(originally published to the Business Owner Tide Chart newsletter - August 2019)
I first came to Salem in 1989 for a Derby family reunion hosted at The Derby House at Salem Maritime Park (that's me in the pink with my mom, grandfather, and sister). My mom’s maiden name is Derby. Through all of my grandfather’s research and some of my own, I can safely call Uncle Elias Hasket Derby a distant relation. It was a relation my grandfather was very proud of. I don’t remember much about that visit except trying to play with a spinning hoop along Derby Wharf. While maybe not the most memorable visit for a seven year old, it planted a seed.
My second visit to Salem was a bit more stereotypical. I was working on a big project my freshman year of high school and I had selected witches as my topic. Naturally that drove me to Salem. I was researching the history of the witch hysteria, the philosophy of wicca, and the science of herbal remedies. I visited the Salem Witch Museum and The Witch Dungeon Museum. I was enthralled by the stories, the tragedy, and the beauty of wicca, the belief in nature.
Little did I know during these two relatively inconsequential visits that one day I would call Salem home. What brought me back to Salem probably sounds familiar to many North Shore transplants. I was moving out of Boston, looking for more space, a parking spot, an affordable condo, good people, and a lively community. I was in my mid 20s and knew making friends in a new city was going to be hard but Salem definitely had a lot to offer. After a serious pep talk from my dad and some hand holding from my mom I bought my first place in the Bridge Street Neck neighborhood. I have been here for six years now. This little seaside town has become home. I have come to love the people, the places, the community.