, where he was serving in


In a stroke of good luck, he happened

to be stationed at Hanscom Air Force

base only months later, which gave him

the opportunity to live in the town for

good. He moved to Marblehead in 1980,

though he only stayed for six months. He

returned in 1985 and has lived in town

ever since.

"Marblehead is a great community, to

move to and get involved in," he said.

After retiring from the Air Force, he

served as vice president of a consulting

firm in Westford, Mass. His next job

consisted of working at the desk of the

Marblehead YMCA. He later moved to

F.L. Woods, a nautical clothing store,

where he worked until his retirement last


Hill became involved in the

Marblehead Little Theater, playing the

role of a soldier in "South Pacific," which

wasn't much of a stretch for him, he

said, considering his military history. He

grew to love the company, and became

president of the organization in 2000,

where he oversaw the transition to

the firehouse space where the theater

currently resides.

He has also served on the board of

the Arts Association, and was the cochairman

of the North Shore Hospice


Through all of those roles, Hill

became well-known throughout

town and often bumps into a familiar

face whenever he walks around the


"It's the kind of place where you know

people," he said, "And people know you."

It is this sense of community that

makes Marblehead a special place for


"When you first see Marblehead, you

are taken by the history, the quaintness,

the harbor. But what makes Marblehead

special is the people and the sense of

community," said Hill. "It's at the end of

the line. Nobody comes to Marblehead

because they're lost. When people come

to Marblehead, they come to come home.

What we have is pretty special."


22 | 01945

Political power player has

Marblehead roots


Just a kid from Marblehead — Robert Wolf has risen to the pinnacle of Democratic politics as

economic advisor to former President Barack Obama. Wolf with President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2019.

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Before Robert Wolf served as an

economic advisor to former President

Barack Obama, founded his holding

company 32 Advisors, and became wellknown

as a contributor on Fox News, he

was just a kid from Marblehead.

"I just loved the town," said Wolf, who

grew up on Atlantic Avenue. "I loved the

summer at the beach. I literally spent every

summer either at Devereux or Preston

playing stickball. I lived and breathed

everything Marblehead."

He was a three-sport athlete at

Marblehead High School, playing

football, basketball and running track and

was inducted as a member of the town’s

Athletic Hall of Fame.

Always an ambitious student, he

went on to the Wharton School at

the University of Pennsylvania, where

he studied business and health care

administration, while continuing his

athletic career as a varsity football player.

"It was very humbling," he said of the

heightened level of athletic competition

at the Division. 1 college level. "You go to

college and you're suddenly the low man

on the totem pole."

After graduating, he decided to take

his talents to Wall Street, where he joined

Salomon Brothers in 1985. He wasn't

initially interested in the work, hoping to

go to medical school, but was pulled into

banking when he did a practice interview

on the company's trading floor.

"Being a Wall Street guy in the 80s

really fit me, because I was competitive,

aggressive and thrived in that

environment," he said. "For a young kid

who's 22 years old, going to Wall Street

was an incredible opportunity."

He left in 1994 to join Union Bank of

Switzerland (UBS) with hopes of building

something from the ground up, like

Salomon Brothers and other investment

banks had done before.

He rose through the ranks quickly

and, by the height of his career was the

chief executive officer and chairman of

UBS Americas and president and chief

operating officer of the Investment

Bank globally, with oversight of tens of

SPRING 2021 | 23

thousands of employees.

While he worked at UBS, he began to

get involved in the intersection of politics

and finance.

"I think I had politics in my blood,"

said Wolf. "But I didn't know it until I

started to get involved."

His first call to action came in 2002,

when, in opposition to the Iraq War, he

backed Democrat John Kerry for president

against the Republican incumbent, George

W. Bush.

He became more seriously involved in

2006, when he got in on the ground floor

of then-little known Sen. Barack Obama,

hosting the senator's first fundraiser in

New York and many more afterwards.

"I had this inclination that he was

the right guy, and that the nation wanted

change," said Wolf.

The pair hit it off right away.

"We had a lot in common. It was like a

checklist," said Wolf. "We bonded over our

kids, our favorite sports teams — Boston

versus Chicago — and of course, politics. I

was all in".

