01907 Spring 2021

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Big<br />

Blues<br />

SPRING <strong>2021</strong><br />

VOL. 6, NO. 1

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02 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

A publication of Essex Media Group<br />

Publisher<br />

Edward M. Grant<br />

Chief Executive Officer<br />

Michael H. Shanahan<br />

Directors<br />

Edward L. Cahill<br />

John M. Gilberg<br />

Edward M. Grant<br />

Gordon R. Hall<br />

Monica Connell Healey<br />

J. Patrick Norton<br />

Michael H. Shanahan<br />

Chief Financial Officer<br />

William J. Kraft<br />

Chief Operating Officer<br />

James N. Wilson<br />

Community Relations Director<br />

Carolina Trujillo<br />

Controller<br />

Susan Conti<br />

Editor<br />

Thor Jourgensen<br />

Contributing Editors<br />

Gayla Cawley<br />

Cheryl Charles<br />

Contributing Writers<br />

Mike Alongi<br />

Elyse Carmosino<br />

Gayla Cawley<br />

Daniel Kane<br />

Steve Krause<br />

Guthrie Scrimgeour<br />

Ann Marie Tobin<br />

Photographers<br />

Spenser Hasak<br />

Julia Hopkins<br />

Design<br />

Sean Casey<br />

Advertising Design<br />

Sean Casey<br />

Edwin Peralta Jr.<br />

Advertising Sales<br />

Ernie Carpenter<br />

Ralph Mitchell<br />

Eric Rondeau<br />

Patricia Whalen<br />


110 Munroe St.,<br />

Lynn, MA 01901<br />

781-593-7700 ext.1234<br />

Subscriptions:<br />

781-593-7700 ext. 1253<br />

<strong>01907</strong>themagazine.com<br />


04 What's Up<br />

06 Fun Facts<br />

08 Note by note<br />

12 House Money<br />

14 Hard hitters<br />

18 Write Stuff<br />

A foodie's delight<br />

INSIDE<br />

20 Town slice<br />

23 Bakery way<br />

26 Hope's Anchor<br />

28 History's house<br />

30 Pastor Power<br />


What is it about food anyway? We seem to pay an awful lot of attention to it. I know I do. Maybe it's<br />

because one of the few things we have left as this pandemic careens toward its first anniversary is food.<br />

We have three articles in this month's <strong>01907</strong> devoted to food -- two about the fun of it and one about<br />

the seriousness of it.<br />

We could call this first article "Hello, Newman's." In this case, it's Deb Newman, sister of Jessica, who<br />

is part of the family that ran Newman's Bakery on Humphrey Street since 1966. The bakery is closed, but<br />

Deb has opened "The Baker's Daughter," a meatless diner farther down the street, closer to Marblehead,<br />

than the bakery was.<br />

"I wanted people to see you could eat yummy food and it doesn't have to have meat in it," she says. So<br />

far, the response has been very positive.<br />

Gayla Cawley has the story.<br />

Next we take a peek into an old town standby -- Cindy's Pizza and Subs, another Humphrey Street<br />

eating establishment. Cindy's has been around for more than 40 years, and about the only thing that's<br />

changed is that it's middle school kids now, and not high school students, who patronize it.<br />

"It's been great living and working in town for this long," said Cindy's owner Nunzio Freddo. "You get<br />

to see kids who you saw when they were little, now bringing in their own kids."<br />

Guthrie Scrimgeour has the story.<br />

Now for the serious. When the Anchor Food Pantry was ready to open last year, nobody had any idea<br />

just how vital a place like that would be. But then COVID-19 pandemic swept through the North Shore,<br />

bringing with it business closures and loss of jobs, and all of a sudden, the food bank became a necessity in<br />

the town.<br />

Elyse Carmosino has the story.<br />

Elsewhere, Swampscott resident Carolina Velasquez is encouraging the community to "Adopt a<br />

Grandparent," a national initiative she has joined that aims to bring joy to seniors during the COVID-19<br />

pandemic.<br />

Gayla Cawley has the story.<br />

When town residents Eddie and Carley Alvarez opened the doors to Alvarez Family Boxing back in<br />

late November, it was a culmination of a lifelong dream and a full year’s worth of hard work.<br />

Mike Alongi has the story.<br />

For Swampscott native Douglas Volk, getting his novel, "The Morpheus Conspiracy," from his mind<br />

onto paper was a long process — 39 years long to be exact.<br />

Daniel Kane has the story.<br />

Is Swampscott home to the oldest wooden structure in North America?<br />

The answer is complicated but comes down to this — unless and until the John Humphrey Memorial<br />

House on Paradise Road undergoes a dendrochronology examination, nobody knows the answer.<br />

Anne Marie Tobin has the story.<br />

If you crossed the treacherous intersection of Humphrey Street, Atlantic Avenue and Puritan Road as<br />

a child sometime in the past 40 years, you met Irma Rubin.<br />

Guthrie Scrimgeour has the story.<br />

Also, The Rev. Jeffrey MacDonald is bringing new perspective to Nahant Village Church. Elyse<br />

Carmosino tells how; In the year since the pandemic shutdown, Edi Rovi and the Swampscott band have<br />

had to undergo many adjustments and changers. Mike Alongi explains it; and among some of the town's<br />

fun facts, learn the history of the Gen. Glover House on Salem Street.<br />

The menu is pretty diverse in this issue. Grab yourself something to eat and dig in.<br />

COVER<br />

A pandemic can't keep<br />

Swampscott High<br />

senior Kiki de Melo<br />

away from her music<br />

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4 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

