NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

April 21, 2014

Fond memories of 17 Ship St.

(Continued)

He moored his fishing boat, named the Indian, at the bottom of Ship Street (hence the name). In that era of time the river and docks were very much closer to the edge of Water Street, according to my mom.

Eventually, the Wright family grew older and left the nest one at a time. The eldest son migrated to Gloucester, again the call to the sea, but the eldest daughter, Gertrude, did not fly far. She settled next door in a tall, majestic home at 17 Ship Street.

Gertrude, or “Aunt Gerty,” as we knew her, was a hoot! An avid and devout Red Sox fan, she hardly ever missed a game, even back in those days when most games were not televised but broadcast over the radio. You could walk into her home and hear the radio at full blast because poor Aunt Gerty was hard of hearing.

When people called her on the phone and she didn’t answer, they just figured there must be a Sox game on.

She had two sons, Emery and Harry, and one daughter, Laura, who was named after Gram Wright. Aunt Laura lived with and looked after Aunt Gerty as far back as I can remember. Even though she was my cousin, we all called her Aunt Laura. I think it was because of the age difference and basically a term of respect.

When I was preschool age, my mom worked long hours, so she would often drop me off at Gram Wright’s to baby-sit. Back then Gram was getting on into her late 70s, so containing a 4-year-old must have been exhausting. So when she was tired of having me underfoot, she would ship me next door for Aunt Laura to watch me until my mom came to pick me up.

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