Wolf and Obama remain close friends,

frequently golfing together. Wolf also

serves on the executive board of the

Obama Foundation.

"One thing that people don't know

about him is that he's a husband and father

first," said Wolf. "We talk family all the

time. Yes, he is the most powerful person in

the free world, but he also wants downtime

to be with people where he can have fun

and talk about other things."

In August 2007, he was appointed

as Obama's economic advisor, where he

would meet with the future president

multiple times a week.

When Obama won the presidency

in 2008, Wolf continued to serve his

administration, acting as a member of the

former president's Economic Recovery

Advisory Board, the Council on Jobs and

Competitiveness, and the Export Council.

In those roles, he advised the president

on a variety of policies with a focus on Wall

Street regulation reform and infrastructure


Wolf considers himself a "pro business

progressive," believing in health care as a

right, gun control, immigration reform,

but not seeking large-scale government

Robert Wolf, right, with a couple of his golfing buddies, University of Kentucky basketball Coach John

Calapari and former President Obama, at Farm Neck in Martha's Vineyard.


intervention as a solution to those

problems. He views himself as more

moderate than those who identify as


"I believe in capitalism," he said. "I

believe it is important for the private sector

to be vibrant."

He believes that his ideology has

shifted left over the past few years, during

which time he has grown more concerned

about climate change and gun reform.

In 2012, it became more difficult

for Wolf to straddle the line between

running UBS and advising the president,

largely due to the fact that his Republican

challenger Mitt Romney was the favored

candidate of Wall Street.

Wolf decided that it was time to leave

the firm, and started his own company, 32

Advisors, named for his high school and

college sports number.

The firm is a holding company which

includes a direct investing arm, 32

Ventures, and the bipartisan economic

insights platform Strategic Worldviews,

which he runs with his partner, former

White House Director of Communications

Anthony Scaramucci.

He has also worked to elect President

Joe Biden, who he described as "a unifier,"

"real and empathetic."

Wolf said he spoke with Biden while he

was considering a presidential run in 2015.

"It seemed to me that he wanted to run,

but he was still grieving the loss of his son

Beau," said Wolf.

Though he stopped working directly

with the administration after Obama

left office in 2016, Wolf has remained

politically active, frequently appearing as a

contributor on Fox News and Fox Business,

presenting a more balanced option to the

stations' largely conservative viewership.

"We're in a very polarizing

environment. I felt like the other stations

had enough Robert Wolfs telling that

story," said Wolf, on the importance of

speaking to people across the aisle. "If you

don't tell someone on the opposite side

why you think something is good or bad,

then don't regret it if they don't hear your


While Wolf said that he wasn't very

involved politically growing up, he credits

his family and his town with shaping his

political ideology.

"I think that my family and my

community helped me think about what

is important in life," said Wolf. "Those

beliefs have led to my political involvement

and why I am proud to be a staunch


Wolf is married with two children, all

of whom are staunch Democrats (and sadly

for him, all New York sports fans).

24 | 01945

Sweet talk about

mental health


Gluten free

dishes are


Hand-made macarons are a Soul Sugar staple.

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781-593-3308 • yansbistro.com

Sunday to Thursday:

11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday to Saturday:

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How many times have you

found yourself wanting a

sweet treat but held yourself

back because you felt like you shouldn’t

be eating it? At Marblehead’s Soul Sugar,

you can throw all of those thoughts out

the window.

“The aim of Soul Sugar is to open a

dialogue around the relationship between

food and mental health, specifically

exploring ways that popular culture can

exacerbate things like disordered eating,

anxiety, depression and the feelings of

inadequacy that cause so many of us to

struggle in our daily lives,” said Caroline

Laramie, owner of Soul Sugar.

Soul Sugar is a woman-owned small

business that crafts custom-made sweets

to celebrate the relationship between our

minds, our emotions and the foods we


Laramie began making macarons

and meringues as a therapeutic tactic

— known as “baking therapy” — after

a culmination of traumatic experiences

and years of struggling with anxiety,

depression and an eating disorder.

Baking macarons involves a very timeconsuming

and technical process that

requires one to maintain focus from start

to finish. She started to get really good at

it as well, perfecting the art of making a

delicious macaron and eventually handing

them out to friends and family.