WHAT'S UP<br />

Pooch pass<br />

What: If your dog is licensed with the<br />

town and has a rabies certificate, you<br />

can get a pooch pass to the dog park.<br />

Where: Go to swampscottma.gov for<br />

registration and five dollar payment<br />

processing.<br />

When: The park is located on town land<br />

bordering Swampscott Cemetery off<br />

Essex Street.<br />

Time to vote<br />

What: It's town election time with<br />

eight town-wide office seats and<br />

at least 18 Town Meeting seats in<br />

contention.<br />

Where: Visit swampscottma.gov or email<br />

sduplin@swampscottma.gov for more<br />

information.<br />

When: Tuesday, April 27. The last day to<br />

register to vote is Wednesday, April 7.<br />

Show your love<br />

What: For the Love of Swampscott is<br />

always looking for residents interested<br />

in fostering love and enthusiasm for<br />

our community.<br />

Where: Visit fortheloveofswampscott.org<br />

for more information.<br />

When: To suggest activities<br />

or volunteer, email<br />

fortheloveofswampscott@gmail.com<br />

One with nature<br />

What: The Swampscott Conservancy<br />

is dedicated to helping support the<br />

town in preserving open space and<br />

conservation land.<br />

Where: The group currently holds talks<br />

and webinars on Zoom with organizations<br />

including Salem Sound Watch.<br />

When: For more information, email<br />

swampscottconservancy@gmail.com<br />

Wowbrary<br />

What: The Swampscott Public Library<br />

has a big selection of children's and<br />

young adult books.<br />

Where: Go to swampscottlibrary.org<br />

Look for the Wowbrary window and<br />

click on a book cover image to place a<br />

book on hold for borrowing.<br />

When: For more information, email<br />


Target your message<br />

to an affluent audience<br />

Milling around<br />

Madam Clerk<br />

Little big reader<br />

SPRING <strong>2021</strong><br />

VOL. 4, NO. 1<br />

Contact us at:<br />

781-593-7700<br />


6 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

Beach<br />

Grazers<br />

At one point the beaches of<br />

Swampscott weren't always just a<br />

nice place for the summer. They<br />

actually served as a pound. Back<br />

when farming was commonplace<br />

in town and animals like cows and<br />

horses would regularly venture off the<br />

land, they were impounded (like a car<br />

would be today) along the beaches,<br />

where owners had to pay to bring<br />

them back home.<br />

The facts of<br />

<strong>01907</strong><br />


For the love of<br />

Glover<br />

The General Glover house<br />

located on Salem Street in Vinnin<br />

Square has been left unkempt<br />

for some time. During the<br />

Revolutionary War the property<br />

belonged to a British Loyalist, but<br />

was confiscated and given to war<br />

hero General John Glover as a<br />

retirement home. In more recent<br />

years, the property eventually<br />

became a restaurant before closing<br />

in the 1990s. Last year, it was<br />

issued a violation notice from the<br />

town of Swampscott for being a<br />

“blighted or unsafe structure.”<br />

Hallowed<br />

Ground<br />

Another piece of history is the<br />

Swampscott Cemetery. The town's<br />

only cemetery for more than 160<br />

years, it was established in 1852 as one<br />

of the first acts of the new community.<br />

The original section of the cemetery<br />

is listed on the National Register of<br />

Historic Places. Andrew's Chapel,<br />

located in the center of the cemetery,<br />

has been restored by the Andrew's<br />

Chapel Committee.<br />

Dory days<br />

Many years ago, the Naumkeag<br />

Native Americans fished the<br />

waters along Swampscott's coast<br />

and that tradition grew into<br />

some famous salt cod businesses<br />

throughout the years. The town<br />

even inspired the name of a<br />

traditional fishing boat called the<br />

Swampscott Dory.<br />

This Boston statue commemorates John Glover.<br />


Wet walk<br />

Among the remnants of the town's<br />

fishing days is a set of stairs located<br />

across from St. John's Episcopal<br />

Church on Humphrey Street, which<br />

is only recognizable during the day's<br />

lowest tide.

Historic mansion.<br />

Seaside cottage.<br />

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8 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

And the band<br />

played on<br />

On March 17, 2020, just one week away<br />

from its annual spring concert with the<br />

jazz and percussion ensemble, Swampscott<br />

High School band members were stunned<br />

to learn that the school was ordered shut<br />

down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

“It was kind of surreal when it<br />

happened at first,” said Edi Rovi, who is<br />

in his sixth year as Swampscott’s band<br />

director. “We actually were talking about<br />

moving the concert up a week so we could<br />

get it in with no worries, but there were<br />

scheduling conflicts that got in the way so<br />

that didn’t happen.”<br />

In the year since, Rovi and the<br />

Swampscott band have had to endure<br />

a litany of changes, adjustments,<br />

disappointments and learning.<br />

The Swampscott High School band<br />

is a typical high school marching band of<br />

31 members, with woodwind, brass and<br />

percussion instruments making up the group<br />

— which Rovi calls “well-balanced” in terms<br />

of the numbers of each instrument type.<br />

There is also a separate jazz and percussion<br />

ensemble, and the band collaborates often<br />

with the Swampscott High chorus.<br />

The band is normally busy for the entire<br />

calendar year. Starting with band camp in<br />

August, a normal year for the musicians<br />

consists of performing at football games<br />

in the fall, visiting the annual University<br />


of Massachusetts Band Day in November,<br />

holding concerts in December, March<br />

and May, performing at the graduation<br />

ceremony and performing at both the Lynn<br />

and Nahant Memorial Day parades.<br />

“Our schedule is usually pretty full for<br />

the entire year,” said Rovi, who teaches<br />

a host of music classes at Swampscott<br />

High including introduction to drums,<br />

introduction to guitar, history of rock,<br />

music technology and many others. “It<br />

was definitely a drastic change for us to go<br />

from always preparing for a performance<br />

to not having anything to look forward to.<br />

But we’ve been able to make the best of it<br />

regardless.”<br />

Naturally, every performance over the<br />

past 11 months has been canceled and the<br />

Swampscott band hasn’t performed for a<br />

live audience in over a year. But that doesn’t<br />

mean they’re not meeting.<br />

Band camp was canceled in August, but<br />

students began meeting again after school<br />

in late October. Rovi meets with his band<br />

members weekly, and the band has adjusted<br />

to not being able to all be in the same place<br />

at once due to safety protocols.<br />

“We started meeting virtually pretty<br />

early on after things were shut down, but<br />

we ran into the fact that performing via<br />

BAND, page 10<br />

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concert band.<br />



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10 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

