, Newburyport, MA

January 31, 2013

Tearing down Bushee house was a crime

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

A terrible crime has occurred in Newbury — a crime against history and the memory of a generous, caring lady. I’m speaking of the demolition of the home of the late Florence Evans Bushee. Mrs. Bushee was a dear friend of my late mother and the person I was named after.

Growing up, I had many occasions to visit “Aunt” Florence in her beautiful home. It was a magical place for me. I loved walking through the formal gardens, admiring the flowers that were kept just so. Or walking in the fields behind the house to the stable where she once kept her show horses. She kept a coach there and I would love to climb inside and imagine what it was like to travel in it.

When I was growing up, she made sure I took piano lessons, so I would often sit at her grand piano in the living room and play what I had learned. I loved to sit and listen to her and my mother talking. She was always so gracious and kind, with a sweet smile and a twinkle in her blue eyes. She did so much for so many people and organizations in her own quiet way. She loved her home and she loved the town of Newbury.

It is indeed a tragedy that her home had been neglected over years since her death. How sad that it couldn’t have come into the hands of someone who would have restored it and would have appreciated the history and the beauty of that home. But now it’s gone, making way for a housing development.

I’m sure that somewhere Mrs. Bushee and her many friends, who shared many happy times at Old Town Hill Farm, are crying, as should any of us who love the town of Newbury and its history and who appreciated the kindness and generosity of a great lady.

Florence Mungillo

Hampton Falls, NH