CIRCLING THE SQUARE: The Oscars were nothing compared to my squirrels – Wicked Local Danvers

By Myrna Fearer

There were a few days last week that had everyone thinking spring was already here. Even the words of Rogers and Hammersteins Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh, what a beautiful day were being played over and over in my mind.

I was ready to ditch the shovels and the boots and take out the gardening tools, well maybe not quite the gardening tools. Then I looked at the calendar and reminded myself that we hadnt said goodbye to February and hello to March until yesterday.

In fact, one gentleman I said good afternoon to on a sunny day, feeling buoyed by the warm temperatures, tried to burst my bubble by saying there would be at least one more storm before we can relax.

Ah, but those few warm, sunny days sure felt good.

***

Wow, the Academy Awards evening hasnt lost its glitz and glamour. The gowns are still knockouts, although they seem to be getting more and more daring.

Seems to me that the less fabric designers use the more expensive the gown. I guess its the old supply and demand. The stars demand and the designers supply.

As I said, there was lots of glitz, but also a major glitch. By now youve all heard that Warren Beatty was given the wrong category envelope, which caused Beatty and his co-presenter Faye Dunaway to announce La La Land as the best movie.

So up to the podium went the team, their gratitude effusive. But, it wasnt over yet, the real winner was Moonlight.

My, my, heads are going to roll on this gaff. Does anyone see a similarity to the Super Bowl? If you turned off the TV and went to bed, you didnt realize that Moonlight was the actual winner.

***

If they werent going to be able to go home with an Oscar, I think these folks deserve a consolation prize like one of those pricey gift bags, also called swag bags.

About 15 years ago, Lash Fary, founded the company Distinctive Assest to reward those nominees mentioned, even though they didnt win an Oscar. But lots more folks also wanted one.

Agents called Fary to make sure they had their clients right address. Maybe its because those swag bags were worth lots of money.

When people hear there’s a gift bag worth six figures being given out, we actually get calls from those not in the categories we gift, Fary said.

Naively, I used to think that every presenter and nominee received a bag, but I was wrong. They are given only to the 25 actors and directors nominated each year. Recipients this year would have found find anything from personalized crayons to a luxurious villa on Kauais South Shore.

Last years gift bag was worth more than $200,000.

The gift, however, does not come totally free; there are taxable consequences. Recipients have to pay taxes on any item they choose to redeem just like a lottery or casino win.

***

I have to admit that up until Oscar night, I had seen just one of the most popular movies and that was only because of our Peabody Institute Library.

A few weeks ago I noticed that the library was hosting Manchester by the Sea in the Gordon Room and the price was certainly right FREE.

In addition, there were small bottles of water, snack size bags of Pirates Booty popcorn and packages of M&Ms. It was an interesting movie that, as everyone has said, was depressing.

OK, so I wasnt expecting another La, La Land, but it sure helped that I took Psychology 101 in college. The acting was extraordinary which is why Casey Affleck won for best actor.

But lets face it, those of us on the North Shore were excited to recognize many local landmarks even though, as has been pointed out, most of them were in Gloucester.

Host Jimmy Kimmel in his inimitable way, said that an online suggestion for those who buy the movie indicated they may also be interested in Zoloft. (Its a medication prescribed for depression.)

***

By the way, if some of you guys are planning ahead for Mothers Day, birthdays, anniversaries and graduations for your favorite female, there was plenty of jewelry that might have inspired you, that is if you could even afford any of those bobbles that complemented the gorgeous gowns.

Maybe I dont travel in the right circles, but all I can think of is not only the price of those pieces, but the cost of the insurance as well.

***

Before leaving the library scene, I must tell you about a special soiree that trustee Natalie Fiore said is in the works.

Its a wonderful event to raise funds for some much-needed improvements to our wonderful facility to ensure that it will remain what it already is, the best.

Natalie wants us all to save the date, Friday night, Sept. 22, for a fun night at Danversport Yacht Club.

UC5, former members of the band Dont Call Me Shirley, will play music for dancing. There will be hors doeuvres, delicious desserts and a cash bar.

Tickets are $50 each.

***

A few weeks ago, Drapeau-McPhetres American Legion Post 180 of Danvers, was to present its 8th annual Americanism Award to Ellen Godzik of Danvers for all of her volunteer efforts and activities benefitting veterans and the local community.