BAND, continued from page 8<br />

Zoom was really tough due to the quality,”<br />

he said. “Once we were able to start<br />

meeting again after school, we’ve been able<br />

to fit 24 kids at a time in the auditorium<br />

and we have the rest watch via Zoom, and<br />

then we rotate those groups so everyone<br />

gets a little of both.<br />

“It’s definitely been a stressful time<br />

and lesson plans have had to be altered<br />

dramatically,” Rovi added. “You’re just trying<br />

to make each day enjoyable for everyone and<br />

keep all the students engaged every day.”<br />

Despite everything from meeting<br />

together to getting feedback being altered<br />

dramatically by the pandemic, Rovi has seen<br />

great enthusiasm from every one of the band<br />

members. And it looks like things are starting<br />

to have potential for getting back to normal.<br />

While the December concert was<br />

canceled a few months ago, there are talks<br />

about a smaller scale concert in March that<br />

will hopefully be held in the auditorium.<br />

The May concert will hopefully be held<br />

outdoors, with two to three members of<br />

each bandmate’s family allowed to attend.<br />

Football has been approved to start in late<br />

February and the band is in talks with the<br />

principal and athletic director to perform<br />

at games again — although there are<br />

potential issues in terms of cold weather<br />

affecting the instruments.<br />

And as far as the Memorial Day<br />

performances in Lynn and Nahant, Rovi<br />

says that if the parades are happening then<br />

the band will be there.<br />

“We’ve met with the principal and<br />

the consensus is that it would be best for<br />

everyone if we could manage to make this<br />

spring concert<br />

happen and get<br />

things started,”<br />

said Rovi.<br />

“We’d love to<br />

do football<br />

games and<br />

we’re waiting<br />

to hear about<br />

that, and we’re<br />

really hoping<br />

that Memorial<br />

Day will<br />

happen as well.<br />

We know that<br />

a lot can change in a short period of time, so<br />

we’re just staying hopeful.”<br />

According to Rovi, one of the key<br />

reasons that the band has been able to<br />

continue on its path without a single<br />

outbreak has been personal accountability.<br />

“We told everyone from the beginning,<br />

we all have to take this seriously if we want to<br />

remain healthy and start getting things back<br />

to normal,” said Rovi. “They all understand<br />

the responsibility they have and they have<br />

continued to take the proper precautions, and<br />

it’s kept everyone safe this whole time.”<br />

Rovi has also learned a lot about<br />

himself over the course of the year, both<br />

personally and<br />

professionally.<br />

“The biggest<br />

things I’ve<br />

learned about<br />

are patience and<br />

flexibility,” said<br />

Rovi. “Patience<br />

has been tough<br />

because there<br />

have been so<br />

many new<br />

things to learn<br />

and it can be<br />

frustrating at<br />

times. Even though we’ve had 100 percent<br />

attendance almost every day this year, you still<br />

have to learn to be flexible as kids are dealing<br />

with so many different things in their lives. It’s<br />

truly been a learning experience for everyone.”<br />

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SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 13<br />

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The Alvarez<br />

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gave up the<br />

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Brandon Martinez, 9, of Salem trains at Alvarez<br />

Family Boxing.<br />


SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 15<br />

Carley, Misty, 3, and Eddie Alvarez, of Swampscott,<br />

look out from their boxing ring in Salem.<br />


When town residents<br />

Eddie and Carley<br />

Alvarez opened the<br />

doors to Alvarez Family<br />

Boxing back in late November, it was a<br />

culmination of a lifelong dream and a full<br />

year’s worth of hard work. And if you ask<br />

them, it was all worth it.<br />

“It’s been a lot of work, but I always<br />

tell people that it took 25 years to get<br />

to this point and we wouldn’t change it<br />

for anything,” said Eddie. “This whole<br />

experience over the past year-plus has<br />

really centered us and made us realize the<br />

importance of your little 'pod' and the<br />

health of those around you.”<br />

“When we made the decision to move<br />

forward, we said that nothing would stand<br />

in our way,” said Carley. “We already had<br />

money saved and we’ve always wanted<br />

this, so there was no looking back once we<br />

decided to go for it.”<br />

But opening their dream business<br />

didn’t come without some pandemic-sized<br />

obstacles.<br />

On the day the Alvarezes were handed<br />

the keys to their new space back in<br />

March 2020, there were rumblings of the<br />

COVID-19 shutdown. One week later, the<br />

entire country shut down for the foreseeable<br />

future.<br />

“It all came down to one question for<br />

me, and that was, ‘would you let a hurricane<br />

stop your dream?’” Eddie said. “We just said<br />

to ourselves that we had to find a way. We<br />

gutted the whole place and worked on it<br />

every day.”<br />

“We had so many people step up to help<br />

us, and we honestly couldn’t have done all of<br />


this without their help,” said Carley. “There<br />

were months where we only had enough to<br />

pay rent, but people still came through to<br />

help us keep pushing forward.”<br />

The Alvarez family, made up of Eddie,<br />

Carley and their three-year old daughter<br />

Misty, moved to Swampscott from<br />

Somerville a little over two years ago. Eddie<br />

and Carley have both been involved in the<br />

fitness industry for more than a decade,<br />

with Eddie working as a boxing trainer and<br />

Carley as a health coach. They had always<br />

wanted to own a gym of their own, but fulltime<br />

jobs and a young family made it feel<br />

like the dream was always just out of reach.<br />

But after the move to Swampscott,<br />

Eddie and Carley decided that the time was<br />

right.<br />

Alvarez Family Boxing, which is located<br />

at 17 Canal St. in Salem, is a smaller space<br />

where the focus is on training in a safe,<br />

family-friendly environment. The small<br />

size makes you feel like you’re training in a<br />

private facility, but the variety of workout<br />

programs and equipment means that there’s<br />

something for everyone.<br />

“There’s something about the feeling of<br />

being in a private gym that motivates you to<br />

work harder, and that’s something that we<br />

strive for,” Eddie said. “It’s an ‘Instagramfriendly’<br />

space and that’s a draw for some<br />

people, but the majority of our clients have<br />

been families with kids. The kids can get<br />

a workout while the parents do their own<br />

thing and vice versa, which is really great.”<br />

One of the biggest draws for Alvarez<br />

Family Boxing is the fact that they don’t use<br />

the typical membership approach that many<br />

other gyms do. Instead of locking customers<br />

in for months or even a year at a time,<br />

Alvarez Family Boxing offers weeks-long<br />

memberships with much more flexibility.<br />

“We’ve both worked at big gyms<br />

and seen what it’s like to try and cancel<br />

memberships and how people get locked<br />

into long-term memberships,” said Carley,<br />

who has previously worked as a fitness<br />

director. “We understand that, especially in<br />

these times, people sometimes need more<br />

flexibility in their lives. That’s what we try to<br />

provide.”<br />

When the Alvarezes started building<br />

out their space and the gym began to take<br />

form, people walking by on the street began<br />

to take notice. Eddie says that they basically<br />

didn’t need to do any marketing for the<br />

gym because so many people had heard<br />

about it through word-of-mouth. That only<br />

intensified once they opened the doors, as<br />

the “Instagram-friendly” setup of the space<br />

acted as a marketing tool in itself.<br />

“People just walk in off the street to see<br />

what’s going on, and everyone we’ve met is<br />

glad to see that a healthy place where people<br />

can feel comfortable is close by,” Carley said.<br />

And the reception from the community<br />

has been remarkable, as Alvarez Family<br />

Boxing is currently booked to near capacity<br />

for the next two months.<br />

“The reception has been amazing and<br />

off the charts,” Eddie said. “I don’t think we<br />

realized the kind of market that a place like<br />

ours would have, and the support from the<br />

community has been unreal.”<br />

“It’s more than we ever expected,”<br />

Carley said of the reception. “We feel so<br />

ALVAREZ, page 16

16 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

ALVAREZ, continued from page 15<br />

lucky to have all these people that believe in what we’re doing<br />

and support us.”<br />

As far as the future is concerned, the Alvarezes want to<br />

continue to invest in their business so that they can give the best<br />

possible experience to anyone who walks through the door.<br />

“There’s no reason why regular, everyday people can’t have<br />

the same access to fitness that the elite athletes do,” Carley said.<br />

“We want to continue to build and expand training for women<br />

and young girls as well, but we really just want to be a great<br />

family place where everyone can come to get their workout<br />

done.”<br />

Alvarez Family Boxing is currently still open by appointment<br />

only, with one-on-one and family boxing sessions available.<br />

Misty Alvarez, 3, of<br />

Swampscott plays with a<br />

children's punching bag<br />

at Alvarez Family Boxing<br />

in Salem.<br />


Eddie Alvarez of Swampscott, owner of Alvarez Family Boxing in Salem, trains with<br />

