Annisquam:  Pip and Me Coming of Age

During Covid, my sister Pip and I had long phone conversations. Much of the dialogue turned to shared memories of our adventurous lives.

I challenged her to write about her youthful experiences. The essay came slowly as I keptprodding as to how it was coming along. Writing about herself was new and entailedconjuring long past memories. Initially, it was a matter of siblings conversing during along and fraught time of hibernation.

When her first essay arrived I was astonished at its depth, nuance and skillful writing. Immediately, I posted it to Berkshire Fine Arts and begged for more.

About The Book

Initially, she was shocked that her private thoughts had been made public. After discussion, what evolved was the decision to collaborate on a book. It would focus on Annisquam, a Cape Ann cul-de-sac and what it meant to come of age in an upscale community of tradition and white privilege.

Pip was an infant in the summer of 1949 when our family built an incongruous ranch style summer home in exclusive Norwood Heights. Our Italian-Irish heritage cast us as
social interlopers to which we reacted differently. To gain status in Annisquam one sailed or played tennis. These were skills we acquired in the Junior Program of the Annisquam Yacht Club.

 

 

As the book developed there was a deadline of publishing it in 2023 which is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Europeans who fished out of Gloucester. This occasion has
spawned a dialogue about the prior indigenous people as well as sea captains who prospered on the slave trade.

Cape Ann has a remarkable literary and artistic heritage. The decision was made to launch the book with chapters on the generations of major American artists who lived and worked on Cape Ann. This rich cultural history has never been compiled and published.

For this art history we are indebted to artist and curator Susan Erony.

There are nine years between us but as we aged the gap has ever tightened. Today, we are described as best friends. We have had remarkable lives mine in the arts and Pip’s shaped by youthful meditation for several months in a monastery about which she writes vividly.

The book is profusely illustrated with vintage images.  At the book’s release event to the Annisquam commmunity, both Pip and I took the podium to both present and answer questions. 

Annisquam Pip and Me Coming of Age  will give you that event and our remarks about the book and the community of Annisquam during our youth.

Comments in Response To Our Book

Can’t come to the book launch but wanted you to know I received a copy in yesterday’s mail, and started reading last night. It’s terrific. A delicate weave of cultural and personal history, told with conviction and an open voice. I’ll read more, of course. If you come this way, let’s have a cup of tea…. all good wishes, and much respect.

 

Matthew Teitelbaum, Museum of Fine Arts Director

Thanks very much for the book Charlie! It looks terrific. Photos are great, and a brief dip here and there tells me that the stories are enchanting, interesting, full of memories. Congratulations, thanks again.

Ted Stebbins MFA curator emeritus of  MFA

Wonderful childhood memories.  And what a gift you and Pippy have given each other. Enjoyed all the pictures, too.


Mark Favermann, critic and designer

For years (1970’s and 80’s) my parents rented a small cottage in Lanesville on Sunset Point. We used to jump off the rocks onto that cold water! My parents were good friends with Al Duca and family. Nice to read about your family history and see Al’s sculpture. 

Ellen Schon, artist

Yours & Pip’s book arrived.  It is beautiful, easy to hold, and I am already starting to read it.  I love your father’s painting on the cover and there is no doubt that you & Pip are siblings.  You will have added an important chapter to Gloucester’s 400+.

 

Peggy Smith, historian of  American art and architecture

Dear Charles,

Your and Pip’s remarks really set a wonderful tone and it was delightful to hear from others in the audience also.

I went home and gave your book a quick perusal and had meant to reach out right away, only I’ve had too much else on my plate demanding immediate attention, so I’m sorry for the delay.

I think your book is just right. It is genuine and well done. It offers something to interest just about everyone, so I think it will do well.

I’m delighted that Manship will receive four more copies that we can share and keep on hand for residents — your MFA book already has a prominent place in the Manship library and this book will assume an even more important position!

I think the ultimate compliment I can offer, if I can be so bold, is to say that I actually like the picture you included of me — so there you have my wholehearted endorsement!!

In her comments, Pip said she thought you both would win me over when she signed the book you gave me Sunday — and indeed you have!

Warmest regards and a hearty congratulations on a job well done!

 

Rebecca Reynolds Mansfield Artists Residencys

 

P.S.

I would be remiss as a sculpture historian if I didn’t point out one small thing….Katharine Lane Weems spells her name with two “a”s.

This is an absorbing read, by two people with a long history in Annisquam, Ma – an old Yankee summer community – who nonetheless, felt outside it. They were Irish/Italian. Their doctor parents rose from working class roots – their mother from granite mining and farming in Rockport – a fascinating story in itself of dynamic, brilliant people. But their tomato soup red ranch house and Cadillac stood out among the shingled cottages, along with the vowel at the end of their last name. For Charles, who was older, their move from open and artistic Lanesville to buttoned-up Annisquam was a shock. He and Pippy dealt with the problem differently. Charismatic provocation was Charles’ weapon. He found freedom in parties secretly organized in his parent’s house, sail-boat racing, and pursuit of the avant-garde into a career writing about and making art. Pippy was quieter. She found her way in thoughtful contribution to the community over a lifetime. She also has a story beyond Annisquam – marriage, motherhood, of course – and a career as a special education teacher. (I was especially interested in her pursuit of a Buddhist practice in Southeast Asia.)

