I’m Walkin’

Willie Walkin’                                      © 2017 Bing McGilvray

Hey Enduring Gloucester you can call this “I’m Walkin’ “ like the Fats Domino song,  there are lots of walking songs like there are lots of talking songs. I walk because I like to walk & for exercise & because I don’t drive. I see more things this way, sometimes I see things that aren’t there or I see them with my mind. (like the voice in my head writing this and talking to you. I’m walking for you (“I’ll walk the greasy pole just for you….I’ll do anything that you want me to“).

So I’m walking in Fred Buck’s Footsteps, I’m a walker in the city like Peter Anastas. I walk with the ghosts of Tommy Moses & Vincent Ferrini. I walk up Middle Street with Mabel Garland and drink Constant Comment Tea with the Robinson sisters, who lived in that old yellow house on the corner of Dale Avenue that just got repainted.

I see myself skipping over to Sterling Drug Store from the Old First Baptist Church to hang out a couple minutes between Sunday school and church service on Sunday morning.

On weekdays, after school at Central Grammar, I have a frosty root beer in an ice cold mug at Kresge’s on the corner of Hancock & Main. I’m sitting at that long lunch counter – if I’m not saving my dimes for a savings bond at the post office where you buy these special stamps & fill up a book (like an S&H green stamps book). Can you see this?

I did fill up that book and got my 25 dollar savings bond & it was a beautiful thing. My dad borrowed that bond to buy a birthday present for my mother…that became a bond between us…….and here I go I’m cutting thru the Universalist Church yard & thru the fence and over the stone wall to Gould Court… going home to 18 Washington square, but first, I might stop at Cher Ami for some penny candy or buy a loaf of Bond bread at Charlie the Greek’s Cape Ann Market & get a free Hopalong Cassidy trading card.

Ya, I’m walking home past Buddy Orlando’s house. I live next door to Billy Ruggiero, who is my best friend & Joan of Arc is still riding her horse & the Fisherman Statue is still looking out to sea & I’m looking for the North Shore, looking for the Strand, looking for the church where my daddy used to stand & “I’m a fishtown horrible, I’m so incorrigible, a fish town horrible …”………..  Willie Alexander.

Photo credit  Anne Rearick

Willie Alexander. The Alexander family arrived in Gloucester in 1950; we left in 1955. I returned here in June 1997 to live with my wife, photographer Anne Rearick.  I’ve been making music & art my whole life. I made my first recordings for Capitol Records in 1965 with The Lost. I am currently recording with Tony Goddess at Bang a Song Studios in Gloucester.

 

9 thoughts on “I’m Walkin’

  1. Man, you shook loose a bunch of old memories for me, a Gloucester kid from ’54 to ’64. And, hey, I thought that short cut under the chainlink fence between the church and Gould Court was my secret way to get to Forbes School! Best place in the world to grow up!

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  2. This all sounds so familiar like you are walking in my footsteps you left out the part where Sterling’s burnt down I remember going watching the fire I was sad when it burnt down I used to go in there for a soda I started in 1933 though and I think I went walking down to the oceanfront as soon as I was five or six I used to get my ice cream from Arthur fruits we lived at 69 Pleasant Street and on Saturday evening my mother would send me down for a $0.15 ice cream in a box with some Jimmy’s on it and maybe some syrup too when I went back home and 85 that Baptist Church was gone I was sad the best thing I liked about it was the music I Still enjoy hearing on YouTube that music even in my old age Gloucester was a wonderful place for me for 17 years till I left to go to see I came back for a year and finally left for California followed by Alabama followed by Oregon which I now hide in the woods in a beautiful little town with nobody knows thank you I’m going to reread your letter again I vaguely remember an Alexander but I left December of 50 and he had only been in town for a little while like you I love the Arts to I have done about eight or nine thousand pieces I think in my life no I didn’t make any money and I didn’t make a name I just had one hell of a lot of fun and got to know people all over the world via my art I did get in the Whitney Museum once in New York City a man committed suicide that had one of my art pieces and they displayed it there well anyway Gloster will always be in my memories Riverdale when I was a kid was a Norman Rockwell Village even though that’s not a compliment I understand today growing up there in the 1940s was a small Paradise with some of the greatest kids you’d want to play with as Pals and some of the cutest gals too as my life is coming to an end I still enjoy seeing Gloucester and Rockport on my computer good luck on your walking Adventure walking with my favorite too

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