Chelsea Martinez, 14, of Salem.<br />

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18 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

Well worth the wait<br />


For Swampscott native Douglas<br />

Volk, getting his novel, "The Morpheus<br />

Conspiracy," from his mind onto paper was<br />

a long process — 39 years long to be exact.<br />

Throughout those four decades, Volk<br />

wrote whenever he could, all while raising<br />

a family and becoming the chief executive<br />

officer of his Volk Packaging Corporation<br />

in Biddeford, Maine.<br />

"I would take whatever time I had, an<br />

hour here or an hour there, to write," Volk<br />

said. "Sometimes it was during lunchtime<br />

or when the kids were asleep, whenever I<br />

could find time. It just took over.<br />

"When the idea for the story first came<br />

to me, I didn’t know why," Volk added. "I<br />

had never done anything creative. But I<br />

was very focused. I tried to get the creative<br />

out and it was exciting. I had this story in<br />

my head for 10 years. It was all written in<br />

my head. It was something I had to do. If I<br />

didn’t, I felt like I’d be mad at myself."<br />

Flash forward to last year and Volk<br />

had not only completed "The Morpheus<br />

Conspiracy," but its two sequels, "The<br />

Surgeon’s Curse" and "Destiny Returns,"<br />

all three a big hit with readers and critics.<br />

Together they tell the story of the Morpheus<br />

Curse, a paranormal curse that gives a<br />

Vietnam veteran the power to invade other<br />

people’s nightmares with deadly results.<br />

The idea for the horror/thriller trilogy<br />

itself had deep roots in Volk's own<br />

experiences that include growing up in<br />

Swampscott. Volk played on the Big Blue's<br />

golf team and still remembers attending<br />

football games in the freezing cold. Years<br />

later as a young adult he would serve in the<br />

Vietnam War himself.<br />

Volk remembers the time all too well.<br />

From watching Walter Cronkite report on the<br />

war to listening to President Richard Nixon's<br />

false promises of peace at his inauguration,<br />

which Volk himself attended, in 1969.<br />

"There were thousands of protesters<br />

and students," Volk said. "Nixon made<br />

a commitment to ending the war but he<br />

didn’t do that. That struck me and hit hard<br />

for me, I was very upset about the whole<br />

thing. I could’ve stayed home but joined a<br />

reserve unit. It was a growing experience<br />

for me. I wouldn’t want to do it again but it<br />

left a mark on me."<br />

The tragedies of the war kickstart the<br />

entire "Morpheus Trilogy." "The Morpheus<br />

Conspiracy" begins with a Vietnam veteran<br />

named David Collier returning home to<br />

Swampscott, mocked and ridiculed like many<br />

soldiers were at the time, but also carrying<br />

a curse that allows him to invade people's<br />

nightmares, often killing his victims.<br />

The curse itself is actually the curse of<br />

war, Volk says, and it has heavy inspiration<br />

from the post-traumatic stress disorder<br />

that has plagued many veterans. Volk also<br />

spent time in a sleep study lab at Duke<br />

University in order to make his nightmarefueled<br />

story as realistic as possible.<br />

"One of the symptoms of PTSD is<br />

recurring nightmares," Volk said. "They<br />

lose sleep because of it. That gave me<br />

the idea. It was very interesting to study<br />

sleep. This was before the internet. It<br />

was a real challenge. I spent time in the<br />

sleep laboratory and this was before<br />

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and<br />

Accounting Act) so I was able to watch the<br />

doctors monitoring their patients (and) saw<br />

that firsthand."<br />

All that work helped the trilogy — now<br />

available to read on Amazon and Kindle<br />

— become a great success since the first<br />

novel was published in 2018. The response<br />

has been better than Volk himself ever<br />

imagined during all those years of creation.<br />

"It's all really exciting," Volk said.<br />

"I never imagined it would be here from where it was. The whole process, I miss it<br />

in a way. Netflix is looking at the stories right now and a film producer from<br />

Scottsdale has talked about them, but I don't know what will happen with any of<br />

that. Fun things are going on right now wherever it goes."<br />

– Douglas Volk

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Nunzio Freddo, owner of Cindy's Pizza & Subs in<br />

Swampscott, tosses dough as he prepares the first<br />

pizzas of the day.<br />


SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 21<br />


For more than 40 years, Cindy's Pizza & Subs has been the local<br />

hangout spot for middle school kids, and even during the pandemic,<br />

that hasn't changed.<br />

"It's been great living and working in town for this long," said<br />

Cindy's owner Nunzio Freddo. "You get to see kids who you saw<br />

when they were little, now bringing in their own kids."<br />

"The parents always knew that if they were hanging out at<br />

Cindy's then they were safe," said Freddo. "They would always come<br />

in and ask if the kids were giving me any trouble."<br />

Freddo said that they rarely ever do.<br />

"It's important to lay down the rules," he said.<br />

The rules are simple — be respectful to the guests and pick up<br />

after yourself.<br />

"We say, 'your mom doesn't work here,'" Freddo said.<br />

Even in COVID times, Cindy's status as the spot for local kids<br />

has remained, with business staying strong.<br />

"We were lucky we weren't hit that bad," said Freddo. "In the<br />

beginning it was a little slow, but it picked up as the year went along.<br />

It gets better and better every month."<br />

The toughest part of the pandemic for him has been wearing a<br />

mask all day.<br />

"Especially when you're standing in front of a hot oven," he<br />

explained.<br />

Freddo has laid out a new set of rules for his young customers —<br />

stay socially distant and wear a mask.<br />

He thinks that the restaurant's ability to survive during the<br />

pandemic comes from the quality of its products.<br />

Freddo's father had a saying: It doesn't matter where you are — if<br />

you have a good product, people will always find you.<br />

"We've pretty much stuck with that," Freddo said.<br />

The menu has stayed nearly the same over the past 40 years,<br />

which features specialty pizzas, subs, salads, and fried foods.<br />

Freddo has been working at Cindy's since he was in sixth<br />

grade, which was more than 40 years ago when his dad bought the<br />

restaurant.<br />

On Sunday mornings, he and his family would wake up before<br />

the crack of dawn and commute from Somerville to open the<br />

restaurant — which at that point was also a convenience store — at<br />

4:45 a.m. The first thing he did was assemble the Sunday papers,<br />

section by section.<br />

"Back then we sold 300 Sunday papers, so it took a while," said<br />

Freddo. "That was our Sunday morning. It was tough, but as a family<br />

we all just did what we had to do. Growing up in a strict Italian<br />

home, whatever your dad<br />

PIZZA, page 22

22 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

PIZZA, continued from page 21<br />

said, that went."<br />

After the first year of operation,<br />

the family moved into a house in<br />

Swampscott a few blocks away from the<br />

restaurant. He was grateful he could walk<br />

to work. He attended Swampscott Public<br />

Schools and met his wife, who also grew<br />

up in town.<br />

"It was a small community and you<br />

knew everyone," he said. "And working<br />

here, everyone knew you. You couldn't do<br />

Nunzio Freddo, owner of Cindy's Pizza & Subs in Swampscott, puts an Italian cold cuts pizza out for<br />

