With thriving medical practices, other than Sunday, there was little family time with our parents. That changed during summers in Annisquam.
There was an office on the first floor of our large home at 1760 Beacon Street in Brookline.
We had dinner at 5:30 PM as office hours started at 7 PM. It was my task to open the door and put the lights on in the waiting room. Often I lingered to read the latest issues of Life, Look, and Saturday Evening Post which were there for patients.
During the war years I cut out pictures from Life and pasted them into a scrapbook. I avidly followed the adventures of Terry and the Pirates and Dick Tracy in the Sunday comics.
It was assumed that I would grow up to be a doctor and join Dad in the OR. When patients straggled in I would ask them to discuss their symptoms. There was Priscilla, an alcoholic, who was a regular. I asked why she drank and what she could do about it.
Dad liked to work me into the business by having me come to the office to see the results of his surgery.
One nice Sunday a couple came to have their infant circumcised. Brookline was a largely Jewish community and they preferred a surgeon to having a mohel perform a briss.
He had me stand close as he placed a device around the tiny tip of the penis. Turning a screw there was a razor-like ring, Blood flowed and the infant shrieked in pain.
I bolted out of the office and onto the front porch vomiting in front of the waiting parents.
Later, as a teenager, I drove dad from Annisquam to a hospital in Revere. Rather than wait in the car he insisted that I watch a C-section. The baby popped out and I went down totally passed out on the OR floor. It was not an auspicious signifier for my career as a surgeon.
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Mom had evening office hours. She made morning house calls and had afternoon office hours. Dad saw patients on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. After office hours the family would have snacks.
On nights when Mom was off she caught up with mending clothes. They were school nights but we got to hang out and have quality time with her. We had a number of Irish maids who did the housework and made meals. They had time off on Thursday and every other Sunday.
On those nights dad cooked. It was usually spaghetti on Thursday with a sauce he made that weekend. Jo and I were supposed to do the washing up which usually entailed epic battles. Dad would cook, starting Saturday night, for a grand meal on Sunday. Sometimes when the maid was off we dined out and caught a movie. Usually, that meant British films with Alec Guinness, Margaret Rutherford, and Terry Thomas at the Exeter Theatre on Newbury Street in the former Spiritualists Temple.
Life was good until we became teenagers. Jo and I attended Mt. Alvernia Academy in Chestnut Hill. It was a school for rich Catholic kids taught by Franciscan nuns. A school bus picked us up and we knew the other kids in our neighborhood.
That changed when I was sent to Boston Latin School as a commuter. Other than sports, I had no social life. How I longed to go to Brookline High or a private school. Founded in 1635, BLS is the oldest school in America and then arguably the most rigorous.
There was a test in every subject every week and a monthly report card. It had to be signed by a parent. I was routinely punished for poor grades. That meant the bad end of a razor strap.
That sewed the seeds of rebellion. Jo, a poor student, was pampered and transferred to Beaver Country Day School. She graduated from Southern Seminary and Junior College in Buena Vista, Virginia. There she met her husband, Nick Henley from neighboring Washington and Lee.
Annisquam Light House by Dr. Charles Giuliano.
Winter Scene by Dr. Charles Giuliano
1760 Beacon Street our winter home in Brookline.
Newspaper clipping of Dad at the easel with Pip
Pip and Me in Annisquam 1960s.
Tom "Red Terror' Meachem was a tennis rival of Mike Moonves.
Pip in The 1960s
My father the sailor.
A family dinner.
Pip's hipster older brother.
Pip, Yuri and Sarah
My brother in law, Michael Moonves.
The Yacht Club tennis courts.
Pip and Yuri with his son Misha and grandson Danya.
They lived initially in High Point, for a time in Newton, but returned home to High Point when he joined the family paper business. The marriage ended in divorce and Jo returned home with daughters, Nugie and Augusta. She remarried to Mike Moonves and they moved to Byfield where he was an administrator for Governor Dummer Academy.
My sister Pip, nine years younger, also went to Beaver. Dad liked to pick her up from school and they watched the Three Stooges in the afternoon. Pip graduated from Pine Manor College and then transferred to University of Wisconsin. He was furious about that but she needed to get away and spread her wings.
She was looking over her shoulder as he told Pip that he was hiring private detectives to keep and eye on her. The University was then in the thick of protest and cultural revolution.
Even before that she pursued Buddhism and became a lifelong vegetarian. I recall the explosion at Thanksgiving when she declined turkey. Dad insisted, putting it on her plate.
After college, she worked for the telephone company and saved money. When she had enough she left for Japan. Her intent was to teach English but there were visa issues. A former teacher invited her to stay with them in Thailand. For several months, she lived in a monastery near the border with Cambodia.
Back home she earned a master’s degree from Lesley College and is a now retired teacher of special education. Her teaching career ended in Gloucester. She and her husband, Dr. Yuri Tuvim, live in Norwood Heights. Annisquam. They have a daughter Sarah, a sailor and ship’s carpenter.
