Meetings at Middleton’s Landings Along the River

The Water Closet, July 26, 2013

A lovely story was told to us by Stream Team President, John Bacon, the other day. It is of a meeting about seven years ago between a man and a woman at Farnsworth Landing, South Main Street (Route 114) and the Ipswich River.

A couple weeks ago John, as Stream Teamers often do, was checking the riverside park when he met a couple enjoying the changing evening colors. He struck up a conversation and learned of their first meeting there. Since then they’ve often returned. Stream Teamers on hearing the story wondered if other couples met for the first time at one of the team’s several landings on the banks of their beloved river. Many might say, “What better place to meet.” Certainly more wholesome than one of the dives out on Route 1. We can’t imagine someone often returning to the latter for sentimental reasons.

Often on our checks of flowers, lawns, wooden fences, and for trash we see people relaxing in their cars, at the picnic tables, on Leon’s great sitting stone, or on Vito’s fine stone stairs to the water.* Sometimes they seem lonely, yet at peace, perhaps content to be out of the rat-race for a while.

After hearing John’s story, some of us are trying to muster up the courage to introduce folks we see sitting there apart from one another. What can they do besides say? “Mind your own business.” Of course they might say other things. We hope we would just smile and think, but not say, “Sticks and stones will break our bones but . . .” Wouldn’t the world be a better place if sometimes we minded others’ business?

Not all is peace and love at our landings. We Stream Teamers sometimes say unkind things about our dumper of several years. Some unknown person comes now and then to Farnsworth and dumps construction and yard wastes on the edge of our lawn. Two weeks ago, we removed some of his or her debris and put up a wooden sign: PLEASE NO DUMPING. A few days later there was a small amount of new brush. We will still not change the sign or put on it unkind words we’ve called the person. Perhaps there is some reason for optimism. Let’s imagine last time he came with a big load to dump and upon reading our sign, his conscience got to him and he departed after leaving just a few branches.

Yes. Let’s think positively. What if some stranger who helps pick up at the parklets, someone who is a kind, forgiving soul, catches the dumper in the act? She gently lectures him and together they put the trash back in his truck. You can change the genders in the last sentence if you wish. Lonely, they don’t want to part right away. Both sit on Leon’s gift stone by the river in the moonlight and talk. On parting they arrange another meeting. A year later a Stream Teamer meets them at one of their now monthly meetings at the landing. They tell their story. “When was that?” asks the Stream Teamer.

“July”, they say together smiling.

“That explains it”, says their questioner. “July last year is when the dumping stopped. In August we took down the sign.”

Visit one of our landings. You might land more than fish.

* Leon Rubchinuk obtained a large cut granite stone and placed it beside the river at Farnsworth Landing. Several years ago two old paddlers tiptoed with their canoe past a beautiful girl soundly sleeping on it.   Vito Mortalo built a fine stairway of stones to the river. It was the first of three such gifts he has built along the river for the public.




Precipitation Data* for Month of:  April  May  June July
30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches 4.53 4.06 4 3.95 3.89
 2013 Central Watershed Actual  1.74  3.80  8.70  2.90 up to 7/23**

Ipswich River Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet per Second (CFS):

For July 23 2013:  Normal . . . 6.2 CFS          Current Rate 7.0 CFS


*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru June. Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.

** Updated July precipitation data is from MST gage

THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: or <> or (978) 777-4584