display.<br />


anything wrong because if you did, they<br />

would tell your dad."<br />

He said he misses the sense of<br />

community that used to come with town<br />

events, which has been lost due to the<br />

pandemic.<br />

"Like anything else though, they're<br />

going to come back," he said. "We just<br />

have to be patient."<br />

Now, Freddo arrives in the restaurant<br />

a little later, at around 7 a.m.<br />

The first thing he does is prepare for<br />

the day, making the sauce and tossing the<br />

dough, an old family recipe. His mother<br />

Anna, who is 77, still comes in to help<br />

prep in the morning.<br />

Then comes the lunch rush, a brief<br />

lull, and the dinner rush. They finally<br />

close up shop at 9 p.m.<br />

It has been a little less active in the<br />

winter months, he said.<br />

During the summer, even in the<br />

pandemic, there is no lull. The restaurant<br />

stays busy all day.<br />

When the weather gets better, Cindy's<br />

plans to set up outdoor seating, and once<br />

again bring the neighborhood kids in<br />

for the classic pizzas, subs and fries they<br />

have been eating for the last 40 years.<br />

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SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 23<br />

Chip off the old bakery<br />


Deb Newman stands in her new<br />

restaurant, The Baker's Daughter<br />

Diner, on Humphrey Street in<br />

Swampscott.<br />


For many in Swampscott, the<br />

Newman name immediately<br />

conjures up images of a<br />

longtime staple in the<br />

community, Newman's Bakery, which<br />

closed its doors this past September.<br />

At the time of its closing, siblings<br />

Bernard and Jessica Newman were<br />

operating the bakery, but it was their<br />

parents, Joe and Bertha Newman, who<br />

started the family business in 1966.<br />

Seeking retirement, Bernard and<br />

Jessica decided it was finally time to close<br />

the long-running bakery last year, but<br />

another sibling, Deb Newman has been<br />

working to keep the family legacy alive.<br />

Two months after Newman's Bakery<br />

closed, Deb Newman opened up a food<br />

establishment of her own, aptly named<br />

The Baker's Daughter Diner. Her sister,<br />

Jessica, is even involved, working in<br />

customer service at the front counter.<br />

However, while Newman learned the<br />

trade from growing up, and also working,<br />

in her parents' bakery, which they bought<br />

when she was only 10 years old, she is<br />

quick to differentiate between the two<br />

establishments.<br />

"My place is not Newman's Bakery,<br />

the second," she said. "It's different."<br />

Along with operating in an entirely<br />

different location on Humphrey Street,<br />

Deb runs a diner rather than a bakery,<br />

and one that also has a much different<br />

type of menu.<br />

The Baker's Daughter, located at 646<br />

Humphrey St. in Humphrey Plaza, is a<br />

meatless diner, borne out of Newman's<br />

desire to provide great-tasting vegetarian<br />

food, unlike the bland options the selfprofessed<br />

finicky eater has had to deal<br />

with in the past.<br />

"The reason I wanted to open up a<br />

meatless diner and bakery was because<br />

I'm a big animal advocate," said<br />

Newman. "I wanted people to see you<br />

could eat yummy food and it doesn't<br />

have to have meat in it. I have to say the<br />

response has been great, even from meat<br />

eaters."<br />

BAKERY, page 24

24 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

BAKERY, continued from page 23<br />

Although Newman, 65, said she has<br />

always been an animal advocate, she<br />

did not decide to become a vegetarian<br />

until her time in law school, when she<br />

began to read about animal law and the<br />

brutality of factory farming.<br />

"I decided, why am I even eating<br />

meat?" she said. "I thought to myself, if<br />

I really had my consciousness raised, I<br />

would have been a vegetarian long ago.<br />

I do aspire to become a vegan. That's<br />

something I hope to do also."<br />

On the diner's website, Newman<br />

describes her meatless dishes as "comfort<br />

food you'll crave. No more blah. No<br />

lowered expectations. Just yummy stuff<br />

made from scratch — appetizers through<br />

dessert," the website said.<br />

For a diner that operates from 7<br />

a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, aside from<br />

Monday when it's closed, and from 7<br />

a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends, what that<br />

boils down to is a lot of egg dishes,<br />

including a variety of omelettes and<br />

breakfast sandwiches, Newman said.<br />

"People love the bread pudding that I<br />

make," she said. "There's a lot of savory<br />

things too. The menu is quite extensive<br />

actually for a meatless place so I think<br />

The Baker's Daughter Diner owner Deb Newman plans to offer an extensive menu.<br />

people are surprised at all of the options<br />

there without meat and it tastes good."<br />

Deb has also kept a bit of Newman's<br />

Bakery alive in Baker's Daughter, noting<br />

that she couldn't help herself from<br />

making baked goods, some of which are<br />


made from recipes that would be familiar<br />

to longtime Newman's customers.<br />

"I have a whole case of baked goods,"<br />

she said. "Some of them are recipes from<br />

my father, so people are happy about that."<br />

While Newman said the response<br />


SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 25<br />

from the community has been great so<br />

far, she is unsure if her business will<br />

survive given the hardship brought on by<br />

the COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

Baker's Daughter was only open for<br />

four months before she had to shut it<br />

down entirely in late December, as it<br />

became too cold for people to sit outside<br />

Humphrey Street has a new meatless restaurant owned by a familiar face.<br />

and eat. Even when the diner was open,<br />

Newman was not able to open up the<br />

actual indoor dining area. Patrons either<br />

ate outside or got takeout, she said.<br />

"I thought it would make more sense<br />

financially just to pay my rent rather<br />

than hope that people come in," said<br />

Newman. "Wintertime is typically less<br />


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busy for all food businesses, plus I think<br />