 

I can tell you as someone who grew up with these two, that they both made an imprint on this village, a place constrained by its Puritan values, yet not undiscerning. And now they tell their story. I told Pippy that I thought it was beautiful that she finally got to tell the people of Annisquam who she is. It is Charles’ accomplishment as an art writer and historian to be able to account for some of Annisquam’s finer qualities by setting it in the larger context of Cape Ann’s long and rich history of artists and poets  

 

Peter Littlefield playwright and director

The art and music critic Charles Giuliano along with his younger sister Pip Giuliano has taken us on a romp through the cultural geography of Annisquam, a small hamlet on the North Shore of Massachusetts adjacent to the town of Gloucester.  First, he gives us some history of Annisquam and its stature, along with Gloucester and Rockport, as a summer colony for a generous handful of late 19th– and early 20th century artists. 

But the story becomes personal—focusing on the lasting influence Annisquam has had on his family. His Irish ancestors on his mother’s side came as farmers from the Old World, but soon were making a living as saloon keepers, an especially lucrative profession during Prohibition.  The ties to the land were so strong that his physician mother, along with her Sicilian American physician husband, bought property and erected a house where Charles and his siblings spent their summers—often alone with Irish maids since the parents maintained a busy practice in Brookline, Massachusetts.  This was a time of much mischief and a cauldron for Charles’s independent thinking.

The most compelling parts of the book are the memoirs of Charles—who became not only an unconventional party-organizer but also a skilled sailor guiding and winning many regattas in the waters around Gloucester.  He speaks lovingly of Pip as the baby in the family who grew into an adventurous traveler.  He then turns the reins of the book over to Pippy to write her own chapters. Pip charms us with her memoir of her journeys and mishaps as she traveled to Japan and then Thailand to seek out teachers of Buddhist meditation.  

Both have had productive lives:  Pippy became immersed in the field of special education, moving back to Annisquam in her later years.  Charles became one of New England’s sharpest art, theatre and music critics—focusing on edgy productions—as well as a photographer of Boston’s cultural scene and a witty “gonzo” poet.

Patricia Hills, curator, critic and scholar of American art

And From Jean Gibran

Want you to know how much I’ve enjoyed learning about your mom. The photo of Dr. Josephine R. Flynn as the sole woman in the graduating class of Middlesex Medical School is such a keeper. Our daughter Nicole became a surgeon decades ago & was the 1st woman President of the American Burn Association. Last year just before her retirement, she received many Lifetime Achievement Awards & your mother’s Historic  Achievements rang a bell. Completely understand what a singular Honor Dr. Flynn’s medical career represents!!

Love your wonderful history of Gloucester i.e. Cape Ann as a major residency for American’s artists. And so grateful for section on Manship Artist Residency – Rebecca Reynolds has been a supporter of Kahlil, especially when he was active in Forest Hill Cemetery events. Lovely to see the handsome photos of her. 

More trivia about Kahlil. Did you know he was friendly with Walker Hancock? K loved to visit his studio beside the quarry. Walker generously advised him to apply for a Prix de Rome that the esteemed sculptor would have backed. Unfortunately, K hesitated – so wary of travel, but he did very much appreciate W.H.’s advocacy. 

       Images from

       The Book

Artists painting in Annisquam, 1896, by George. B. Wood. Courtesy of Cape Ann Museum

Book cover with painting by Dr. Charles Giuliano

View from the Brynmere

Sundown at Cambridge Beach

Nugent family at Beaver Dam Farm, Rockport.

Punch and Judy show at Seafair by Margaret Fitzhugh Browne

Whale's Jaw, Dogtown

Pip presides at book launch

Artist Susan Erony was a source for Cape Ann art history

Charles Giuliano 1950s

Mom at home in Norwood Heights

Another Annisquam tale!! Ever since K & Al Duca shared studio space at Bay Village’s 15 Fayette St during the late ‘40s, they were buddies. Come ‘90s, we often visited Al at his fabulous studio. Once, on a lovely Sept afternoon, we were at the Gloucester Harbor site for Al’s Fitz Henry Lane sculpture.

“If anything happens to me K, I want you to finish him,” said A.

To which K replied, “Nothing’s going to happen, Al.”

And of course, that New Year’s Eve, Al passed.

For the next 2 months, K did finish modeling Al’s figure – hands, buttons, coat details. Along with supervising the bronze casting at Jim Montgomery’s foundry in Everett. How K LOVED working in the Annisquam studio – with its fabulous view and forever breezes.

Recently Nicole, her husband & I visited Jim who lives in Annisquam, where we shared precious memories. Delighted to see the photo on P. 34.

A final note! When the immigrant poet-to-be Kahlil Gibran arrived in Boston circa 1895 with his mother, two sisters and half brother, he learned friends and colleagues were but a train ride away in Gloucester. Their name: Salah. In fact when his mother, sister,  and half brother died a decade later, Gibran often visited the family who provided help and succor. The beat goes on. K’s oldest brother Horace returned from WWII service & married one of the clan Mary Salah – thus settling in Lanesville and teaching at Gloucester High. Since K’s passing, we’ve not kept in touch. But am fairly certain descendants remain in the area.

Certainly, your wonderfully illustrated and documented history of Annisquam is more than a tribute  – it is a major description of how our National Art evolved.

Thank you for all you’ve done!

Jean Gibran author and  curator

other Histories

Gonzo Poetry