Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Robert E. Barrett Fishway - Holyoke, Massachusetts

Robert E. Barret Fishway, photo by J.T. Lynch

The fish are on their way. 

The Robert E. Barrett Fishway at the Holyoke Dam, Holyoke, Massachusetts is open to the public to observe an annual phenomenon: the spring migration of fish up the Connecticut River.

Robert E. Barret Fishway, photo by J.T. Lynch

American Shad are most predominant species, joined by Sea Lamprey, Blueback Herring, Atlantic Salmon, Shortnose Sturgeon, Striped Bass and other fish.  Most adult fish return to spawn in the rivers where they were born.

A mechanical menagerie awaits the fish at the Holyoke Dam (a sprawling granite structure across the river.  It's first version in the mid-nineteenth century was responsible for the establishing of Holyoke, a planned industrial city).  The fish are lifted in large metal bins over the dam to continue their journey north. 

Robert E. Barret Fishway, Mt. Tom in the background, photo by J.T. Lynch

But first, they scoot past the observation room where the public can have a look at the marvel.  The fish population is monitored, and the Fishway along the dam is at least one instance of industry giving nature a helping hand and providing laudable stewardship of our environment.  For more on the Robert E. Barrett Fishway, have a look at this website.

The fish are clearly appreciative.  That's their happy face.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Storrowton Music Fair - West Springfield, Massachusetts

They also did theatre.

The stars and the character actors and the bit players, all the gang we know from the old movies we treasure, a lot of them did theatre as well—either before, or concurrently with their film careers—but these samples are, for the most part, what they did after their film careers were over.  The 1950s and 1960s was reckoned to be a kind of golden age for summer theatre in this country, and it hit just when many of the Golden Age of Hollywood stars were finding it difficult to get good movie roles.

Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that they reaped the benefit of having somewhere else to go. Maybe they fueled the fire with their tremendous talent. 

New England had, and still has, many summer theaters.   Today we turn our attention to the old Storrowton Music Fair, a tent theater erected on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition every summer from 1958 to 1978.  

Tent theaters are special.  They have a particular ambiance and magic, but sadly, when we lose them, we don’t even have a building left to remember it by. 

 But here, at least, are a few program covers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Upcoming Talk - Ludlow (Mass) Country Club

This is to announce that I’ll be speaking on my book on the career of actress Ann Blyth—Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. at the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Western District President's Club meeting on Monday, April 18th.  The location is the Ludlow (Massachusetts) Country Club, 1 Tony Lema Drive, at 1: 30 p.m.

My thanks to Valerie Clapp, District Director of the Western District, and the Chicopee Falls Woman’s Club, for the kind invitation to speak at this spring meeting.

"Lynch’s book is organized and well-written – and has plenty of amusing observations – but when it comes to describing Blyth’s movies, Lynch’s writing sparkles." - Ruth Kerr, Silver Screenings

"Jacqueline T. Lynch creates a poignant and thoroughly-researched mosaic of memories of a fine, upstanding human being who also happens to be a legendary entertainer." - Deborah Thomas, Java's Journey

"One of the great strengths of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is that Lynch not only gives an excellent overview of Blyth's career -- she offers detailed analyses of each of Blyth's roles -- but she puts them in the context of the larger issues of the day."- Amanda Garrett, Old Hollywood Films

"Jacqueline's book will hopefully cause many more people to take a look at this multitalented woman whose career encompassed just about every possible aspect of 20th Century entertainment." - Laura Grieve, Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

"Jacqueline T. Lynch’s Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is an extremely well researched undertaking that is a must for all Blyth fans." - Annette Bochenek, Hometowns to Hollywood

Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. 

by Jacqueline T. Lynch

The first book on the career of actress Ann Blyth. Multitalented and remarkably versatile, Blyth began on radio as a child, appeared on Broadway at the age of twelve in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine, and enjoyed a long and diverse career in films, theatre, television, and concerts. A sensitive dramatic actress, the youngest at the time to be nominated for her role in Mildred Pierce (1945), she also displayed a gift for comedy, and was especially endeared to fans for her expressive and exquisite lyric soprano, which was showcased in many film and stage musicals. Still a popular guest at film festivals, lovely Ms. Blyth remains a treasure of the Hollywood's golden age.