“I started getting incredible feedback

from everyone,” said Laramie. “It really

grew my confidence quickly.”

Baking sweets also allowed Laramie

to get comfortable being uncomfortable,

as she developed a new relationship with

what she previously perceived as “bad”


“These cookies are challenging to

make, and I had to stay so focused and

present that I wouldn’t drift into bad

thoughts,” said Laramie. “I started to

realize that sweets are meant to deliver

happiness and love, despite being thought

of as guilty pleasures by many.”

That self reflection and growth also

led Laramie to realize that there's still so

much to be done around educating people

SPRING 2021 | 25

Soul Sugar owner Caroline Laramie said it takes focus and confidence to make her custom sweets.

on mental health and their relationships

with foods.

Laramie pointed to a number of

reasons why she feels that dealing with

these issues is important.

— One in four Americans suffer from

a diagnosable mental health disorder in a

given year, and many depressive illnesses

tend to co-exist or exacerbate each other

— like depression, anxiety and eating


— More than 30 million Americans

live with an eating disorder. That number

is also growing, as those surveyed indicate

that popular culture and unattainable

standards of beauty — as well as perceived

happiness from fake images on social

media, for example — cause people to feel

unworthy or out of control.

Laramie said food is so emotionally

and psychologically charged for so many


“If using pretty cookies as a way to

gently introduce people to some heavy and

sometimes personally terrifying concepts

helps even a handful of individuals to

realize how twisted are our relationships

with mental health, eating disorders

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26 | 01945

Hard-to-make macarons are among Soul Sugar owner-baker Caroline Laramie's specialties.

and our own self-worth, then this is a

successful endeavor,” she said.

But still, Laramie needed a way to

put her plan into action. Having left her

job in the consumer products industry —

specifically the healthy lifestyle and sports

and nutrition space — in 2018, she was in

need of a direction.

She turned to Lynn nonprofit

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), an

organization that makes economic and

social impact in communities nationwide

through inclusive entrepreneurship

opportunities. Laramie had been a

mentor there for a couple of years, and

in September she decided to start using

the organization’s resources to her own


“It hit me like an epiphany one day

while I was driving down Lynn Shore

Drive,” Laramie said. “I just thought,

‘what am I doing?’ My experience helping

people at EforAll had been so rewarding,

and I think that experience really was a

catalyst for me doing this on my own. I

just decided to go for it.”

So now, Laramie’s business is in full

swing as word continues to spread about

her sweets. One of the biggest advantages

to getting an order is the method of

getting them — Laramie hand-delivers

each order.

“Everyone is either personally

struggling with mental health issues

or knows someone close to them who

is, it's math,” said Laramie. “Everyone

should care about destigmatizing mental

health and supporting businesses and

organizations that focus on improving our

mental health and well-being. People feel

like crap these days, and this is just a small

way to pick people up.”

On top of that, Laramie just wants

to show her children that they can do

anything they set their minds to.

“It’s really important for me to show

them that they can do anything they

want,” said Laramie. “I wanted to show

them that they can overcome obstacles in

their lives and achieve their dreams.”

To learn more about Soul Sugar or to place an

order, visit /https://www.soulsugarsweets.com/ or

find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and

Tik Tok.

SPRING 2021 | 27

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28 | 01945

Scan To Visit Us Online

He's worked in clay and bronze, but Marblehead artist Jonathan Sherman won't shun snow when it

comesto angel sculpting.





Jonathan Sherman says Renaissance

master Leonardo da Vinci, who died in

1519, changed his life.

“He was a big influence for me. I moved

to Florence, Italy, and studied his drawings

and paintings,” said artist Sherman,

relaxing in his large, sunlit studio on the

second floor of the historic Mugford

Building at 112 Washington St.

Sherman’s life-size (25.5 inches by 16

inches by 12 inches) bronze bust of da

Vinci is a so-called "open edition" — a

work of art that can be reproduced an

unlimited number of times.

Sherman created a life-size clay model

of da Vinci and, through the lost wax

process for creating works in bronze,

Amesbury-based foundry Sincere Metal

Works produced the bust. The bust is

hollow, but still weighs 110 pounds.

