It’s my favorite photo of Phyllis Hull.

It’s Veterans Day, 2011, and she’s standing at the podium on Veterans Memorial Common, about to make her dedication speech in front of the just unveiled, brand new World War II Monument.

She’s beaming, and she had every right to be proud. She was the first to say that she didn’t do it alone, but no other single person was more responsible for the creation of that monument.
Continue reading ‘Remembering Phyllis Hull’


They don’t make snow days like they used to.

I don’t know when everything changed. Maybe it was the Blizzard of ’78 that traumatized us to the point where we no longer take any chances.

Way back in the 20th century, when I was a youth, we never had the luxury of knowing 24 hours ahead of time that school was cancelled. Back then, we still had to get up early for school and huddle around the wireless, listening intently through practically the entire alphabet, hoping that when they got to “W” we heard the word “Wakefield.”
Continue reading ‘Snowbound snowflakes’

Kudos to the Wakefield Independence Day Committee for deciding to go with the 150th birthday of the Town of Wakefield as the theme for the 2018 Fourth of July Parade.

This was the decision I’ve been hoping for since I wrote a column about it last April. But I can’t claim credit for the idea. I hadn’t done the math and was not even aware that 2018 was Wakefield’s 150th anniversary until I heard it from Bob McLaughlin, who heard it from Jeff Wakefield, the great grandson of Cyrus Wakefield II. The Cyrus Wakefield for whom the town is named had no children, but Cyrus II was his nephew and ran his uncle’s vast business empire after the original Cyrus’s death.

So, credit Jeff Wakefield, now living in Canada, for coming up with the idea of celebrating the Town of Wakefield’s 150th anniversary.
Continue reading ‘‘Wakefield 150’ Time Capsule’

It’s late December in Wakefield, and you know what that means.

Santa has made his list and checked it twice. But it no longer matters if you’ve been naughty or nice, because it’s 2017 and Santa doesn’t make moral judgments. Who is Santa to determine bad or good for anyone else?

That being said, and buoyed by yesterday’s tax cut announcement, Santa is in an especially generous mood this year, so let’s go right to the list.

To Police Chief Rick Smith: a private jet.

To Brian Fox: a ridiculous costume.

To Paul DiNocco: a gift certificate to Caryn’s Sports Bar.

To the Wakefield Human Rights Commission: pink hats and safety pins.

To the Wakefield Police Department: a buyer for 10 Mansion Rd.

To Jim Lapery: a sump pump for the next time he wants to drain the swamp.

To Wakefield Public School Students: a real snow day.

To the Civic League: a real conspiracy.

To Green Street residents: an ark.

To Town Clerk Betsy Sheeran: a Street List.

To the School Committee: 4 percent.

To Selectman Brian Falvey: a search party.

To Rep. Paul Brodeur: a comb.

To Building Inspector Jack Roberto: rodeo tickets.

To the Board of Selectmen: a gender-neutral snow person of color.

To Israel Horovitz: Viagra and mistletoe.

To motorists on the Route 129 rotary: drivers ed.

To National Grid: EMF neutrality.

To the transmission line abutters: whale oil lamps.

To Bob McLaughlin: an underwater camera and a harpoon.

To Town Counsel Tom Mullen: a new title to avoid confusion with Town Council. (Santa suggests “Attorney General.”)

Well that about does it for this year. If you didn’t appear on the list, don’t feel slighted. That was your gift.

[This column originally appeared in the December 21, 2017 Wakefield Daily Item.]


The wave of sexual misconduct allegations that has been toppling prominent men in politics and the entertainment industry has reached Wakefield.

The Board of Directors of the Gloucester Stage Company and its founder, world renowned playwright and Wakefield native Israel Horovitz, have permanently severed ties amid new allegations of sexual assault made against Horovitz.
Continue reading ‘Israel Horovitz accused of sexual assault’

Short and sweet


Dunkin’ Donuts announced recently that it is considering shortening the name on all of its stores to simply, “Dunkin’.” A few select stores around the country are now testing the truncated name, including one in Boston.

This move could have serious implications for a town like Wakefield, which has a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner (and thankfully not one Starbucks).
Continue reading ‘Short and sweet’


Supporting the arts and local artists would be a good enough reason to attend Quannapowitt Players’ “Suburban Holidays Six,” especially since at least three Wakefield residents are involved with the current show as actors, directors, producers and playwrights.

But you don’t need an altruistic reason to go see this year’s festival of short holiday plays. Be selfish. Go for the fun and entertainment of watching these seven clever and original short plays written and performed for the sheer love of doing it. And since it is a fundraiser, you have all the justification you need to take a break from the holiday madness for a night of live theater.

The show gets off to a strong start with “Stranger Than True (or Kind of True) Crime Stories from the Files of Bob the Cop – Case #2: Who Sleighed Santa?” Written by Cary Pepper and directed by Wakefield’s own Patrick Cleary, this cleverly-written comedy features Wakefield resident Brian Sensale in the lead role as Bob the Cop.

Bob is a hard-boiled dick in the best tradition of Leslie Nielsen’s “Naked Gun” cop Frank Drebin. And if, like me, you’re a sucker for good puns, this play will quickly draw you in. In this episode, Bob the Cop is called in to investigate the mysterious death of Santa Claus.
Continue reading ‘QP scores with ‘Suburban Holidays Six’’



%d bloggers like this: