John Adams: "The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in the state."

The Free Press

We hold it therefore our duty and safety whilst we are about the further establishing of this Government to collect and express all such freedoms as for present we foresee may concern us, and our posterity after us, And to ratify them with our solemn consent." Nathaniel Ward, pastor of Ipswich, in The Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641)

Market Square Ipswich MA new sign

Market Square, a “sign of the times?”

The traditional English-style wooden directional sign at Market Square has been replaced with something more modern, and I'm sad to see it go.

Winchester Public Library Purchase of Land From the Indians by Aiden Lasalle Ripley

“That we may avoid the least scrupulo of intrusion” – The Colonists and Indian Land, Part I

by Mary Ellen Lepionka. Featured image: Winchester Public Library "Purchase of Land From the Indians" by Aiden Lasalle Ripley Children today are told that the colonists robbed the Native Americans of their land, that their means of livelihood was stolen from them. This isn’t really true though, at least not for the first 80 years or so. … Continue reading “That we may avoid the least scrupulo of intrusion” – The Colonists and Indian Land, Part I

An official announcement of my non-candidacy for Public Office

Well, it's that time again when the Good People of Ipswich await breathlessly for the Annual Town Meeting, the hallowed New England tradition in which we debate transfers of even the smallest sums from one bookkeeping account to another, while being mercifully spared the details of an annual budget of some Fifty Million Dollars which … Continue reading An official announcement of my non-candidacy for Public Office

An Ipswich rose by any other name

In our cold New England winter, ye Ipswich inhabitants and expatriates arm ouselves with keyboards and set out on the battling fields of Facebook to resolve the age-old questions that have long perplexed the Good People of Ipswich. Starting this round is David, a well-meaning person who posted a photo of the "Historic Crane Estate," … Continue reading An Ipswich rose by any other name

To secure a competence

The following remarks were made by the Ipswich Historical Commission chairman John Fiske, on accepting the 2014 Community Service Award from the Ipswich Democratic Town Committee on January 31, 2015: As Chair of the Ipswich Historical Commission, I know how pleased and proud we all are that you have decided to honor us with the … Continue reading To secure a competence

Keeping My Bearings in Changing Times

As the title suggests, keeping my bearings, following directions and distinguishing right from left pose increasing challenges as I enter the dark side of mid-life (Or is it the lighter side of old age?) I know that many of you find yourselves in the same bucket of sorrow, and I feel your pain. But press … Continue reading Keeping My Bearings in Changing Times

The Karma of Modern Problems

by Gavin Keenan:  Town Meeting time can often raise the blood pressure. When paired with the daily MOABs of POTUS 45, a defibrillator may be indicated. But here I want to speak of local affairs; to wit, small town politics and the history of governing in Ipswich as clearly as I recall it. Those of … Continue reading The Karma of Modern Problems

Born in a refuge camp

By Ingrid Miles, Ipswich  I was born in a refugee camp and I feel as if I am reliving my parents nightmare after World War II when my dad had to modify his name and identify himself as Christian; my mother was Catholic in order to come to this country as displaced persons aka DP's. … Continue reading Born in a refuge camp

A Very Ipswich Christmas

“You live where?” “Ipswich, MA. It’s about 45 minutes north of Boston. “Oh. Well then you must get a lot of snow.” “Yes. Unfortunately.” “Unfortunately? What are you talking about? Christmas must be great! I am so jealous.” As a college freshman, I have this conversation at least twice a week. Someone asks where I … Continue reading A Very Ipswich Christmas

Oh, Wintry Christmas of My Youth!

It’s popular to recall – albeit with questionable accuracy, the Christmases of our childhood. Poets, songwriters and silly memoirists love to wax nostalgic of a time and place where the winters were colder, the snows deeper, and the pace of life more manageable. Yet, for those of us lucky enough to grow up in New … Continue reading Oh, Wintry Christmas of My Youth!

Existential Cop Gavin Keenan

Interesting Time To Be Alive

We are fortunate to be living through interesting times. Life seems to have an intense urgency to it now, an edgy feeling of uncertainty and doubt. Having undergone a year of blistering, enervating and sometimes tragically comical presidential political campaigning, we emerged in November with an unexpected result. Some are happy, some sad, many, like … Continue reading Interesting Time To Be Alive

Ghosts of Independence Day

My wife and I were reminiscing of Independence Days long past, when our children were little, some of our parents still alive and our families mostly living nearby. Backyard cook-outs scheduled around shifts at Beverly Hospital or the I.P.D., Betty Dorman's Recreation Department Fourth of July Children's Parade - thankfully still going strong, decking out … Continue reading Ghosts of Independence Day

How will sea level rise affect Ipswich?

Sea levels rose about 8 inches globally and about 1 foot on the Eastern Seaboard in the past century. What would happen to Ipswich if catastrophic predictions for the 21st Century are realized? In a December 6, 2012 report, NOAA's Climate Program Office collaborated with authors from NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the … Continue reading How will sea level rise affect Ipswich?

