November 21, 2013
As I walk down the hill from my house on Perkins Street, I can’t help but reminisce about the good old days on this street. I remember when I first moved here, fresh out of the Portuguese navy (which made me serve for about three years too long), with my wife in one hand and suitcases in the other. I was finally starting a new life in America. I left Mozambique, and I went to New York, and from there a buddy of mine in the Navy, helped me get to Gloucester. Now it’s just me, my wife in our house on Perkins Street. Some of my family still lives around the area, and we are for the most part a fishing family. My kids, Aria and Paul didn’t have a hard time fitting in this once completely Portuguese neighborhood. Even my wife was able to make many friends here, and go to the stores in the neighborhood without needing a translator. There were so many Portuguese people here, as well as Azoreans. I remember a time in Portugal where Azoreas were treated as dirt, and not as true Portuguese people because they come from the Island. How stupid was that! Anyhow, I’m glad times like that are only memories. I took a different route than most of my family, and became a maintenance shop machinist. Shortly after that I become a CNS operator over at Gloucester Engineering. I remember how it was when I first worked there. It was fresh, and new, and exciting, and I had never been more proud of the education I got in Portugal. Even though we were new in this town, we never felt any less than any of those old timers. We are and always be Portuguese and Proud. Now it’s about thirty or forty-something years later, and I’m retired and I’ve been married for 52 years. As I make my way down the street, I look over where my sister’s house used to be, on the bottom of Perkins Street. After she moved, they later on changed it into an apartment building. That building caught on fire once, which caused some damage, so they had to tear it down and now it’s just a hole in the ground. But I will never forget those long nights me and my family spent in that house, telling stories about our childhood, laughing really loudly because of drinking too much wine, and the short walk back to my house afterwards. A lot of my Portuguese friends have moved away for some reason or the other. Some have died and now, there all kinds of people from different countries living on the Hill. It’s still nice over here, except for those screaming matches drunk people sometimes have on Saturday nights. But the neighborhood kids, and their biker gang remind me so much of kids and their friends back in the day , so I don’t mind them. Now I’m going to dinner with my wife.