Best of Luck to Mark Hammond in his Retirement


To the Editor,

I recently read in the Cricket about Mark Hammond's retirement.  At first, I was surprised that he was old enough to retire and then started going back down memory lane. 

In the 90s and the early aughts, I was Chair for the Christmas Greens on the Common on behalf of the Woman's Club.  The Annual tradition where members of the W's Club created three large wreaths with cut Greens provided by the DPW for the facade of the First Parish Church, which the Manchester Fire Dept. firemen had the task to hang up and take down each year until now.

One year the wooden wreath forms couldn't be found and that ended that "hands on" project and the W's Club purchases the Green wreaths ever since.

For many years, the DPW would wrap chicken wire around the fountain secured with wire in a cone shape and the women, most of them members of both the W's Club and the Seaside Garden club, would fill it with all the Pine tree branches which the DPW would bring. The fountain looked like a tree. 

When I took over, I asked Mark not to use chicken wire anymore and to tie only wire runners from the peak to the corners.  Also, instead of Pine Greens we would decorate the Fountain with garlands of laurel, etc. as a fountain should and it has been each Holiday Season since.

Mark continued this collaboration with me and my successors, between the Club and the Town, and he was always the man to contact.

In the 80s and 90s I was an exhibiting artist member of the Manchester Arts Council (later on "Manchester Cultural Council" part of the Mass Local Cultural Council Program) and became the MCC Chair of it for six years in 2000 and stayed as member afterwards.

Up to that point, once a year the Council would hold a weekend "Arts Gala" where Manchester Artists would exhibit their artwork for sale or not.

We had wooden panels built for it and held these Exhibits at the First Parish Hall and later on at the Manchester Community Center.

The wooden panels were kept in the Town Hall's second floor storage room and Mark and his crew would bring them with a truck to the Exhibiting Hall and take them back to the storage after the Exhibit each time.

After seeing all their hard work that it involved I spoke to Mark and informed him that I had approached the Selectmen about using their Meeting Room, the Hallway upstairs, the staircase walls and the front lobby in the Town Hall for the Arts Gala Event instead as a lot of other towns and cities in Massachusetts had been doing by dedicating spaces for the Arts according to the Globe.

I reassured them that I would be responsible for setting everything up on Friday evening as a Gallery with a reception for Artists and the public on Saturday evening and open house for all during the weekend.

After closing on Sunday night everything was moved back in order, as if nothing had happened and the spaces were ready for business on Monday morning.

And, from then on Mark Hammond did not have to deal with the wooden panels anymore.

I will always be grateful to Mark for his willing contribution while I was in charge of those activities for each of those Town Groups.

Wishing him a good retirement with good health and pleasant times for the years ahead!

Thanks Mark,

Katerina Gates


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