Gloucester Christmas Memories

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I’m inside the Lobster Trap Tree on Main Street thinking ….. Gloucester is a great Christmas town, my memories go back to the early 50’s.

Back in time before Sammy lost his eye and Johnnie Ray cried for the first time. I can hear Carol of the Bells & I’m spinning around, digging those riffs . I like this as much as the intro to Crazy Rhythm by Harry James on an old 78. I loved the Christmas carols & sang in the Junior Choir of the Old First Baptist Church at the end of Middle Street.

I see the Alexander kids at 18 Washington Square posing in pajamas & bathrobes, halfway down the stairs with gleeful faces on Christmas morning. My mother snapping pictures with her Brownie Hawkeye camera: my sister Janice Elaine holding a doll, my brother Bobby with a baseball glove, and me with my View Master thrilling me with its 3d scenes of the world across the bridge. Those were black & white pictures that my mother Madeline took, no color yet.  We didn’t have a television either, so I’d go next door on Saturday nights to watch the Lone Ranger and the Boston Blackie with my pal Billy Ruggiero. His grandma would always bring me something to eat, even though I’d already had my supper. I could never say no.

These were the best times-when the family was all together, all still alive.  Later on we would drive around “ rubber necking “ in the fancy parts of town enjoying the decorations in the huge yards & driveways. The A’s are driving an old luxurious, black Oldsmobile, given to us by the Emerson sisters who attended my Dad’s church. They gave me a stuffed gila monster once, they were travellers.
I still see diamonds reflected from street lights and hear the crunch crunch crunch of walking on fresh snow.

New memories include the surprise of a String Quartet last Saturday morning at the Cape Ann Savings Bank; looking forward to Gordon Baird hitting that high note singing his traditional solo O Holy Night at the UU church on Christmas Eve, and best of all seeing Greasy Pole Champ Salvi Benson walking around town looking like Santa Claus himself these days.


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.

4 thoughts on “Gloucester Christmas Memories

  1. I remember your father fairly well I remember when he came to town with your family I must have met him about a half a dozen times XXX but I left Gloucester in 1950 to go sailing XXX so I didn’t get to know you or him all that well XXX when I return to visit home in 1985 I learned that they had taken down the church and turned it into a parking lot XXX but at least the front door Granite was moved across the street and saved XXX I can remember when I was very small a mr. Rowe let me ring the bell in the church Tower XXX and there was a lady that belong to the church that was very revolutionary she put a good show on once a year will we sang songs from the early 1900’s and two or three hundred people would fill up the space and enjoy all the music XXX I believe her name was maver Goodwin XXX after I came back from the ocean sailing XXX like you I headed out to the West Coast XXX and lived in Southern California for 24 years XXX and decided in 1999 I wanted to disappear into the woods of Oregon and enjoy hiking and not a whole lot of people XXX I enjoyed your write-up very much XXX it definitely rings the bell XXX driving around Cape Ann in the summertime stopping in Lanesville and of course Rockport and seeing all the art galleries XXX and then East Gloucester to and it’s galleries XXX I’m glad you returned home and enjoy your finishing days there XXX


    • i remember mava goodwin , i was friends with her son paul , she used to write & produce musicals every year that had the word clover in the title . i went to her funeral the first year my wife annie & i moved back here . i saw alot of the old baptist church family at that funeral . i think they tore down the old first baptist church in 1965 .


      • Yes she was quite a talent I was in a couple of her shows myself in the chorus and one time she had me as lead singer and I sang a song by Sigmund Romberg call the Desert Song she said I did a pretty good job but it I didn’t like the idea of being up on the stage by myself so that was the end of my singing career yes she put on a great show and filled all the seats whenever she had the show as I said I remember your father very well even though probably I only met him probably 6 or so times I hope it was a good childhood for you Cape Ann was magical for me to grow up until I was 17 and left to go in the Navy and see the world as they say I enjoyed your little write-up very much definitely brought Memories Back for Me but like you I have travel all over the country and live in so many places that had their own personality just like Cape Ann does I’ll probably never come home again as all my children and grandchildren lived here in the outback of Oregon take care and good luck with your music career


  2. Willie,

    I don’t know about your music or your art work, but I hope you know that you have excellent writing skills. You brought back to life for me a place and time we shared: Gloucester in the 1950’s was a great spot for kids to be.

    Thank you,

    Buck Davis


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