Monthly Archives: August 2013

Meanderings of a Tsongas Brother-in-Law

Paul had a minor disagreement with a member of his satellite family that hastened his desire for a new home. He wanted to stay in Lowell, obviously, and was harried by the oft-mentioned rumor that he really lived in Chelmsford with his parents, despite the fact that he rented from his father and aunt the big house on Highland Street. He and Niki went house shopping and got a steal. For a relatively small mortgage, he bought on Fairmount Street. His new house, which consisted of something like four or five finished bedrooms and an unfinished attic, was purchased before the birth of his eldest daughter, Ashley.

Ashley was not, at the time, a common girl’s name. In fact, it was a common boy’s name but that did not deter he and Niki from naming their baby that marvelous name. The only Ashley that I had ever heard of was the British actor, Ashley Montague. I, of course, was the ripe old age of seventeen, a person who did not know polite manners and was thus often at their home, painting. If you did not want to paint the old fashioned way, with a brush and bucket of paint, you had very limited time to talk to Paul. Fortunately, I grew up painting my various houses (we lived in something like eighteen to twenty houses with my parents and siblings before I was twenty-one years of age), and I found painting an excellent way of heightening communication.

Danny Brosnan was at Merrimack College when we turned eighteen and I was at Lowell State. I still consider myself a LSC student more than a University of Lowell student but I missed the LSC moniker by one year. So I have a degree from a University of Lowell graduating class. The first class, but not an LSC class. We all have to live with our disappointments. I was a Political Science major and thoroughly convinced that Paul was a superb strategy aficionado. When I repeatedly asked him for his secret, he kept to the same answer.

“How do you explain your success?” I would ask.

“I was lucky.” he would answer.

“Obviously, but what tools did you use? How do you explain your success?” I would counter.

“I was lucky,” he would reply.

One aspect of Paul’s spirit of competition was that he would ask you to participate with him in some sport at Shedd Park. I played for entertainment and once, when I mentioned that to him, he said, maybe a bit prophetically, “I have to play to stay in shape.”

Little could we know how doggedly determined he was to be the best at whatever sport he participated in. One day it was a beautiful summer’s day and he asked me if I knew how to play tennis. I had learned from my father, I told him. “So do you want to play?” he asked.

“Certainly,” I said. “That would be fun.”

Little did I know that a game for Paul was not necessarily for fun. It was a life or death competition and I was about to be embroiled on the stakes of lascent maturity. First, we drove to the tennis courts, “zing” I heard a blur going by me. “Try it again,”
he yelled. “Zing” another ball passed me by.

“Just warming up!” I yelled jovially. “Zing” again and again. Finally, exasperated, he said, “You haven’t played much, have you.”

“Not like you,” I countered.

“Let’s try something else.” Anything would be an improvement.

“What do you have in mind?”

“Why don’t we run the track? Whoever comes in first wins.” I was an accomplished runner but I was not going to tell Paul that. So I looked at my watch and completed a fifty-five second 1/4 mile. I looked behind me for Paul but there was no one there. That was strange. I looked a little further behind me but there was no one there. Finally, I looked across the track and there was Paul, walking. I ran across the grass.

“You’ve done this before,” he said in an accusing manner.

“Yes.” I was elated. I had made up for the series of “zings” on the tennis courts.

“Let’s go home” was all that he said. He said nothing in his car on the way back. I picked up my bicycle at his house, was introduced to my wife, who did not care for me at all, and went home. The next day I was back painting again. Each window in the dining hall, and it was every bit a hall, had small shutters on the bottom half of the window. Each shutter had to be handpainted. And, it seemed like I was the one who showed up to do it. Paul’s mystique never left me, but his personality was becoming a little more understandable. And he really did believe it was just luck. I knew it also involved alot of hard work, which I never fully appreciated for years to come.

Meanderings

I remember when Telemachus Demoulas, “Mike” to his friends of which I was not one, squared off with half of the clan to fight for control of the Demoulas empire against his brother George’s (who had passed away) heirs. He hired the best attorneys, but he lost the fight. The fight took place in a Lowell court with a judge whose name I cannot remember. Afterwards, his son, Arthur ran the company and it grew from the four stores I was aware of in 1969 to 53 stores now. People like Arthur Demoulas and that is believed to be why the board this week changed the venue to decrease the number of protesters who want to see Arthur continue as the President of the company.