The great and famous not so gentle Ipswich putdown

Republished from Ipswich Yesterday by Alice Keenan, 1982. Photos by George Dexter and Edward L. Darling. Ipswich has the habit, long ingrained, of turning on those who love her most, and who, innocently and willingly, donate their time, talents, energies, and in some cases — money -- for her welfare and adornment. Sometimes the reprimand is delivered … Continue reading The great and famous not so gentle Ipswich putdown

Debatable Discourse, or Mud Slinging Made Easy!

This past Thursday, over 16.9 million of us tuned into the fair and balanced Fox News Channel to watch the final four Republican candidates debate the serious issues which face America today. We were joined by a lively and animated in-theater audience who enhanced the viewing experience with hearty cheers for their guy, selfies interspersed … Continue reading Debatable Discourse, or Mud Slinging Made Easy!

Primary Primer

by Gavin Keenan... Well, the results of the South Carolina Democratic Primary are in…yawn…... and it appears that Hillary’s firewall held fast against The Bern of Democratic Socialism. Those good folks in the Palmetto State just don’t give two hoots about a free college education I guess, and with Donald Trump gobbling up all fifty … Continue reading Primary Primer

Primary Colors

Don't you just love the American political process? Especially in the times through which we now pass, so fraught with fear and uncertainty. If you were to take it all too seriously, you would certainly be justified in believing that we live in the time of the great circling - around the drain, that is. … Continue reading Primary Colors

Playoff-Grade Guinness Beef Stew

Hello, sports fans. What could be a better way to stave off today’s blustery winds, frigid temperatures and icy walkways than by watching a red-blooded, All American Football Classic? Why, doing so as you enjoy a steaming bowl of genuine Guinness Beef Stew. This hearty and nutritious meal is the focus of my column, and … Continue reading Playoff-Grade Guinness Beef Stew

A Clam Town Christmas

The young cop watched the grey Jeep straddle the median as it rounded the curve at Eagle Hill. The Jeep was moving well below the speed limit; a good thing since the roadway was slick with an inch of light, fluffy snow. The tracks in the snow had been what had caught the cop’s attention. … Continue reading A Clam Town Christmas

Let’s Go Walking……. After Midnight……

A story by Gavin "Noir" Keenan: Up for a walk tonight? How about joining me on a late-night beat shift in the early 1980’s? The downtown was still thriving then; a square filled with businesses, bars and people on every corner at all hours of day and night. Beat cops were kept busy, especially on … Continue reading Let’s Go Walking……. After Midnight……

political ads

Party Poopers for a Parliament

By Gavin Keenan. (Illustrations added by Gordon Harris, courtesy of online publications) If you are anything like me, you have been greatly disturbed by the presence of political ads on the television from various presidential contenders of both major parties, which sadly are the only parties that we have to choose from. If this weren’t … Continue reading Party Poopers for a Parliament

Something Wicked Your Way Comes

Burning Desire, By Gavin Keenan Driving without headlights and the volume of the police radio turned low, Deputy Peter Benoit drifted along the moonlit road. Never one to seek the company of others, he preferred the isolation of working midnights patrolling the lonely landscape of failed farms and shuttered mills below the Quebec border. But Peter … Continue reading Something Wicked Your Way Comes

A simple badge and gun does not a copper make

This post is by former Ipswich police chief Gavin Keenan. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting some retired Ipswich Police Department friends at a late summer cookout. It was a magical evening of story-telling, catching up on family happenings and just being comfortable with people that I had worked so closely with for many years. … Continue reading A simple badge and gun does not a copper make

Little Neck Nostalgia, by Gavin Keenan

We moved to Ipswich when Ike was President and Elvis crossed over from Gospel to Rock and Roll. My father worked for Grossman’s and got a transfer from the Braintree store to the new one in Ipswich on Washington Street. For a while, he commuted from where we lived in Walpole to his new sales … Continue reading Little Neck Nostalgia, by Gavin Keenan

Photo by Gavin Keenan, Ipswich MA

Thoughts on an August Day, by Gavin Keenan

To borrow a hockey metaphor, if June and July designate the first and second periods of summer, then surely August tells us that we are now deep within the final period of this glorious season. The changes abound in subtle but perceptible ways; the shrinking minutes of daylight ruled by the position of the sun, … Continue reading Thoughts on an August Day, by Gavin Keenan

Pink Flamingos, “more musings from a musty mind”

A story by Gavin Keenan Dizzy from an overdose of what passes for news these days; terrorism, endless war, social upheaval, political blandness, “The Donald’s” mouth, Kim Kardashian’s butt (Old news I know, but cheeky nonetheless) vanishing species, etc., etc., one could reasonably conclude that our world is headed to hell in a handbasket. And it … Continue reading Pink Flamingos, “more musings from a musty mind”

Does Minwax Ipswich Pine stain orginate in Ipswich MA?

Local folks tell me that Ipswich Pine stain, a color offered by Minwax and Varathane originated in Ipswich with Carman Woodworking as far back as the early 1800's. Their shop was behind the Laughing Lion gift shop on Essex Road, which is now the location of the Clam House. The Laughing Lion specialized in American … Continue reading Does Minwax Ipswich Pine stain orginate in Ipswich MA?