with the pandemic, people are staying in<br />

more and cooking for themselves more.<br />

Until it warms up a bit, I think I'll just<br />

stay closed."<br />

At the time of publication, Newman<br />

was hoping to reopen in early March,<br />

but had some doubts about the future of<br />

Baker's Daughter. However, unlike others<br />

at her age who have opted for retirement,<br />

Newman, who is also active on town<br />

boards and committees and with her<br />

animal advocacy, plans to keep working,<br />

even if it means starting something new.<br />

"I like to have something to do,"<br />

she said. "I know it sounds ridiculous. I<br />

wanted to have a meatless diner. I had<br />

been thinking about it for a few years.<br />

I guess I just thought it would be fun.<br />

With everything that's happened with<br />

the pandemic, it may not last which is<br />

unfortunate, but I'll find something else<br />

to do. I need to be doing something.<br />

"I don't understand how people retire at<br />

my age and just sit around and do nothing.<br />

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90s and I probably will too. What am I<br />

going to do all day? Watch TV?"<br />

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Hope's<br />

Anchor<br />


When a small group of Swampscott<br />

community members decided in 2019 to<br />

open a food bank, they had no idea how<br />

soon or how desperately their services<br />

would be needed.<br />

Just days before the new pantry was<br />

set to open its doors in March 2020, the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic swept through<br />

the North Shore, shutting down nearly<br />

every aspect of everyday life and bringing<br />

with it a wave of job losses that caused<br />

communities everywhere to fear the worst.<br />

“Friday, March 13 was our last day in<br />

school,” said teacher Laura Spathanas, a<br />

former member of the Swampscott Select<br />

Board and one of a group of individuals<br />

who helped found what’s now known as<br />

the Anchor Food Pantry. “That Monday,<br />

March 16, we were up and running.<br />

“We opened our Facebook page and<br />

started getting funds, then we went to the<br />

store and bought enough food at that point<br />

to make 40 bags of groceries.”<br />

Currently located at the Swampscott<br />

Senior Center inside Swampscott High<br />

School, the food bank is actually an<br />

iteration of the town’s Interfaith Food<br />

Pantry, which was originally run by a group<br />

of four to six local churches.<br />

For nearly two decades, the involved<br />

parishes rotated duties, providing monthly<br />

food donations to approximately 30 to 35<br />

seniors and families.<br />

Then in the late summer of 2019,<br />

Spathanas and several others received some<br />

news.<br />

“Those churches reached out to a couple of<br />

community members, one of them being an<br />

employee at the Swampscott Senior Center, to<br />

say they couldn’t really sustain what they were<br />

doing but wanting to know if we had any ideas<br />

for how we could continue doing what they<br />

were doing in a different way,” Spathanas said.<br />

“That’s when I got involved.”<br />

Senior Center representative Gina Bush<br />

reached out to For the Love of Swampscott<br />

president Diane O’Brien for help, and<br />

O’Brien went on to recruit Spathanas.<br />

Unaware of what lay in store, the group<br />

quickly went to work.<br />

“The three of us met continually with<br />

the churches after that to answer (the<br />

question) ‘how can we help these<br />

families and even make it bigger? How<br />

can we make it a whole community<br />

pantry?’ We talked for several months<br />

and eventually came up with the<br />

concept for the Anchor Food Pantry,”<br />

Spathanas said.<br />

After researching Swampscott’s<br />

specific food needs, the three women<br />

created the pantry’s mission statement<br />

and found a temporary location in a<br />

central part of town.<br />

A board of directors was then<br />

appointed, and the pantry finally held<br />

its first board meeting in February<br />

2020.<br />

Then the pandemic hit.<br />

“At the time we thought, ‘oh this<br />

is a two-week shutdown. We’ll do<br />

what we can (to get food to families),’”<br />

Spathanas said. “Then things kept<br />

rapidly changing and we had to just<br />

keep plugging along.”<br />

Even before the pandemic, food<br />

insecurity had been a growing issue in<br />

Swampscott.<br />

According to the Massachusetts<br />

Department of Elementary and<br />

Secondary Education, 16 percent of<br />

Swampscott students identified as<br />

economically challenged during the<br />

2019-2020 school year — an alarming<br />

uptick compared to just 4 percent in<br />

2004 and 8 percent in 2009.<br />

Spathanas also noted that, according<br />

to data included in the Swampscott<br />

2025 Master Plan — which was<br />

adopted in 2016 — approximately one<br />

quarter of Swampscott households<br />

qualify as low-income and earn less<br />

than 80 percent of the Area Median<br />

Income, making them eligible for<br />

housing assistance through most state<br />

and federal programs.<br />

The need is just as pressing in the<br />

community’s senior households, with<br />

Spathanas adding that according to a<br />

survey conducted by the Swampscott<br />

for All Ages (SfAA) Needs Assessment<br />

Report in October 2019, 22 percent of<br />

respondents aged 65 and older reported<br />

a median area income of less than<br />

$25,000 per year.<br />

For many involved in the pantry,<br />

those numbers aren’t surprising.<br />

“When we did the research, the<br />

number of students coming from<br />

families below the poverty level was<br />

higher than what I think people expect<br />

for Swampscott,” Spathanas said. “But<br />

the teachers said, ‘we know. We’re<br />

TOP: Laura Spathanas helped found Anchor Food<br />

Pantry, located in the Senior Center.<br />

MIDDLE: Anchor Food Pantry board member Kayla<br />

LeClerc helps feed 50 households every month.<br />

BOTTOM: From left, Kayla LeClerc, Susan Cripps, and<br />

Laura Spanthanas said hunger in Swampscott is a<br />

reality.<br />


SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 27<br />

leaving food in their lockers. We’re making<br />

sure we have snacks in our drawer. We’re<br />

making sure they have food throughout the<br />

day and over the weekend.’"<br />

“People say, ‘why do you have to do this in<br />

Swampscott?’ It’s because this is the reality.”<br />

Since last spring, however, the Anchor<br />

Food Pantry has managed to help mitigate<br />

some community need by providing services<br />

to an average of 50 households each month.<br />

The frequency of each family’s visits is<br />

based primarily on individual needs, with<br />

some coming every week, some every other<br />

week, and some once a month.<br />

Spathanas added that although the<br />

pantry is currently focusing on keeping up<br />

with demand, the board eventually hopes to<br />

expand its services by providing families with<br />

the necessary tools to get back on their feet.<br />

“It’s definitely been a reactionary time,<br />

trying to get families what they need, but<br />

eventually we want to try to provide other<br />

things,” she said. “As amazing as it’s been<br />

opening this pantry, we want them to, at<br />

some point, no longer need to come.”<br />

The Anchor Food Pantry is open on<br />

Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings.<br />

Those interested in providing monetary<br />

donations can make checks out to Anchor<br />

Food Pantry at 43 Berkshire St., Swampscott.<br />

Due to an upcoming change in location,<br />

the pantry is not currently accepting<br />

food or item donations unless otherwise<br />

specified on the Anchor Food Pantry<br />

Facebook page or website.<br />

When reflecting on why she felt called on<br />

to assist with the pantry, Spathanas — who<br />

referred to the outpouring of community<br />

support for the pantry over the last year as<br />

“amazing” — recalled the help she received<br />

from family during her own difficult times.<br />

“Growing up I never needed to visit a<br />

food pantry, but when I was young and out<br />

of college and starting a job, I went every<br />

weekend to my mother’s food pantry. I went<br />

through her cabinets. I did my laundry there.<br />

If I didn’t have her, I would have struggled,”<br />

she said. “Right now, this particular year has<br />

been really hard on so many people, so we try<br />

to make it like that — like a family.”<br />

Laura Spathanas, president of Anchor Food Pantry, unloads donations brought by Jeff Gunther of<br />

Swampscott from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynnfood drive.<br />


Everyone Moves! Let us guide you<br />

through the process!