The likeness is from a self-portrait

drawn by da Vinci toward the end of his

life and a drawing of the master in profile

by his pupil Francesco Melzi.

“What an inspiration to be able to look

into the eyes of the man who sought to

understand everything,” said Sherman.

The first casting of the sculpture has

been purchased by Maddox & Partners

of Naples, Fla., and is exhibited in an

outdoor wine and sculpture garden there.

There will be five more bronze busts in

Sherman’s “Great Thinkers” series. Chinese

philosopher Confucious and ancient

Egyptian philosopher/mathematician/

astronomer Hypatia are next, with the final

three to be determined. All will be open

editions and the first castings have been

commissioned by Maddox to be installed

in the wine park.

Sherman's creation coincided with

the 500-year anniversary of da Vinci’s

death. His legacy is celebrated worldwide,

including major exhibitions in 2019 at The

Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace and

the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Sherman lived in Florence from 2003 to

2009, studying art of the Italian Renaissance.

Three da Vinci quotes that are

meaningful to Sherman are included on

the bronze bust: “The noblest pleasure is

the joy of understanding,” “Learning never

exhausts the mind,” and “Where Spirit does

not work with the hand, there is no Art.”

“One never knows when a creative idea

is going to happen,” said Sherman. “One

day, I thought, ‘You’re going to be making a

sculpture of Leonardo da Vinci.'”

And he did.

Sherman grew up in Marblehead, in

the shadow of Abbot Hall. His paintings,

drawings and sculptures are housed

in private collections in Europe and

throughout the United States.

Sherman is teaching virtual classes

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now at the Marblehead Arts Association.

It was there in 2011 that New York native

Elizabeth, then working at Marblehead

Arts Association, met Jonathan. Today, the

couple and their son, Apollo, and newborn

daughter, Alethea, live “in the epicenter of

Old Town, just down the road from the

studio. We are so fortunate. Elizabeth and

I do all this together, and Apollo spends a

lot of time with us here. We are blessed,”

he said.

Elizabeth is studio director and his

partner in life and business. The couple

traveled to Paris to experience da Vinci’s

works firsthand in the Louvre.

“‘Mona Lisa’ was not the piece of

Leonardo’s that spoke to me,” said

Jonathan, lamenting that it was impossible

to appreciate the painting while surrounded

by hundreds of phone-wielding tourists

elbowing one another to get a photo of the

iconic work.

It was another da Vinci painting,

“Virgin of the Rocks,” that captured his

attention. “I stood in front of it for two

days. It changed my life,” he said.

“Leonardo has been a guiding light

for me for many years. I have studied

thoroughly with the mind of an artist all

of his drawings and paintings, which have

awoken within me a richer appreciation

for the subtleties of the world in which I

live,” said Sherman. “Leonardo da Vinci,

throughout his life, was one of the greatest

embodiments of this joy and appreciation

for knowledge. When one is engrossed

in the process of learning to increase

understanding of the world, knowledge

of self expands, and the ability to navigate

in the world with greater richness,

appreciation and harmony ensues.”

Sherman has said that his works of art

are created from a deep love for human

beings and the human experience. “By

utilizing the language of nature: light,

shadow, depth, form, shape, proportion,

color and texture, which allow us all to

perceive the physical world, I am able to

fix on canvas, paper, in stone or bronze

timeless truths and wisdom pertaining

to the ever present loving relationship

between human and spirit.”

Bill Brotherton contributed to this story.

Jonthan Sherman and his wife, Elizabeth, are

partners in art.


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30 | 01945

Old friends team up

for a new venture

Double team— Chief

Edgar Alleyne (left)

and Johnny Ray are

opening The Beacon

Restaurant & Bar.



Special for 01945

Renowned entertainer and beloved

local personality, Johnny Ray, has

teamed up with his old friend,

Executive Chef Edgar Alleyne, to open

Beacon Restaurant & Bar in downtown


Beacon's 123 Pleasant St. location

— former home of Wick’s — has been

closed for several months while the pair

collaborated with investors, consultants

and designers to envision a restaurant that

they believe the town and its neighbors will

embrace and enjoy.

