, Gloucester, MA

October 6, 2012

Honoree: I went to get fired, and came out a designer

Town Talk Marjorie Nesin
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Essex shipbuilder Harold Burnham was honored by the National Endowment of the Arts with a National Heritage Fellowship on Wednesday in Washington D.C.

Burnham sailed the pinky schooner Ardelle to accept the prestigious $25,000 award, he was given for his work in continuing the tradition of constructing wooden schooners.

In an interview with Nick Spitzer of the radio show “American Routes,” upon accepting his award, Burnham told the story of how he began designing vessels.

“When I got hired to build a boat, I wound up going to the owner, telling him I didn’t think much of his design,” Burnham said. “He told me, ‘You know, architects and engineers and captains thought it was great.’ He said, ‘You think it’s terrible.’ I said, yeah. He said, ‘Build me anything you want.’ I had gone in to get fired and came out a designer.”

Show your stuff

Essex and Manchester residents will have a chance to sparkle during the Night of Stars talent show Nov. 4 from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

The Manchester Essex Regional School District is not only looking for students but town residents, too, who are interested in performing.

No matter what your talent, just email Nancy Garvey at to schedule an audition today from 10 a.m. to noon or Thursday, Oct. 11, for 3 to 6:30 p.m.

The talent show, a fundraiser for the schools, will be held at the Manchester Essex High and Middle School auditorium.

Lions seek members

The Essex Lion Club, seeking new members, will host an informational session Wednesday at the Windward Grille, beginning at 7 p.m.

Members will show the work Lions do for the town and explain how attendees can participate. Appetizers will be served at the event and a cash bar will be open.

Mark Lynch, president of the club, is available to answer questions about the session and the Lions at or 978-768-7338.

Wine party, auction

The Essex Shipbuilding Museum and Chebacco Market will host a silent auction and wine reception Friday at the museum.

The event, “From Vineyard to Shipyard,” will run between 7 and 9:30 p.m., featuring theme baskets, items from the London Olympics, gift certificated and handmade crafts.

Tickets cost $20 for museum members and $25 for non-members. Those interested in participating may reserve tickets at or by calling 978-768-7541.

Town Talk, about Manchester and Essex, is compiled by reporter Marjorie Nesin, If you have a news tip or item for this column, she can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or