Ellen is truly special.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature sent us a snowstorm that day and the event was postponed to Thursday, March 9, at the VFW Hall, 5 Conant St, at 7 p.m.

The public is invited.

***

Jackson Tingle is passionate about the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, but now hes really excited about its roof in desperate need of repairs.

So, the Alarm List Co. folks did what everyone else does these days when they need money, they run an online fundraiser. And it worked.

Now Jackson is off the wall excuse me, the roof because all the material that goes into creating a new roof has arrived and the Nurse house will soon be sporting a new roof that Im sure will be better than the one the Nurse family raised in the 18th century.

***

You may have forgotten that there is a campaign to restore and Save the Tea House at Glen Magna Farms. Unfortunately, the McIntire Tea House has been compromised by squirrels, those pesky creatures that think anyones house, historic or not, is theirs.

A national campaign has been launched to raise the necessary funds to make the much needed extensive repairs to save this historic gem.

You may remember that the commonwealth of Massachusetts has offered a matching grant of $50,000 so come on folks, dig down deep into those wallets and purses to ensure that the $100,000 total will be reached.

Unfortunately, more than that is needed but it sure would be a good start. Oh and by the way, George Saluto had hoped people would want to donate as a birthday gift in honor of his 78th birthday Nov. 26 but he would be happy to celebrate all year.

Then again, if you want to donate in honor of someone else, you still can do so; George really wont mind we just wont tell him.

To make it easy for you to donate, you have several options. You may write a check to DHS-DSH (Danvers Historical Society- Derby Summer House) or you may also use PayPal or your credit card: http://www.danvershistory.org/buildings/derby.html to take part in this worthwhile campaign.

***

Speaking of squirrels, let me share my own squirrel scourge story with you. A few weeks ago, I heard scratching coming from behind my bedroom wall.

The noise started just before sunrise and occurred again just before sundown. Thinking there were squirrels behind the wall, I did my research on the rodents and discovered that in between those hours they are out scurrying for food and sources of water.

After all my years in my house this was the first time I had these unwanted guests and I was angry, very angry at them. How dare they invade my space!

I guess it started several weeks earlier when I was waking up to a very noisy woodpecker drilling holes in my cedar shingles above my dining room window. Every time I heard him, I banged on the window, something he didnt like.

So he left that area and flew up higher drilling holes in the soffit on the side of the house and one just above the wall in my late sons bedroom nearer the front.

What I didnt know was he was creating an entryway into the soffits for the squirrels to enlarge. Who knew rodents and birds could work together just to annoy me?

So then I began to think why I never had this kind of thing happen before. The one big difference was my mini-Schnauzers. Ive had four all told and while they were with me the squirrels werent.

So what did I do then? Very simple, I barked like a dog.

Actually I thought I was pretty good at it. Each time the squirrels disappeared; I scared them away.

But I wasnt sure they would stay away so I called a friend who showed up, went into the attic and saw part of a nest either being built or abandoned. So he said he would be back in a few days and block up the holes.

What should I do in the meantime? I asked him.

Just keep barking, he said.

Several days later, I saw he had been true to his word and the holes were covered. However, as I was coming up the driveway, I noticed a squirrel walking frantically back and forth on the roof and I thought, OMG, she must be trying to reach her baby. I felt like a murderer.

An exterminator later suggested the squirrel could have been in heat. Who knew?

Anyway, the next morning I heard scratching above my bathroom window, almost as if this squirrel was trying to get out. So my friend created a very interesting contraption that allows the squirrels to get out, but not come in. B

ut, I was getting nervous because I heard scratching again so thats when I called in the exterminator. She checked things out and shes the one who told me that the squirrels were in the soffits, which gave them a long exercise space to run back and forth.

Funny, I dont remember giving them a membership card to come here and work out. Anyway, she thought my friends contraption was actually clever because exterminators cant use one-way doors around here; the grey squirrels chew them up.

The only exterminator solution was to reduce the excess population. The last time I heard that expression was at the North Shore Music Theatre where David Coffee was in his role as Ebeneezer Scrooge in a Christmas Carol.

Anyway, the exterminator said they would leave traps and return daily to check them and clean the traps. This would go on for 30 days except for weekends and holidays. She wanted to be paid in advance.

I looked at her and said, Youve got to be kidding? Do you know how many squirrels there are in this neighborhood?

She said squirrels were territorial and this method would thin out the squirrels that frequent my grounds and my trees. Unfortunately, theres no guarantee that new families wont move in when they hear about the opening in my nice soffits.