The eBook and paperback are available from Amazon and CreateSpace, which is the printer.  You can also order it from my Etsy shop. It is also available at the Broadside Bookshop, 247 Main Street, Northampton, Massachusetts.

If you wish a signed copy, then email me at JacquelineTLynch@gmail.com and I'll get back to you with the details.

Soon to be issued as an audio book!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Talk on the Quabbin Reservoir and BESIDE THE STILL WATERS

This is to announce that I will be speaking at the Agawam (Massachusetts) Public Library on my novel Beside the Still Waters and the destruction of four towns in Central Massachusetts for the building of the Quabbin Reservoir in the 1920s and 1930s.  I’ll be bring some poster-sized aerial photographs to illustrate the setting of the novel and the towns which were systematically dismantled.

More on the book:

Four towns, gone. Dismantled slowly while their inhabitants grieve for a history and heritage that has been voted away from them. The present threatens; the future belongs to the fearless.

Beside the Still Waters is a family saga based on an actual event which displaced four entire towns in central Massachusetts for the construction of a reservoir. Today, the Quabbin Reservoir provides water for millions of citizens, primarily in the greater Boston area.

Families are divided between those who protest the construction project, those who give up and leave, and those who help to build it. The central character is Jenny, a girl who comes of age facing the extinction of her community, who becomes the guardian of her family’s heritage, and ultimately, the one to decide what happens to them.

A rift between two brothers, Eli and John Vaughn, at the turn of the 20th Century continues through to the next generation as John tries to use Jenny, Eli’s daughter, in a plot to regain the family farm from Alonzo, who now runs it, who is Jenny's love. John is broke and eager to sell the farm to the state, which is buying up area property for the coming reservoir. Both Alonzo and Eli refuse to sell their properties, and protest removal by eminent domain. Torn between loyalty to her family and heritage, and the allure of a future beyond the valley, Jenny refuses to remain powerless like the men she loves, but looks for a way to take control. A disastrous decision may prove fatal in a race against time.

The talk is free to the public; please join us on Monday, April 4th at 7 p.m. at the Agawam Public Library, 750 Cooper Street, Agawam.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New England Churches

Ascutney Union Church, Ascutney, Vermont

Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Greenfield, Massachusetts

King's Chapel, Boston, Massachusetts 

Swedenborgian Church on the Hill, Boston, Massachusetts

A blessed Easter to all who celebrate.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Parade - 1958 - Holyoke, Massachusetts

Photo by Ann B. Lynch. c. 1958, c. 2015 by Jacqueline T. Lynch

High Street in Holyoke, at the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  It's 1958.  A fifteen-year-old schoolgirl from Chicopee took these photos.  Here's a float passing in front of the old WT Grant's department store.  The store is, of course, long gone.

Photo by Ann B. Lynch. c. 1958, c. 2015 by Jacqueline T. Lynch

Here's a shot of her classmates, senior girls, from Holy Name High School in Chicopee.  Holy Name High, regular participants in the parade for years, shut its doors in the early 1970s.  

Photo by Ann B. Lynch. c. 1958, c. 2015 by Jacqueline T. Lynch

But this was the big attraction, the winner of the Outstanding American of Irish Descent Award, Senator John F. Kennedy, and his wife, Jacqueline.  The float bears the sign: "Here Come the Kennedys."  You can see the old Holyoke Daily Transcript office in the background.  It would merge with the Holyoke Telegram to become the Transcript-Telegram, but the newspaper shut its doors a couple of decades ago.   

Photo by Ann B. Lynch. c. 1958, c. 2015 by Jacqueline T. Lynch

In this close-up view we can see Senator Kennedy's back to us as he waves to crowds on the other side of the street.  Mrs. Kennedy is facing us, with what appears to be a baby in her arms.  Standing on a moving float with a baby seems like an incredible risk, but their daughter Caroline would have been about six months old on this occasion, and perhaps she did, indeed, go along for the ride.

In two years, John Kennedy would be elected President, the first Irish Catholic to be so honored.  Four years later, the Outstanding Irish American Award would be renamed the John F. Kennedy Award in his honor in 1964.

We could not predict the events, triumphant and tragic, that occurred only a few years ahead at the time of these photos were taken.  They are amateur shots, but show poignantly what was important to this young girl named Ann.  She, also, is no longer with us.  She was my sister.