28 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

The house where history lives<br />


Is Swampscott home to the oldest<br />

wooden structure in North America?<br />

The answer is complicated but comes<br />

down to this — unless and until the John<br />

Humphrey Memorial House on Paradise<br />

Road undergoes a dendrochronology<br />

examination, nobody knows the answer.<br />

What is known is that the home was<br />

built shortly after Sir John Humphrey<br />

arrived in America in 1634 with his<br />

wife, Lady Susan, and their children<br />

from Dorchester, England. Landing in<br />

Salem Harbor, the ship was loaded with<br />

ammunition, heifers and the bricks, oak<br />

beams and other products believed to have<br />

been used to build the home.<br />

A wealthy barrister and member of the<br />

Massachusetts Bay Company, Humphrey<br />

was the first deputy governor of the<br />

Massachusetts Bay Colony, serving under<br />

Gov. John Winthrop. Humphrey had<br />

received a land grant from King Charles I<br />

containing 1,500 acres in Swampscott.<br />

"The only way to determine the true<br />

age of a structure is dendrochronology,"<br />

said Swampscott Historical Society (SHS)<br />

President Molly Conner. "Without that, we<br />

cannot know for sure. We know that it was<br />

built by the earliest colonists who settled<br />

here, so it is a First Period house. It's a socalled<br />

memorial house because we can't say<br />

for sure if it dates back to 1637, but we do<br />

think it was built by John Humphrey as he<br />

brought framing and brick from England.<br />

Until we have information that can only<br />

be obtained through dendrochronology, we<br />

don't know if this is one of the oldest, or<br />

the oldest wood-framed houses in North<br />

America."<br />

Dendrochronology is a scientific<br />

process in which core samples of wood<br />

collected from the structure are analyzed<br />

to determine the age of the wood, thereby<br />

narrowing down the date the structure<br />

was likely constructed. The process is more<br />

commonly used to determine the age of<br />

trees through the examination of tree rings.<br />

Conner said there are only two<br />

businesses left in the eastern United States<br />

in the dendrochronology business, one of<br />

which has a vast reservoir of wood samples<br />

from England with timbers dating back to<br />

the 17th century.<br />

Conner said an English historian found<br />

that the house has many features that are<br />

very similar to the Fairbanks Home in<br />

Dedham, which was built between 1637<br />

and 1641. Fairbanks Home is considered<br />

the oldest house of timber-frame<br />

construction in North America as verified<br />

by dendrochronology.<br />

Conner said the Humphrey family lived<br />

in the house for only a few years before<br />

Humphrey went off to the Caribbean and the<br />

home was sold to Lady Deborah Moody in<br />

1641.<br />

"She was one of the first women<br />

landowners in the New World," Conner<br />

said.<br />

For the past 100 years, the house has<br />

served as the home of the society, which<br />

purchased the home in 1921 with the help<br />

of public donations.<br />

The home was originally located on<br />

what is now Elmwood Road. The structure<br />

was moved in 1891 to its current location<br />

on Paradise Road to make room for a<br />

development designed by famed architect<br />

Frederick Law Olmstead. The original<br />

chimney, measuring 14 feet by 16 feet was<br />

left behind.<br />

There have been 11 owners of the home, the<br />

current one being the Swampscott Historical<br />

Society which purchased the home 100 years<br />

ago with the help of public donations.<br />

"If you drive around town you will notice<br />

their names in street names and beach<br />

names," Conner said. "Burrill Street (John<br />

Burrill, Sr. and Honorable Eberneser Burrill),<br />

Mudge Street (Hon. E. Redington Mudge)<br />

and King's Beach was named after the third<br />

owner, Daniel King," Conner said.<br />

The home has many fascinating features<br />

The Sir John Humphrey Memorial House<br />

on Paradise Road in Swampscott is<br />

thought to be one of the oldest<br />

wood-timber buildings in North America.<br />


SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 29<br />

and interesting details including original<br />

floorboards, a secret passageway and<br />

hand-decorated beams and paneling.<br />

The home contains an archive of<br />

memorabilia and historic photographs,<br />

documents and artifacts collected that<br />

document and preserve Swampscott's<br />

history.<br />

The first floor contains a parlor<br />

furnished with donated items from the<br />

Victorian period. In the kitchen, the<br />

pantry area was the original fireplace,<br />

with a small narrow passage to the main<br />

chimney of the house. The framing<br />

and handrail of the main staircase are<br />

believed to date to the mid-17th century.<br />

The kitchen stairs and the upper<br />

rail hall have wide boards called "king's<br />

boards" because the Massachusetts<br />

Colony was required to keep all wide<br />

timber for the king's fleet. The ceiling<br />

beams are original white oak with<br />

wooden pegs.<br />

The second floor has a museum<br />

room that displays a collection of<br />

artifacts and items donated to the SHS<br />

over the years. Many of the beams<br />

across the ceiling were decorated by<br />

Native Americans in the early 1700s,<br />

said Conner. A panel has been removed<br />

from the wall to expose handmade<br />

bricks and mortar mixed with seaweed.<br />

The third floor has a child's room<br />

and storage area, both with wide<br />

floorboards and original white oak<br />

beams. The set includes a settee, chair,<br />

rocking chair and table. All are handcaned<br />

with seats woven from rush with<br />

geometric designs that give a threedimensional<br />

appearance.<br />

Swampscott Public Library Assistant<br />

Director Susan Conner (no relation) said the<br />

house is a "really key element in Swampscott<br />

history, which after becoming the home of<br />

the Swampscott Historical Society, has had<br />

a long and interesting existence."<br />

Before the pandemic hit last year,<br />

Humphrey House opened its doors<br />

to the public every year on the Fourth<br />

of July and also hosted society events<br />

in September. The society's annual<br />

members' spring garden party was also<br />

held there. Prior to the pandemic, the<br />

annual (and popular) third-grade field<br />

trip was held at Humphrey House.<br />

"We've always had trouble finding<br />

volunteers to stay open, so we are<br />

limited," said Conner. "But we have had<br />

private group events at times and also the<br />

school tours, which we hope maybe will<br />

resume this spring. When you tour the<br />

house, you definitely step back in time."<br />

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30 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