“Fortunately for us," Ray said, “the

owners of Warwick Place are very

dedicated to the community and wanted to

continue to provide an excellent venue for

food and entertainment.”

Ray explained that the new culinary

and libation endeavor not only involves

a renovation of the restaurant but also

a refurbishment of the entire property,

including the Warwick Cinema and The

Dandee Donut Factory.

The initial plan was to close the

restaurant and reopen in the spring, but

then COVID-19 hit and the country went

into lockdown.

During those months, the plan was

expanded into revamping the entire

property, which included installing new

luxury seating in the cinema and placing

a special emphasis on health and safety

during the pandemic.

“We resumed our plan as soon as Gov.

Baker Charlie issued the green light for

establishments to reopen, and we remain

committed to the additional procedures

and training required per the new health

and safety protocols," said Ray.

"We will always have one person

on staff exclusively dedicated to the

cleaning and sanitizing of all surfaces in

the restaurants, cinema, and throughout

Warwick Place to ensure that our

guests have a safe and healthy dining

and entertainment experience – and

that undertaking will continue for the

foreseeable future.”

Alleyne is already well-known and

esteemed on the North Shore, having been

the executive chef at The Red Rock Bistro

in Swampscott for many years.

Johnny and Edgar first met there about

20 years ago, and as they became friends

the pair often mused about opening their

own place together someday.

They vowed their formula would be

simple: great food, great ambiance, and great

entertainment. An attainable concept – but

their stars didn’t align until just recently.

Ray has operated an award-winning

fine-dining establishment in Wellfleet called

Bocce Italian Grill, where he would host

and entertain during the summer months.

When he learned that the Wick’s space

might be available, he gave Alleyne a call

and they both decided the time had come

to realize their dream.

“Everyone involved really wants to

create a place that the town can be proud

of and that will serve as a dining and

entertainment destination for visitors

from all over. The décor will pay homage

to the town in a lot of subtle ways, and

SPRING 2021 | 31

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Chef Edgar has put together an amazing

menu that will feature tomahawk steaks,

sword chops, shelled lobster and unique

flatbreads, plus delicious appetizers like

tuna tartare and the shellfish tower. And

yes, when the time is right, there will be

entertainment. You can count on it,” he


In addition to the restaurant’s fresh,

seaside aesthetic, the property also features

a large outdoor patio that has been updated

with landscaping to provide more privacy

for guests, and a large parking lot adjacent

to Warwick Place with ample spots for

patrons. For more dining options, The

Beacon Featuring Dandee Donuts will also

offer a full daily breakfast menu and an

expanded weekend brunch menu.

“We have collected a great team of

restaurant professionals. Be prepared to

see some familiar faces and of course make

some new friends as well,” Ray promised.

Although the official restaurant website

is still implementing some finishing

touches, the staff wants to welcome

everyone to join their Facebook page


Old friends Edgar Alleyne (seated) and Johnny Ray are planning to open The Beacon Restaurant & Bar

in the former home of Wick's on Pleasant Street.


32 | 01945

He answered the call


When Peter Jackson received a call in

July asking him to participate in Moderna’s

COVID-19 vaccine trial, the Marblehead

resident didn’t hesitate.

An executive for a subsidiary of

healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson,

Jackson (who was not speaking on behalf

of his company) said he had no qualms

about jumping headfirst into the biotech

giant’s vaccine race, the local trials for

which would take place right at Brigham

and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“I knew it wasn’t going to kill me, and

I knew Brigham and Women’s was one

of the preeminent medical centers in the

United States,” Jackson said. “If you’re

going to be a part of any kind of trial for

a vaccine, you want to be in the academic


Jackson, who is Black, said his racial

background was largely what prompted

him to take on the challenge, adding

that thanks to his professional training

— which includes extensive working

Town resident and health executive Peter Jackson

help test COVID-19 vaccines.


knowledge of Johnson & Johnson’s HIV

studies — he felt more than prepared for

what lay ahead.

“This is the world I live in. I’ve been in

pharmaceuticals for over 20 years. Even

though that had nothing to do with me

being in the study, I had the education,” he

said. “All I do is talk about clinical trials, so

I had a really strong understanding of what

was going on.”