I worked for the Speare House as a young college student, and I had the opportunity to be in a detail that catered an evening dinner in the great DeMoulas mansion. The occasion, I believe, was an opportunity by Mike Demoulas to allow his talented daughter sing for a carefully selected list of guests. I got to hob-nob with some pretty amazing people that night, including Arthur Demoulas, who at least until Thursday, ran the Market Basket empire quite handily in my opinion. Artie was a bright guy, I believe he was eighteen years of age, and he talked to me for quite awhile. We talked about school, and what I was serving, and a few other things.

Forward a few years, my children played soccer with Artie’s children. I remember that Artie made it to many practices and games and his wife was a charming woman who everyone enjoyed speaking with, even if they did not have much to say. I believe Artie at that time was the VP of Produce for the company. Whatever he was, he had worked his way up to it and was deeply committed to ideals that made him a little bit poorer, like profit-sharing. His family came first, of course, but the company was richer having him active in it.

I believe that relieving Artie of his duties would be a disservice to the company. I believe that he has the best of intentions for the company. I have enjoyed many a meal because of my commitment to Market Basket, and my dinner table is tastier because the DeMoulas family makes it easier to spend less than I would at Wal-Mart, or Stop and Shop, or Hannaford.

I took a day and one-half vacation from work and had a very peaceful time. I went to the Franconia Notch State Forest in Lincoln, NH for a day of doing nothing except things relating to camping. I burned a good fire. I walked a good walk. I wrote in my journal a few observations, mostly about nature. I explained to the camp people, the employees as it were, that I was dropped off at that campsite when I was sixteen with a bicycle and some food, a tent, and lots of time. I was there for two weeks. I climbed all of the mountains. Mount Lafayette was my favorite. Being in cross-country I felt that I could basically race up the mountain, enjoy the view, and head back down in just a short few hours.

My camping this time did not involve mountain-climbing. It did involve a lot of walking but I took the Tram to the top of Cannon Mountain. I can see why skiers love it. I do miss seeing the Old Man of the Mountains, but he is gone. I went to his museum. I went to the ski museum and saw Bode Miller’s medals. All of that work to be a first-class skier, and some of those medals looked somewhat, well, cheap. I bought my wife a necklace and went home. It was a very nice stay, though.

Then, on Friday morning I went with the Yankee Fleet and a few very good friends, on a fishing trip. I got three bites but caught no fish. It just so happens that the gentleman a few feet away was luckier and he gave me two cod, which I intend to grill. I cleaned them this afternoon, it is still Friday as I write this, and I like the sensation of having cleaned my own dinner.

R— gave me a dollar for the bag I put the fish in and even let me transport the fish to his truck. He was a little nervous about getting a fishy smell in the bed of the truck so I got to get a plastic bag to put them in. T— was there, he booked the entire event, as were Phil and J–. They do not want to be known by their real names so they are punctuation.

There is news. There was a bobcat sighting on Cape Cod for the first time in two hundred years. Amazing how resilient the animal population has become in view of all of the encroaching on their land. Deer eat my friend’s lettuce, a client has a groundhog in her yard, when will it stop? Lowell even had a moose fall into a canal about ten years ago. They are going to insist on some of the space we believe that we have given to ourselves.

Well, those are my meanderings. Good night and God bless.

Meanderings

Well, it had to happen at some point, I disagree with a small, what I would call an indiscretion, with Dick Howe’s Blog. In my opinion, and I may be wrong, Dick endorses candidates by positively portraying their candidacies for office. I am not talking about endorsements for certain candidates, I intend to endorse specific candidates after the preliminary elections. I am talking about featuring candidates in such a favorable manner or way that they pick up steam as a result of being in Dick’s blog. The one being repeatedly featured favorably now, in my view, is former LHS Headmaster Bill Samaras.

That being said, there are some interesting candidates in this year’s line-up who I believe should be covered. Darius Mitchell is one. Rita Mercier and Stacie Hargis are the only women running out of a slate of 21 individuals. Because they put their names and reputations out there I believe that they deserve a little extra consideration. I voted for, and campaigned for Niki Tsongas who openly asked for the women’s vote and I believe that she has done an exemplary job in the Congress. During the past election, she openly carried all but one precinct in the expanded Third Congressional District. All but one. That is some accomplishment. But, Niki is not resting on her laurels, she has openly been asking for votes and fundraising money for the next election because, inexplicably, she has a new Republican opponent.