In the meantime, Im sure I havent heard the last of these squirrels. Im open to any suggestions to eliminate them permanently and legally, especially since they discovered my bark is worse than my bite.

***

As most of you know, I love talking to people, hearing their stories, sharing their happy events and commiserating over their sad ones.

Its something Steve Rosenberg, former Boston Globe staff writer, does well. From his writing, you can tell that Steve really likes the people he interviews; they become more than a subject to write about but a special human being who still has much to offer.

Ive often admired Steves stories and his ability to bring his people to life, to kind of tweak their emotions and the readers so that you care about them, too.

One thing Steve is not is judgmental. So, when he talks about people he has met, even those with an unsavory past, he tells their story like it is and lets you come to your own conclusions, to discover why they piqued Steves interest.

Without realizing it you will get to know these people the way Steve does, with their good qualities and their bad. Steve makes you care. And that is an amazing talent.

Now Steve has taken some of his many stories that have been published in the Globe during his 2002 to 2016 newspaper career and he has put them together in his just released book, Middle Class Heroes with a subtitle explaining that these are Voices from Bostons Suburbs.

As Steve says in his preface, This anthology is not meant to paint a pure picture of Bostons Middle Class. Rather its a snapshot of the early days of the millennium a time when the country was rocked by two major recessions and the near-collapse of our economy. While many lost their savings during this period others were left behind as the economy, culture and technology changed.

One can learn about our countrys history during the same period as an academic through a detailed book, and thats important. But reading about the era from someone who has lived it is far more interesting and much more meaningful.

Although Steve calls these stories voices from Bostons suburbs, suburbs covers a lot of territory. So you might find a story about Revere Beach in its heyday, which was a Mecca for folks from places like Mattapan, Everett, Woburn, Winchester and Malden.

You might find yourself in Salem at an annual picnic or in Gloucester talking to what one day may be the last fisherman. Going out to sea for the fisherman hampered by government rules that have affected the entire industry, yields far fewer fish than the fishermen and maybe women used to bring home.

And if one writes about Danvers, it has to include New Brothers in the Square. Here you will find Kary Andrinopoulos just as Steve depicts him in the section Why We Need the Deli. Walk into New Brothers Restaurant & Deli in Danvers and its like stepping back in time, Steve writes. Its self-serve which patrons loveThey also get to chat with the guys behind the counter Costa, Peter, Elias and Anthony who know exactly how you like your meal and show interest in your life.

Steve observes Kary as he goes around the room, asking people about their family, an elderly father or a sick mother. He sincerely wants to know how they liked their food and he may even offer them something from a plate of goodies he might be carrying.

Everyone is made to feel important and Steve captures that special quality.

In the chapter on sports you are sure to find former Celtics star Hank Finkel, who comes into Brothers several times a week with his wife Kathy. The Lynnfield couple are regulars and you might just find Hanks name and his favorite dish on a sign above the cooking station.

When he first started talking to Hank, Steve knew he had to interview the former Celtic, and of course, what better place than at New Brothers. It was a natural.

There have been so many interesting stories that Steve has written through the years that it must have been difficult for him to choose which ones to share in his new book. But he did it well.

Theres something to appeal to everyone. The book is very new; it was released this past February.

What a great gift for a birthday, holiday or just because when nothing else will do. Thinking ahead, instead of that ubiquitous tie for dad or grandpa, you might give him a copy of Steves book.

Its perfect for the person who hasnt time to read a long book or whose reading place is a seat on the train or T on the way to and from work. Every story stands alone so you dont have to remember where you left off.

Middle Class Heroes is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. FYI, it already has a five star rating.

***

Saturday night I was one of the fortunate folks invited to the 95th Delorenzo birthday party. Actually, it was a double birthday celebration that added up to 95 years: 65 for Larry Delorenzo and 30 for his lovely daughter, Judy.

It was also the celebration of Larrys retirement from his position at the Danversport Yacht Club.

The trio of happiness certainly called for a big party.

If you know Larry, then you would probably guess it would be memorable and even somewhat outrageous in a fun sort of way. Oh, what the heck, of course it was outrageous. Its like Whatever happens at the Danversport Yacht Club stays at the Danversport Yacht Club.

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CIRCLING THE SQUARE: The Oscars were nothing compared to my squirrels – Wicked Local Danvers

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