Faith has a new voice in town<br />


The Rev. Jeffrey MacDonald<br />

is bringing new perspective<br />

to Nahant Village Church.<br />

As the congregation’s<br />

interim pastor and consultant,<br />

MacDonald, who began his tenure in<br />

January, has experienced a somewhat<br />

unusual career trajectory.<br />

The Marblehead native spent his first<br />

few years after graduating from Brown<br />

University as a news reporter, completing<br />

an internship at The Salem News before<br />

eventually moving on to a bigger<br />

newspaper gig in North Carolina.<br />

After spending a total of four years<br />

working full-time in the industry — a<br />

foray he described as a “great experience”<br />

— MacDonald said he wanted to explore<br />

different avenues, ultimately deciding to<br />

pursue a new role in the church.<br />

He went on to enroll in Yale Divinity<br />

School, although at the time, he was<br />

unsure of what exactly his next steps<br />

would be.<br />

“Reporters are interested in truth,<br />

and so are people who study the Bible<br />

and ask the big questions about life. It<br />

was sort of the next stage of my truthseeking,<br />

I think,” he said of his divinity<br />

school experience. “It sort of crystalized<br />

for me while I was there that I could<br />

continue to do journalism and I could be<br />

ordained and serve the church.<br />

“I could do both. I could write about<br />

the truth with a lowercase ‘t’ and the<br />

truth with a capital ‘t’ depending on<br />

which day of the week it is.”<br />

Since then, MacDonald has split his<br />

time between journalism and the church,<br />

managing to find fulfillment in both.<br />

“It’s evolved over time, what I do. It’s<br />

been an interesting journey,” he said as<br />

he recalled his first post-divinity school<br />

journalism appointment on Plum Island<br />

in Newburyport.<br />

“I was getting assignments from<br />

editors I had never met or spoken to who<br />

were emailing me while I was there,”

SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 31<br />

he said. “It was kind of a novelty at the<br />

time, getting assignments from people<br />

you didn’t talk to. I was just out there<br />

on Plum Island, which felt like the<br />

end of the world, carving out my own<br />

news bureau and serving at a great little<br />

church.<br />

“I was like, 'wow, this is a pretty cool<br />

life I’ve made for myself.' It was very<br />

meaningful work on both sides.”<br />

Since being ordained in 2000,<br />

MacDonald has had ample<br />

opportunity to cover both religion<br />

and hard news, and his unusual<br />

career path has provided him a<br />

front row seat to some of the most<br />

historic breaking news events of the<br />

21st century.<br />

He’s reported on the 9/11<br />

terrorist attacks and the Sandy<br />

Hook Elementary School shooting,<br />

and as a freelance writer for USA<br />

Today, he reported on the Whitey<br />

Bulger trial in 2013, and the<br />

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial in 2015.<br />

Rather than shying away from<br />

part-time reporters, MacDonald<br />

said news outlets often see value<br />

in hiring writers with diverse<br />

professional backgrounds.<br />

“They recognize that having<br />

someone with pastoral training<br />

doesn’t hurt on certain stories,” he<br />

said. “It can help bring a certain ear<br />

and certain sensibility to certain<br />

types of stories, including those<br />

that involve tragedy.”<br />

He added that the skills he<br />

employs as a journalist also play a<br />

strong role in how he conducts his<br />

congregations.<br />

“It affects the way I do ministry,<br />

too. Different pastors have different<br />

styles, and I think a lot of my style<br />

involves asking questions. Asking<br />

questions of the scriptures and<br />

questions of the parishioners that<br />

help bring out what’s there inside,”<br />

he said. “There’s so much richness<br />

in the Bible and there’s so much<br />

richness in our congregations. The<br />

stories people have to tell and the<br />

wisdom they have to share doesn’t<br />

always reach the surface unless it’s<br />

drawn out through questions. I<br />

feel like I’m using tools from my<br />

journalism toolbox frequently in<br />

ministry.”<br />

MacDonald most recently<br />

served at First Parish Church in<br />

Newbury from 2013 until this past<br />

October, when he left to become<br />

an interim pastor at a United Church of<br />

Christ in Kensington, N.H.<br />

Then late last year, he learned from<br />

his area minister that Nahant was also<br />

looking for an interim pastor after saying<br />

goodbye to former full-time pastor, the<br />

Rev. Megan Snell last year.<br />

After completing a series of<br />

interviews to determine whether it<br />

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would be a good fit, the church made the<br />

decision to hire MacDonald for a fourmonth<br />

contract with the option to extend<br />

as needed.<br />

“It’s considered a specialized<br />

ministery to do interim work,” he<br />

said. “It’s a matter of shepherding a<br />

VILLAGE CHURCH, page 32<br />

The Rev. Jeffrey MacDonald ministered<br />

in Newbury and New Hampshire before<br />

coming to Nahant.<br />


Look your best<br />

online and in person<br />

“You never get a second<br />

chance to make a<br />

first impression.”

32 | <strong>01907</strong><br />

VILLAGE CHURCH, continued from page 31<br />

congregation from their prior pastor to<br />

the new one.”<br />

Inspired by his experience of<br />

balancing two careers, MacDonald also<br />

Rev. Jeffery MacDonald will remain<br />

Nahant Village Church pastor through at<br />

least April 30.<br />


published his latest book, “Part Time<br />

is Plenty: Thriving without Full-Time<br />

Clergy,” in 2020.<br />

His book explores the changing face<br />

of traditional worship by recounting<br />

his experience working with nearly two<br />

dozen churches across the United States<br />

that function without a full-time staff.<br />

Approximately 43 percent of mainline<br />

Protestant churches currently have no<br />

full-time clergy, and that number<br />

continues to grow, according to<br />

MacDonald.<br />

“I wanted to learn from churches<br />

that have done really well with clergy<br />

who are not full-time and in the office<br />

all week designing programs. That’s<br />

the type of church that I’ve always<br />

served and I know anecdotally that<br />

some churches have done extremely<br />

well with it,” MacDonald said. “I<br />

wanted to learn more about what’s<br />

happening in the churches that are<br />

growing and thriving, doing impactful<br />

mission, even when they don’t have<br />

full-time staff.”<br />

MacDonald will remain with<br />

Nahant Village Church through at<br />

least April 30. Until then, he looks<br />

forward to continuing his work with a<br />

new congregation.<br />

“I love to see people in<br />

congregations grow together, flourish<br />

together,” he said. “The process (of<br />

looking for a replacement) helps a<br />

church reconnect with its roots and<br />

its mission. Churches evolve, and<br />

you really want to crystalize what<br />

people are passionately perceiving is<br />

their mission and their calling at this<br />

juncture.”<br />

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