On to other things. My buddy R— and I took my boat up to the Tyngsboro Bridge on Sunday. It was a pleasant ride and I took alot of pictures. Landscaping is going well as a finish up a major job in Newton and start one in Lowell. I love this time of year because I get to plant lawns. Through October (early), grass will usually bloom. I learned of an organic method for picking out crabgrass, you hire a group of people and pick all of it out of a yard, then seed the picked areas. It is kind of expensive, but it works. There is also the problem associated with over-fertilization. Nasturtiums will not bloom if they are over-fertilized. They will grow, aggressively, but they will not blossom. Daylilies do well with nutrients as do most bulb plants which need phosphorus. My tomatoes are doing very well as I used what my friends call “monogonite” on them. It is actually sold in Lowe’s as “Milorganite” and does extremely well as a fertilizer. Yes, it is organic which means that at some point it was, well, poop. My wife’s dog when she was a child went to the bathroom in the neighbor’s lawn, causing massive grass growth in those areas in the spring and summer. My maternal grandfather was very poor in Iowa and did not have a bathroom until 1969. So he used to move his outside outhouse every year and you could always tell where it had rested the year before. The town had no problem with it, and he grew some beautiful flowers in those areas. Honestly.

Thus, I guess I could say I come from a different culture. When my kids were growing up, I used to tell them that they were of two ancestries. They were obviously Greek, and they were Iowan. I loved Iowa and I love Lowell, Massachusetts. There is no difference in my fondness for both places.

Well, that is almost the end of my meanderings. Let me just close with a comment. Certain candidates, in my opinion and experience, do not understand the meanderings of a manic-depressive mind because they have never had to personally deal with it. Calling it bipolar is the same thing, but in a neater package. I would not give it up because it makes me stronger. But there are candidates who could never understand that and, as a result, they will never get my vote. My grandmother was bipolar and I learned from her that she could do anything she set her mind to. I am very proud to have been the only grandchild she had that had the disease. It made me different, it made me special, it gave me my personality. And it gives you my meanderings. I hope you enjoy them.

Being Paul Tsongas’ Brother-in-Law

Where to begin: Well, first let us begin with a truism, it is hard being related to a famous person because you live your life in the open and sometimes you lack privacy and some of the other essentials. I once asked Paul how he did it, live in a fishbowl, and he said, “You get used to it.”

I met Paul before I met his little sister, Vicki, who became my wife. I was interested in politics, and I had a mutual friend with Paul named Daniel Brosnan. Danny is still a good friend of mine and does an excellent job in finance at UMASS-Lowell. When we were about sixteen, Danny asked me if I wanted to meet Lowell’s newest City Councillor, and I unabashedly said “Yes!” We bicycled to Paul’s home on Highland Avenue where he and sister Thaliea were born, or to be more accurate, where they came home to after their birth in a hospital. At their birth, their parents sent out a cute little card announcing the birth of twins. But I digress. Danny and I turned onto Highland Avenue and, not at all to my surprise, my life changed because I met a man of integrity and honesty who would become one of my best friends.

My first visit to Paul’s home was not without its drama, however. After we had stayed there an inordinate amount of time, I told Danny that we should go as Paul was taking a shower and we were bothering his new bride, Niki. Danny whispered, “No, he will be out in a minute.” And he was. By his own admission, he was more than a little surprised seeing us both still there on the couch, waiting for him.

Niki was marvelous, making small talk to us, the heathen brotherhood, and trying to explain to Paul all that had transpired or been said during Paul’s absence. He was politely glaring at us and I got up and insisted that it was time for us to go. So we went. Years later Paul would repeatedly tell that story, maybe to get my goat, and maybe to say how funny and you can read strange into that, we were.

My next introduction to Paul continued to be through Danny. Danny got the job of being the Ralph-Tsongas-Counihan driver for the campaign for County Commissioner and County Treasurer. As such, he carried all of the literature for the campaign, and got me to ride along. We often parked the van in front of our respective houses, his on Harris Avenue in the Highlands and mine on Pine Street, also in the Highlands. We were committed. We were perhaps somewhat commitable, but I leave that to more understanding minds than mine to decide.