Initially, the nine year difference in our ages was palpable. During summer, when our parents were mostly away during the week in Annisquam, I was put in charge of her. She had her own struggles fitting into the complex social structure and I was too authoritarian. I have apologized for not always being a good big brother.
As she recalls “The summer of 1960 was pivotal in my preadolescent development.
“My sister Jo married and moved out of state. Charles was preoccupied honing the young rebel persona, growing a goatee, smoking weed and getting pretty chicks to pose for oil portraits.
“I cried into my teddy bear calling out the name of the boy from JP (the yacht club’s Junior Program) who looked through me like a pane of glass. I chose him for boyfriend potential because he was an outcast like me.
“There were so many restless nights wondering what magic had to happen to change me into the wanted category. Was it the hair, the bathing suit or the irreversible last name? On one occasion, fate intercepted with the spun bottle pointing in my direction. I got a peck on the cheek and chills of anticipation.
“Precious love never happened in the summer of ‘60 or any summer that followed. There was no safe harbor from trying to fit in.
“A tinge of this dis-ease remains my companion here in Annisquam.”
Time changed that sense of malaise when, in the 1970s, we were Cambridge neighbors and best friends. We had dinner at least once a week and the magic word was “pesto.”
I was a rock and jazz critic and she joined me from time-to-time.
She had a crush on rock singer Peter Wolf who, with bandmate Magic Dick, was a neighbor in the Harvard Square Murder Building.
At a party I introduced them. “Peter this is Pip,” I said, then “Pip this is Peter.”
We had so many wonderful adventures and continue to be there for each other. She is married to Dr. Yuri Tuvim, a retired engineer, and they have a daughter Sarah, a sailor and ship’s carpenter.
Coming of age our family dynamic was complicated.
In addition to being a successful surgeon, Dad had many talents. He could sing as well as play piano, guitar, and ukulele. In the 1950s he became an avid painter of landscapes. That started with a lesson from family friend and art dealer John Castano.
During the summer he painted and attended demonstrations by Emile Gruppe in his Rocky Neck studio. Dad also studied with Roger Curtis and exhibited at the North Shore Art Association.
On global trips, in later years, he often made watercolor sketches. Mom framed a group of them for our porch.
When we traveled to Europe Dad took off sketching. In Venice he was painting a barge in a canal. He noticed several men staring at him. He spoke a Sicilian dialect and found the Venetian one difficult to understand. Dad asked why they were staring at him. They responded “Maestro, we would like to know when you will finish the painting because we have to move the barge.”
That night he told us of a grand adventure when he joined the men for lunch.
Dad decided to buy a boat. It was a rusty Steelcraft with perennial motor problems. It was moored in a canal off the Charles River. For one adventure we were joined by the Sullivan family for a sail up the river to the Harvard footbridge.
The following spring he traded up to a 35’ Chris-Craft. The Cutty Sark was purchased in Marblehead and someone from the boatyard delivered it to Annisquam.
That winter Dad took a course from the Coast Guard. He taught the session on first aid.
Despite the lessons he was squeamish. It was a lot of boat to handle in the crowded harbor. It was my job to stand at the bow and grab the mooring with a boat hook. There were several passes until that was possible. He swore about the Turnabouts getting in his way.
At the club dock we picked up passengers, our family and relatives. We headed out to the river but never got much farther than the light house. At times we went the other way up river turning around at the 128 bridge.
On a couple of occasions we circumnavigated Cape Ann.
During the week Jo and I were expected to keep the craft ship-shape. That meant swabbing the deck and polishing the brass. We played with the ship-to-shore radio which was a no-no.
The Cutty Sark had bunks and there were secret sleepovers.
After a couple of summers dad decided to downsize to a nifty, lap streaked, speed boat. It came with water skis. Which I took full advantage of during the week. The boat was tied up at the dock so it was easy to access. The only problem was coming up with gas money. Needless to say, I became quite popular as my pals took turns waterskiing.
But not everyone got the hang of it. We tried over and over but my girlfriend Lisa Schereshevski never managed to get up out of the water. That fall we dated but she dropped out of Wellesley, went home, and soon got married.
There was a great divide to Annisquam’s social scene. In general you were not a true Squamer until the third or fourth generation. That still left a lot of buddies to hang out with. In general I was a rebel and an alpha male but it was tougher on my sisters.
Add to that our family was Sicilian/ Irish.
One day a bunch of guys were horsing in the pool room of the club. We were tossing around life preservers. It was all in fun until I landed one on an uptight snob.
“How dare you, you wop,” he said to my face. “I’m really sorry you said that,” I replied. Then I decked him and he spent the rest of the summer with his arm in a sling.
There were always kids to have fun with even though we were snubbed.
Perhaps it was tougher on Pip.
“I had a few friends but never the insiders,” she said. “Betsey Moore cousin of the Lyman’s came for the month of July. Over the years we liked each other but didn’t play much together. Becky Fox was another friend but not much after club hours.
“Early on, I made myself comfortable at the Vance house – probably pestering Mrs. Vance.
