Like everyone else, I was hit by a train when the world stopped in March.
Like everyone else, the first thoughts came with fear, concern about the future, my family’s health, my health.
Like everyone else, I watched in sheer horror as the stock market dropped 20%.
Like everyone else, I watched the stores and restaurants close, the unemployment go up. The reality is I am one of the unemployed – but not because my company closed down. Just the opposite – I decided now was the right and perfect time to retire.
Like everyone else, I asked “when will this end”? And then Yankee Homecoming – cancelled!! Will it ever be normal again???
But with credit to the Yankee homecoming board , the city, a lot of local supporters, we see Yankee Homecoming shifting its focus – getting ready for something bigger and better next year, while helping all of us get through this, this year.
Then someone asked “What about “If This House Could Talk”? Isn’t that the perfect event for a social distance pandemic?”
So I asked.
I asked Ghlee Woodworth, who has been with me through thick and thin, since “If This House Could Talk” was really a part of Yankee Homecoming under the Heritage Tours banner.
I asked Mary Baker, my partner in crime from the beginning, and just as concerned as I was about the message “If This House Could Talk” would send if we went ahead, and whether it would increase the risk of spreading this god forsaken virus.
I asked Barb Bailey with the Newburyport Preservation Trust, which has always been a strong “If This House Could Talk” supporter since it aligns so closely with the Trust’s mission to make people aware of the value of all we have around us in Newburyport.
I asked Sharon Spieldenner at the Newburyport Library Archival center – ground zero for all “If This House Could Talk” activities.
The answer was always: don’t ask “Why”, ask “Why not?”
WHY NOT! Ghlee checked with the YH board, the city health department, the city. Everyone was supportive. In a world where we are all grasping for anything that seems normal, WHY NOT have a 5th year of “If This House Could Talk?”
WHY NOT wear our masks, keep our space (six feet!) as we walk the streets.
WHY NOT use our stories of our homes – historical, current day, even pandemic related.
WHY NOT keep posting “Front Door Jokes” like many of us have since the beginning of this pandemic. To lighten up our lives, to help with our humor?
So it is with a humble heart and a bit of trepidation that we begin the fifth year, the pandemic version, of “Newburyport’s If This House Could Talk”. To be held the same traditional YH week: July 26- August 2nd.
Thanks to Mary Baker, Barb Bailey, Ghlee Woodworth, Sharon Spieldenner, the YH board, all the “If This House Could Talk street captains” throughout the years.
Thanks most of all to the 150 odd participants to date of “If This House Could Talk”. Let’s do it again, or do it for the first time. Let’s just do it. Tell your story – whether historical, hysterical, or pandemic … and show the world the kind of community we really are.
We have zoom sessions coming, 1:1 historical research and writing help (online) and, of course, free poster board material provided by the Newburyport Preservation Trust.
Let’s do it.
July 26- August 2nd. If This House Could Talk.