We campaigned hard through the summer and it seemed hopeless. There were just too many southern county aristocrats in Cambridge and its environs. As my last desperate task, I passed out five hundred brochures throughout the Highlands. This is something I do for many candidates that I have worked for, and it works out well. On the day or so before the Final Election Day, the famous County Courthouse, a huge skyscraper of eighteen stories, slipped on its foundation. It made it into all of the newspapers in the area along with a story that S. Lester Ralph, the Mayor of Somerville, Paul E. Tsongas, the City Councilor from Lowell, and Mr. Counihan had been railing at the inconsistencies of that building for the past year. Its structural difficulties would become a major story in the campaign and the timing of the building lapse was listed as a reason that Ralph and Tsongas won. Poor Mr. Counihan lost.

Paul’s humor was also part of the story. When asked what had been the reason for running for County Commissioner he joked, “I needed a parking space on the days I appear in court and that was the best way to get one.”

At this point, I was not even aware that Paul had a younger sister, let alone one who was to me, at least, the most beautiful girl in the world. I would learn about that later.

Meanderings

    Today was a perfect fishing day.  I did not go, because I am rebuilding someone’s backyard, but it was perfect weather for it.  It was 80 degrees, sunny and warm, and I could just feel those tugs on my line.  Let me finish this project and I might have time for fishing.  Today was also perfect camping weather, so I took my tent out just to inspect it.  My dog urinated on my tent.  I try hard to remember why we have a dog.  This one was a “rescue dog” saved from imminent slaughter by our adopting her.  She is very smart, understands scores of words, and understands hand signals.  But she did go on my tent and I was not pleased.
     I basically go camping to allow myself some time to myself.  Having not had an alcoholic beverage in fourteen years, I enjoy drinking a great deal of water and as Rolfe the Dog said in the “Muppet Movie,” taking myself out for a walk.  Campgrounds, especially those I frequent, are quiet and prone to augmenting the desire for solitude.  The problem is the season is too short.  However, there are ways around that.  Some Cape Cod campgrounds are open well into November.  So, that is an option.
     I am engrossed with my LinkedIn Account.  I have two hundred people in my group and that does not include everyone I know.  I get a lot of calls from people interested in my account.  Yesterday, the program told me I had too many people in my account, but I do not pick people I do not know, so the program will just have to adjust.  Imagine giving human characteristics to a computer program.  How do you “adjust” if you are just a machine?
     A couple of weeks ago I lost a good friend.  G. Douglas Golden, Timothy Golden’s dad, who was unlike anyone else I have ever met.  He was constantly joking, making light of almost anyone or anything.  He was active at St. Margaret’s Parish and was an altar server at funerals.  He made people feel good.  I will miss him.
     I have two other very good friends.  They do not want to be in this Blog and I will not include their  names.  I did not even use their first names.  These two took me on a fishing trip to upper New Hampshire.  They paid my room fees and taught me how to fly fish.  I greatly enjoyed the lessons and, as I have told everyone within earshot, they helped me catch my first trout.  I used the worst-looking fly that I could find, and I still caught a fish.  They tell me it is because I have Parkinson’s and a handy little tremor.  It might be.
     Well, it is time to stamp some of my work brochures.  These are little green things that strangely enough, get me many calls.  I designed them on my computer and once order one thousand finely made cards that did not bring one response.  So my latest stamp says that I am on Angie’s List, which is true.  Stamping in the age of computers takes some time but it is not an awful way to spend the evening.  I hope that you have something to do, too.

The Death of the Classroom ?