Moderna, whose vaccine was approved

by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

in December, was the second healthcare

company — after Pfizer — to receive the

go-ahead for U.S. distribution.

However, medical experts across the

U.S. expressed concern during the vaccine’s

early trials that people of color weren’t

accurately represented, despite being one of

the demographics most devastated by the

COVID-19 pandemic.

Minority enrollment was so poor, in

fact, that Moderna was at one point forced

to shut down sites with high Caucasian

enrollment to avoid skewing test results.

“When you look at the graph, it’s

amazing,” Jackson said. “If you were a white

male living in the suburbs, they didn’t need

you anymore. They had too many people

living in the suburbs that were working at

home who weren’t exposed to anything.

What they really needed was the guy

driving the bus for the MBTA. He’s at risk

every single day.”

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SPRING 2021 | 33



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34 | 01945

Music for

a strange time

Marblehead High School sophomore Gwen Trimarchi

plays the trumpet during concert band practice.


It's safe to say that concert bands

were not meant to play comfortably

during the middle of a pandemic

and the band students at Marblehead High

have gotten a crash course in that lesson

this year.

Between mask with built in flaps to slip

in the reed of a flute, saxophones adorned

with their own masks coverings at the end

of their bells and classes spaced out over

the school's entire auditorium, it's been

quite the change.

"Obviously there's a lot less in-person

time," said senior Chris Williams, who

plays percussion. "That means less effective

practice time, even if there is a good reason

for it. There's just not a lot of time to

buckle things down."

Less time for in-person practicing

has to do with the hybrid system at

Marblehead High. Students have been

cut into two cohorts, A and B, for band

practice once a week. Despite the smaller

numbers one of the biggest problems

besides practice time has been the sound


"It’s weird because you can only hear

yourself with the way the sound is while

we're this spaced out," said senior Abby

Schwartz, who plays the flute. "It can be

hard to keep in time with each other."

"We're trying to make it work," added

senior Eleanor Small, who plays the

saxophone in the concert band. "It's not

always perfect or anything like that. It's

really hard to hear some of the lower parts

because we're missing some lower brass.

We're missing our best clarinet players

— they're in cohort B, and some other

saxophone players too."

Through all the struggles band director

Kevin Goddu has scrambled to try to make

things flow as best they can throughout the

year. That meant outdoor practices in the

early fall, fully-virtual lessons at times and

everything in between.

"The marching and acapella bands were

able to do some concerts outside earlier so

we're hoping to get back to that when we

get warmer weather again," Goddu said.

"The kids have just been really resilient.

Some days are better than others, and we're

bummed out to not see each other as much.

That’s where our focus as teachers has been

this year, making sure the kids are doing


"It was hard to work individually,"

Schwartz said. "Mr. Goddu is doing the

best he can, really. But it's sad we haven’t

had any live concerts. That's usually my

favorite part. I always liked hearing the

high school band play."

What's lacking can hopefully make

some sort of a comeback in the near

future. And while things are still a work in

progress, there have been plenty of lessons

learned along the way — some more useful

than others.

MUSIC , page 36

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36 | 01945

MUSIC from page 34

"Marblehead has a lot of wild turkeys

and they can be aggressive sometimes,"

Goddu said. "We've had some incidents

but everyone adapted. I’ve been impressed

with how the kids have been taking it.

It's turned into a fun experience. I never

thought I'd learn how to take care of a

generator to keep things running outside.

That's not something they teach in music


On the technology side, Goddu and

choral music teacher Andrew Scoglio

learned to listen to recordings and weave

them together using Final Cut Pro, a

video editing software, to create some

semblance to a full concert.

It has been up to the students to

embrace that technology the best they can.

"As someone who has done that a

lot it wasn't a big deal for me, but I can

imagine kids who have never done that

having a big issue," Small said. "This year,

we are working with a lot of digital audio

workstations (DAWs). It's definitely

a different branch of music. A lot of

students don't really see it in any music

class. We don't have a class like that. I

know that they want to eventually make

a studio here so students can record and

I think that it's been a great thing to

introduce in the school setting."

