A few years ago, I started saying “…because Gloucester.” to explain to my out of town friends the intricacies and straight-out crazy that took place here.
What I didn’t expect was that it would catch on with the locals.
Fellow Clamtributor Jeremy McKeen took it further: “At the Clam’s first annual gathering at Easter Point Lit house on August 2nd, ‘…because Gloucester.’ became a real-life call to arms on Facebook. The “...because Gloucester.”group has grown to 300 members since, and awaits your lifetime membership on the Facebook. As all things pure and good go, this group will probably jump the shark and become a corporate campaign to move powerful Hollywood types to our weird little fishtown soon enough, but until then, keep posting! Oh, and hashtags are now officially ironic, so we don’t even use them at all. That’s how cool we are. Oh, wait, being cool is in? We’re no longer cool then. We’re something else. Because the Clam. The following are, in our snarky opinion, the “best” of what collectively we write with sentiment, nostalgia, affection, and giant personal offense to local situations and repeated patterns of townie shenanigans and characteristics of our unique ocean hamlet. After each post, listen carefully for a voice saying ‘Because Gloucester.’ in your ear:”
– A woman hitchhiking in a pink bikini and towel in front of Sullivan Tire.
– Your neighbor, who you are cat sitting for, leaves his house unlocked for 2 weeks without worry.
– You’re out for a walk with your husband and spot a perfectly good sofa on the side of the road. You take a quick photo and post it to facebook. Your great friend asks where it is exactly because it is starting to rain. He would like said sofa but is worried that it might be yucky because it is getting wet…. Later friend has a new sofa… the free giver covered it with a tarp.
– An Irish guy from Cambridge and his Jewish/German/Irish wife move into a downtown neighborhood dominated by the purest of Gloucester Sicilian families. Recipe for isolation. Then, a funny thing. Knitted sweaters and hats for the babies. Garden vegetables across the back fence. Shared lawnmowers and weed-wackers. Portuguese sweet bread on feast days left on the steps, no questions asked.
– July 4th in Lanesville – it’s pouring rain and we heard a loud noise outside getting closer, so we run to the corner to see 30+ people in the pouring rain playing homemade instruments and noisemakers, drinks in hand, all in bathing suits, throwing candy, and being lead by a guy smoking a cigarette and driving a tractor slowly down the street.
– You put out the old, ripped up and dog stained couch on the sidewalk the night before trash day. Some assweasel steals your bulk item sticker. No matter because an hour later the couch is gone.
– Someone reports your bees to animal control and the officer comes by to see them and says “I love that you have bees.” The bees then swarm repeatedly while you are on vacation but the harbormaster, who is also a bee keeper, comes and takes them to a new home.
– Old dude shows up at your door asking for your wife. She’s at the quarry swimming with the kids. Well, he’s got way too many raspberries and wants to know if she wants to come pick them. He lives roughly 4 or so blocks away. Before he leaves he gives detailed instructions on how to properly freeze them. There are that many raspberries. Because Gloucester.
– A shiny SUV with Florida plates pulls up next to me during an afternoon jaunt. From the passenger window, a well accessorized woman asks with a southern drawl “excuse me mam, can you tell me how to get to the crows nest?”
– When walking downtown you have a constant fear a seagull could use you for target practice.
– Your kids hold a “toy sale” in front of the house and a middle-aged guy drives by, leaning out his car window, barking at them.
– When you loose the hot dog you just bought at the concession stand at GHB to the Sea Gull that just swooped down and flew off with it.
– 2 PM. Driving up Mt. Pleasant Ave. past the cemetery, you see a tawny dog trotting casually down the other side of the street with no owner, no leash, a happy smile on its face. You realize a minute too late that it’s no dog but a coyote, turn back to take a picture. Fat chance. It’s way gone.
– Top five things tourists ask for 1. Bathrooms 2. Lobsters 3. Lobster rolls 4. Lobster ties 5. Captain hats
– When you sit down to eat your ice cream at Long Beach Dairy and realize the guy 2 chairs down is Adam Sandler and his kids.
– After finding a spot in the now-full Railroad Ave Shaws lot you hear a tin whistle. You turn to see that the man playing it is also carrying a ukulele.
– Throwing your trash out on a Sunday morning you find in your shared alley space a collection of items but not limited to : a 1/2 drank can of Budwiser, a bag of ceiling tiles, a brooks brothers button down shirt (that seems to be stained with koolaid) a bag with a scratch pad and #2 pencils and a bottle of Jim Beam.
– Bathtub drain clogged with sand and a cooked hermit crab found in the dryer, because summer in Gloucester.
– Neighbor calls because someone called her to say they saw your kid riding his bike in the middle of East Main Street. Lesson learned, even when moms not watching, someone is.
– Over heard out my window on East Main,”Is this Gloucester?” Because Gloucester.
– You won’t go into your garage after dark because you refuse to cross paths with the rats that come up from the marsh.
– You watch a woman whom you’d guess to be in her early 80s, very spry and dressed to the nines (heels and pearls included), park her saab convertible and walk into the Crow’s Nest.
– You see a guy walking barefoot down an east Gloucester sidewalk in (one assumes) nothing but a bright red towel at 5:30 in the morning. An hour later he’s still going. Made it all the way to the building center.
– A while ago we were pulling onto Eastern Avenue in our family car when an elderly man waved me down and crossed the street to get into my car, thinking I was one of his relatives. We talked a bit, him thinking I was an old local kid or somebody’s nephew, and even though I wasn’t the one he was waiting for, I drove him to Shaw’s like he gets driven every day, I’m assuming.
– A group of teenagers are drinking on the curb on your street on a weekday afternoon. One of them has their entire face painted like the Italian Flag. And it’s not even Fiesta.
– Giant jacked up 4 door pickup truck stopped on main street. Passenger side wheels 2 feet onto the sidewalk, driver side wheels straddling the crosswalk in the street. Undercarriage completely hovering over the handicapped ramp to the xwalk.
– Because living in Gloucester for 24 years taught me how to use the “F” word 26 different ways in polite company.
– If anyone can draw three sea gulls fighting over a loaf of garlic bread, that just happened on my street.
– Shell-shock! That jump you do in your car when a gull drops his clamshell lunch remainder on the hood of your car from high in the sky!
– A police officer knocks on my grandmothers door one afternoon and says he’s gotten several reports of an intoxicated man stuck in a tree so he asks her if there’s been anyone intoxicated in the neighborhood that day to which she replies “there is someone intoxicated up here everyday officer.”
– A couple of guys are tanning their bellies in front of the St Peter’s Club at noon on a Wednesday.
Awesome, right? Jeremy’s been hard at work on the ”…because Gloucester.” facebook page. Share your stories. They’re probably pretty fuckin’ weird.