  The United Teachers of Lowell, the bargaining union for teachers and retirees, has hundreds of bumper stickers which state that the children of Massachusetts are the best educated in the nation.  The New York Times today released a story about Kentucky tightening their testing of young children and suffering from lower than their normal test scores.  The Patrick administration has empowered principals to a degree never seen since, in my estimation and opinion, the 1870’s.  The question is, are we advancing or going back in time?  The answer, I believe, is that we are doing a little bit of both.
     I have a book of speeches written by the great abolitionist, H. Ward Beecher.  His wife, as you may remember wrote, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  The president of the day, a man called Abraham Lincoln, got to meet her and said to her, if my memory serves me well, “So you are the little woman who started this massive war.”  I may be off by a word or two, but that was the essence of the message.  As a history teacher, I often run into adults who were my students.  I ask them questions related to history.  I ask them who Henry Ward Beecher was?  They do not know.  But, we covered it in class.  I ask them who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” but they do not know.  Finally, I ask them who Abraham Lincoln was.  That one they usually get right.  History was not an MCAS subject so it was not given the strong push of Math, Engish, and the Sciences.
     History may be an MCAS  subject now, but that may be part of the problem, not part of the solution.  MCAS training takes away the spontaneity of teaching.   It is literally, “teaching to the test.”  A student is made prolific in an aspect of a subject but not in the subject itself.  The error of this was best shown in the English portion of the MCAS this year.  Lowell and Lawrence taught persuasive writing this year only to give the MCAS and find that that subject was not on the test.  A flawed test brought scores down.  The MCAS is corrected by college students, basically, some of whom have little or no interaction with education as a major.  It is theoretically possible that, should one of them have a bad day, scores could be affected.
     Teaching is an art, not a science.  There are good teachers and unfortunately there are bad teachers.  Teaching to the test, I believe, creates bad teaching practices.  In the first place, the teacher is bored, I know that from experience.  Once, I took my students down to a computer lab.  There, they were given persons to identify and write about in a 45 minute experiment.  Many of them plagiarized.  I determined that by just finding the subject, they had completed the major part of the assignment so I let the plagiarized part sit.  Bill Samaras wrote on my review that year that I allowed students to plagiarize.  I allowed them to take 45 minutes and come up with a description of an individual, Billy the Kid for example, or John Quincy Adams.  They were not plagiarizing, they were completing the technical part of the assignment, find the historical person, and get some written information to pass in.  The assignment was not to write about the person, the assignment was to find information about the person on the computer.
     A good teacher, and I was one of them, would use his or her classroom to endear their students to their subject.  If I was doing my job correctly, my students would list History as one of their favorite subjects.  Many did.  I used to enjoy stories about the early Congresses.  One of my favorite was John Randolph’s hatred of Henry Clay.  It went so far that at one point Randolph described Clay thus: “Like a mackeral by moonlight he shines yet stinks.”  It was the perfect put-down.  Randolph was so wary of Clay that he had himself buried facing the state of Kentucky because he stated, he wanted to keep an eye on Henry Clay.  Those stories stayed with students but you would never find that type of story in a book today, or in  an MCAS test.
     From a classroom standpoint, mediocre educational management is what we have given to our teachers and students.  A mediocre principal, given authority by the state, can do a lot of harm.  They are being graded by their test scores, so many of them push the tests to the detriment of everything else.  This leads to a classroom that is not supervised in a good way, but rather is supervised by micromanagement.  Every move the teacher makes becomes suspect.
     We need testing but we need to be certain that that testing is quality driven.  If I was a teacher today, I would not believe in the system.  I would believe that the principal is being forced to be a micromanager.  We need spontaneity in the classroom.  We need a bond between the subject and the learner as well as between the teacher and the student.  Without those things education suffers and we are not really the best educated students in America, despite what the bumper sticker says.

Elections and Endorsements

Certain people have asked me what my policy on endorsements and elections will be, and I have had to give it some thought.
I have not come up with any concrete resolutions yet, but I think that I will stay away from endorsing candidates until after the primaries.  I have definite likes and dislikes, much as does everyone, but I believe that staying away from these for now is the best use of my time and space.
     I will make predictions.   I love making predictions.  I was not entirely sure that some people were even in the race, but now that the nomination sheets are in, I will find it easier to predict the winners and losers.  People that I picked a few weeks ago are still on my list of winners, but some are having trouble getting out of the box.  With so many people running, and so few successfully accentuating their differences, it is going to be a hard race to win.
     I know that some bloggers like to use their blog to push certain candidates but I do not believe that is my place.  Do not get me wrong, I will push certain candidates but I hope it will be because they are interesting, not because I like or dislike them.  I disagreed with Rodney Elliott on the issue of safely getting your children to and from the Pollard Memorial Library, but I fully intend to print Mr. Elliott’s side of the issue if he wants to write it.  If any candidate wants a profile in this blog, and I realize that this is a much smaller blog than Dick’s, I will be happy to give it to them.
     So, this blog is mostly about history and Lowell.  It can be Lowell history, or Chelmsford history, or the history of the Middlesex Canal, just as long as it is history.  It can be about legends.  Not all history has come down to us straight-forward.  Some of it includes legends.  Before the movie commences in “Braveheart,” they claim that they are telling the truth about what really happened to the great Scotsman, William Wallace.  According to the first biographer of William Wallace, he did not storm the plains looking for a good fight.  In fact, at Sterling Castle, he hid his men in the grass from night-time to approximately lunch-time in order to allow the English to leave by the front gate and start their daily routine.  Then he and his men attacked and won Sterling Castle.  And, by the movie’s interpretation,  he beds and fathers the next King of England.  If that was true, the Plantagenet line would have ended with Edward the Second because Edward  III was the son of William Wallace and the daughter of the King of France, Edward II’s wife.  That probably did not happen either.  But it makes for a good story.
     So, candidates, whether I know you or do not know you, agree with you or do not agree with you, feel free to call me at 978-453-5932 to get your story in this blog.  I will feature you.  If I get too much information, I will just write more and it will be longer.  In addition, please do not make the mistake of thinking that being in this blog means you have the endorsement of any politician.  I write about the Tsongas family because they are my family, and I have no  idea if they agree with me on any (or some) issues or they do not.  Paul once, when he was County Commissioner, was compelled to remove all of the bumper stickers from his car because his car was plastered with stickers.  He was not dismissing anyone, he just did not have room for everyone on his car.  I have no idea who Niki is backing, and I do not want to know.  That is her business.  I will, as I said, predict, and at the end of the race I may endorse, but I believe that my endorsement is not worth much.  So, let’s start the two races and see how far we get.