Pandemic players-Top: A

specially - designed face

mask helps Marblehead

High School senoir Eleanor

Small make music during a


Bottom: Masked conductor

Kevin Goddu leads the

Marblehead High School

concert band.

She broke down the walls inside her


SPRING 2021 | 37

Wendy Tamis Robbins was only 6 years

old when she had her first panic attack.

"And they really didn't stop after that,"

the Marblehead author recalls.

For nearly 40 years, Robbins suffered

from what she calls "treatment resistant

anxiety." After that first attack, she

continued to deal with a series of anxious

symptoms, which included further episodes

of panic and a number of serious phobias.

Those symptoms could be debilitating,

she says. For example, as a child, she had

an intense fear of the rain, which made

everyday life difficult.

"By the time I was in my late 30s, I

really reached this point in my life where

I asked myself the question: could I ever

live a life not limited by this debilitating

disorder?" said Robbins.

"I had been at rock bottom, and as the

title of the book alludes to, I had built these

walls so thick and tall to protect myself

against what were at first real fears, but

Marblehead author Wendy Tamis Robbin's book, "The Box: An Invitation to Freedom from Anxiety" is

scheduled to be released on May 4.

38 | 01945

Writer Wendy Tamis Robbins walked a long road to become anxiety free.


SPRING 2021 | 39

then became irrational fears and (eventually

manifested as) an anxiety disorder."

The book Robbins is referring to is

her new memoir, "The Box: An Invitation

to Freedom from Anxiety," which is

scheduled to be released on May 4. And

those walls she spent much of her life

building? They represent the box that the

book discusses.

"I realized (the box) was a prison I was

living in," said Robbins, who also works as

a corporate tax and finance attorney.

Robbins said she kept building the

walls of her box out of fear. She started to

avoid the things and conversations that

were triggers for her phobias and anxiety,

which only led to the walls getting thicker

and taller. Metaphorically, that made it

more difficult for her to escape her anxiety,

Robbins explained.

"I thought speaking scary thoughts

would just take me over," she said, noting

that she eventually realized avoiding her

fears was exacerbating her anxiety and she

had to do the hard work to open that box

she had built.

"You can't keep your anxiety locked

up in this cage. You've given your power

to the anxiety when you try to lock it up

again. When you open up the door, you're

actually taking your freedom back and it

actually dispels the anxiety and the fear of

it," Robbins said.

Getting to that realization wasn't easy,

though. It was a decade-long process,

prompted by a major life event, that

convinced Robbins she needed to escape

the prison she had built for herself.

The first breakthrough for Robbins

came when she was 34 and decided to get

a divorce from her first husband. Leaving

that marriage was her first step toward

finding her way out of the box, she said,

explaining that it prompted a journey

of self-discovery that included exposure

therapy, meditation, and traveling on her


However, 10 years later, when Robbins

was in her early 40s, she found that anxiety

was still controlling her life on a daily

basis. She sought advice from psychiatrists

and other healthcare providers that was

centered around a simple query: Is it

possible to have suffered from anxiety for

this long, and then at some point come to a

place where anxiety is not plaguing you on

a daily basis?

The doctors lacked the answers she was

looking for, Robbins said, noting that all,

but one person, told her that they didn't

know. That one outlier was Martha Beck,

One in three people are struggling with panic disorders, said writer Wendy Tamis Robbins.

known for being Oprah Winfrey's life


"Martha Beck was the only person who

had a different answer," said Robbins. "I

decided I had to go on her quest to see a

life beyond anxiety. In that course, I got to

speak with her directly."

Part of Beck's course included an

"amazing meditation," where Robbins

learned how to sit with her thoughts,

which for people with anxiety is no easy

task, she said.

"Just imagine a horse running and

running in a cage — it's really your anxious

thoughts running and running," Robbins

said. "It was a really amazing entry into

meditation and learning how to calm your


Now, at 48, Robbins considers herself

to be anxiety-free, which, as she's quick

to clarify, doesn't mean that she is free

of anxiety, but that the disorder doesn't

control her life anymore.