“I always wandered into the Bishop house. The Bishops, our immediate neighbors, had four kids. The eldest, Judy, was Jo’s age, followed by Tardy, Ellie and John, Jr. Someone would always play Go Fish with me. You could make peanut butter and fluff sandwiches on wonder bread if you timed the visit. I felt very welcome and was always in and out of their house. They let me sleep over one night in the coolest small room that jutted out into the yard. I can still remember the thrill of that exotic night.
“I hung out in the Crane house. Ed Crane was the Mayor of Cambridge. They lived diagonally across from us in a large cottage. They didn’t mind an extra body as there were so many of them with seven children. Danny Crane used to crew for me until I couldn’t boss him anymore.”
Our neighbors the Ross family had a vacant lot in front of their house which was a ball field. That was intended to prevent anyone from building and obstructing their view. Nate Ross was the football coach at Gloucester High School and two of his three sons, Skip, and Donnie were athletes.
There were pickup baseball games. Kids would stop by and ask me to play. Not that I was any good, but I happened to have a catcher’s mitt as well as a first baseman’s glove. I wasn’t any good but playing outfield I could get the ball in. Nate hollered, “Good arm,” which meant the world to me. When pitching I took a line drive to the face. Fortunately there was no damage but it was my last trip to the mound.
One spring break Skip invited me and Jo Egan to go skiing. He loaned me equipment as it was my first time. When the gondola reached the top I asked how to ski. “It’s easy,” he said. “Just follow me.”
He showed me how to snow plow and that was it for lessons. Later, in college, I skied quite often and got to be decently competent. Also I skied with Jim and Benno in the Berkshires.
My friend Bobby Dangelmeyer lived across from the yacht club. That meant that he had easy access to the tennis courts. We played from time-to-time but we were better sailors.
The annual tournament for club champions was intense. There was a good attendance for the tennis finals. My brother-in-law, Mike Moonves, had some epic battles with Tom “Red Terror” Mechem.
It was a hoot to see Julie Hedblom make an annual appearance. She was the sister of Ben Smith who was Jack Kennedy’s roommate at Harvard. It was said that she dated Jack before Jackie. Peter Hedblom was a neighbor and friend at Cambridge’s hippie enclave, Fallon Place, in the 1970s.
Indeed Julie had the aura of a grand manner.
She never seemed to practice but competed nonetheless. Her game was all about placement and tricky drop shots. On close calls, in a ladylike voice, she would say “I do believe it was out.”
My then girlfriend, Betsy Fox, made it to the finals. It was intense as Julie’s antics got her unhinged. I did my best to console her.
As I stated before, in Annisquam you either sail or play tennis.
Lucky you, Charles! You enjoyed an interesting childhood with fascinating, talented parents. Thanks for sharing!! FYI, remember John Castano. He was an old-time dealer. and Knowledgeable. Kahlil used to help him with objects, etc. We often visited Annisquam! Al Duca had a fabulous studio & barn there. Never forget how K LOVED that studio where he worked on the final details of Al’s sculpture of Fitz (Hugh) Henry) Lane. Also, K’s brother lived next town = Lanesville. Beautiful area. We also visited sculptor Walker Hancock in his beautiful studio inland. Keep remembering, Charles. It’s history that mut not be forgotten. Onward in Health ~ Safety ~ Peace.
In my early days I lived in Chelsea. My sister lived in Brookline up the street from Stanetsky Funeral home. I know the area,
Dammmm…. Charles!….. Nice painting!
Thanks Stephen Hannock.
A wonderful piece of memorabilia of a bygone era; never to return. The memoir may be yours, but allowing everyone to share in it, is generous. You had quite a childhood, my boy Stay safe. Best… Jack
Witnessing as a child the C-section and the circumcision is powerful, the kind of memory the reader knows will stay with you, Charles, for the rest of your life. The roots of your rebellious nature, the sweet evocation of your childhood and your parents makes for moving reading, The general atmosphere rings true and is totally unpretentious, something hard to achieve in memoirs. When is the next instalment?
PS> Fourth line typo, you write DAN when you mean DAD.
Rather than go on and on, just let me say this was one fabulous read. It blew me away! I was there every minute with you, your family, and countless neighbors. I am amazed at your memory. You still are a bad boy rebel in my mind. I must also say that I love you father’s paintings. Love to you and Astrid. Fast Eddy from the East Village, NYC
Thank you I enjoyed that. We lived in Japan for two years and somehow I discovered that it was always interesting to ask people where they went to high school and how they liked it. Always much more revealing than asking about their higher education. M
Always love reading more about your days in Annisquam. I loved our visits to your home. Didn’t know so much was brewing behind the scenes!! I guess I was too young.
Loved your dad’s paintings!! I never remember seeing the winter snow scene or the one of your Brookline brownstone. I loved your Brookline home. I remember the long winding staircase and of course the refrigerator filled with jars of tonsils your dad had just removed the week prior!! Love Pip! Sad to hear she had such a tough adolescence! She was beautiful, still is!!