 

Pawtucket Dam is National Treasure

 It was just announced that the National Trust for Historic Preservation added the Pawtucket Dam to their list of structures that must be saved.  I hope that this means that the bladder dam idea is going the way of the dodo.  For those of you who do not know, the dodo was a bird on an island that had no fear of man.  In fact, the bird would search out a man, who would kill him for his meat.  Boy, did we show those guys who to trust.  There are none left.  They are extinct.  Let us hope that the bladder dam will suffer a similiar fate.
     I continually try to convince the Board of Directors at the Lowell Motor Boat Club that the bladder dam is a bad idea.  They argue back that the current use of plywood to build up the water level for the electric power plant is arcane, and not historically correct because the original owners of the canals and walkways were used to using sheets of unprocessed wood.  Thus, they maintain, the bladder dam is not any less historically correct than using plywood instead of sheets of oak.  It does not quite work out in practice. The view of the dam from the Pawtucket Bridge will be soured by balloon-like devices that inflate and deflate according to the dictates of the needs of the electric (hydroelectric), plant at the end of the Northern Canal.  It might be the Western Canal, but it is late and I cannot access the information as to which canal I may be referiing to in this case.  In any case, it is a large and fast canal which lets water flow to the hydroelectric turbines at the end of the canal.
     The members of the Board of Directors are blatantly wrong in supporting this change.  The balloons will hold up the metal panels on the dam and look like a lot of balloons holding up metal panels on a dam that is so well built that it is still without a rift or breakaway since its construction close to two hundred years ago.  The actions of the city to get the notice of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is to be commended.  I trust that Stephen Stowell, our Historic Board Administrator and his crew had something to do with this.  What you may not know is that, buried in Lowell’s first City Cemetery on School Street is a man who fell off of the dam and died of complications from the fall.   His name and his fall are recorded on his gravestone.  Given his demise, he might want bladder dams, but I personally doubt it.
     Lowell is history.  The dam is history.  We are, according to the vile character in the Indiana Jones’ movie on the Ark of the Covenant, simply passing through history.  It is our job to not do too much damage while we are here.  Some damage has been perpetrated by the  building of the various buildings in and on the land owned by the University of Massachusetts.  But, that is not a strong argument.  Basically, those buildings are fine and they blend into the rest of the more recent structures built by past  Chancellors and Presidents of the Lowell Technological Institute and the Lowell State College.  Where would the legacy of Dr. O’Leary or Mary McGauvran be without the newer buildings named after them.  And Marty Meehan has had ample opportunity to build something and name it after himself.  This is something he has not done yet.
      But, we are in danger of improving ourselves to the point that we no longer have our eye on the historical ball.  There is a condomnium complex on School Street that has named itself after the Round House without any of the aesthetic beauty of the house it is named after and that is not necessarily a good thing.  It does not do any harm, and it points in the direction of the Round House, but it does not have any of the historical value of the Round House.  There is an entire condominium complex on the Lowell-Chelmsford line called the “Millview Condominiums.”  The thing is that they tore down the mill that once stood on the property.  They did not put condominiums in the mill, they just tore it down.  There is no “Mill View” to be had.  Just condominiums.
     The dam is cited in a number of places.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It needs to be protected and each citizen should write a letter, email, postcard or some sort of message to tell the owners of the waterflow to drop the bladder dam “improvement.”  It is not an improvement, it is a desecration.  Steven Stowell, keep up the good work.