In fact, Robbins — who lives in

Marblehead with her second husband,

David Robbins, and her two teenage

stepchildren — now sees her anxiety as her

"superpower," since it gives her insight into

what's going on in her brain.

"Instead of resisting it, now I move

toward it," she said. "I know it's going to

give me this gift of resilience."

That so-called superpower enables

Robbins to see the open wounds that she

still needs to heal, and the places where she

still needs to grow in her recovery, she said.

"It's actually making my life stronger

than I ever thought possible," Robbins said.

Now that Robbins is "living outside the

box," she's hopeful that her new book will

help others who are struggling with anxiety

and panic disorders. She sees her upcoming

memoir as having particular significance

during the COVID-19 pandemic, when

so many people are dealing with mental

health issues.

"I think the biggest takeaway from the

book is you're not alone," Robbins said.

"One in three people are struggling with

these mental illnesses, so for the people

suffering, I would say definitely reach out.

Find people who have found their way out.

Use them as examples of what is possible.

(After) hitting rock bottom, listening to

other people's stories was life-saving for


For more information about Robbins and

her upcoming memoir, "The Box," check out her

website at https://www.wendytamisrobbins.


40 | 01945

A paws for comfort


A plush cuddly toy with origins in

Marblehead is now widely used by New

England police and fire departments for

its ability to provide comfort to children

in crisis.

Trouble the Dog was an inspiration

flash for Sheila Duncan one night in 2006

when she was at home with her niece

watching the St. Jude Telethon.

The fundraising event to continue

the fight against childhood cancer and

other life-threatening diseases sparked

a conversation among Duncan's family

members who had suffered several recent

cancer losses, including the father and

grandmother of Duncan's niece and their

family dog.

"(My niece) was doodling and the St.

Jude Telethon came on, and she said, 'I have

to help those kids,' and she instantly drew

Trouble the Dog," said Duncan. "It was one

of those divinely-inspired moments."

From there Duncan started the Kennek

Foundation, which donates the comfort

toys to children who need them the most.

Duncan said people would request Trouble

the Dog for kids who had been bullied or

were struggling with anxiety.

She credits Gary Freedman, owner of

Marblehead Opticians, for helping the

Kennek Foundation get its start in 2014 —

he's been a donor from day one, she said.

Today, Trouble the Dog plush toys and

its accompanying storybook are donated to

first responders across New England and to

Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston

and Springfield.

In Springfield, Trouble has its own

spot on the hospital's wall of therapy dogs,

Duncan said.

"I think the thing that really warms

my heart is how grateful the first

responders are," said Duncan. "They're just

phenomenal. The stories just bring tears to

your eyes because they use Trouble right at

the moment of impact. It's really powerful.

I'm grateful to be able to do it. It's much

bigger than me."

The Marblehead Police Department

benefited from another donation of Trouble

the Dog toys this past summer, which

enabled the department to continue to keep

one of the stuffed animals in each patrol car

and at the police station, according to Police

Capt. Matthew Freeman.

Since receiving their first donation

Marblehead Police Officer Andy Clark accepts a

Trouble the Dog toy from Sheila Duncan, to help

traumatized children.


about three years ago, Freeman said the

department's officers have used the stuffed

animals to calm children down after car

crashes and domestic violence situations.

They have also been provided to

children with behavioral issues who have

been acting out in school, he said.

"We use those to help out children who

are in crisis, or maybe where the family is

in crisis, to give them something to hold

onto or love," said Freeman. "It's a really

nice way to help kids stay calm or regain

their composure through a bad situation.

"We were all kids once. We all had

stuffed animals to hold onto when we were

afraid. Sheila has taken that to a whole new

level," he added.

Duncan stopped by the station last

August to drop off two additional Trouble

the Dog toys at the department's request

— her initial donation was 13 stuffed

animals, Freeman said.

"We're just thrilled to death to have

her think of us and continue to make the

donations," he said.

Duncan said she's found that first

responders are "so passionate about helping

kids and Trouble is a proven coping

mechanism that gives them the ability to

comfort kids when they need them the


"He's a special little dog," she said. "We

call Trouble an angel in disguise because

there's a little magic to him. For years,

(children) won't go to sleep without Trouble

the Dog. He's got a spirit about him."

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