When I was returning from a great workshop with Kevin Smith in New Hampshire on Touch Practice, and I decided to forgo the highways and took the backroads home instead. In my never ending search for other towns to visit, I figured that I could enter into Massachusetts and see what was going on in Haverhill.
I had been through the city before, but never into the center, so I decided that’s where I should find. Thanks to Google Maps, it sent me to an “off the beaten path” part of town, but there I did find the Buttonwoods Museum, where I spoke with a man that worked there, and he asked if I knew about Hannah Dustin, who was a very famous settler who was captured by Native American & French soldiers in the King William’s War about 315 years ago, and then killed her captors and returned to town. They are obviously very proud of her as a founding mother of the town.
What really struck me when I left was a large sculpture of an old fashion women’s shoe, which had all sorts of Haverhill-based art on it. I then went downtown, and it being a Sunday it was rather quiet, but upon walking around I saw more and more of the shoes, and other artwork. There were murals on walls, sculptures, and other types of art hidden in many different places. There were also a few art galleries on side streets that were showing local work. There were also a bunch of buildings and businesses that looked like they were in need of a little attention, but the overall atmosphere of the place was that, while there had been some hard times since the closing of all the shoe factories, they were really trying. I was inspired by the creativity that was peaking out of many nooks and crannies. Granted, had I been there on a different day, I might have gotten a better sense of the life of the place, but it really seemed like there were people there that were moving forward and finding good things to promote. While I’m not going to say that it was slick, if was hopeful.
So, where have you found hope when you didn’t expect to see it?