Many years ago, the town's most resourceful building mover
was approached by an out-of-town banker. After a bit of hemming
and hawing, the banker asked the mover if he could figure out
a way to place a large and bulky safe in a basement room just
large enough to house it. Others, he said, had already refused
the job when told that the room's heavily reinforced walls could
not be breached nor the room's armor-plated door be widened.
Each mover had said it couldn't be done, that it was physically
impossible. And that there wasn't a mover on the North Shore
who'd even consider such a project.
This made the Marbleheader mad. "Sir," he said, "Mr.
Banker, let me tell you somethin'. Me and my men can move anythin'
but your bowels ... and come Hell or highwater, we'll place
your damn safe where you want it!"
Within a fortnight, the bank's huge safe was in place, seated
on the floor of the basement room. Not a wall had been breached,
nor had its heavy steel door been enlarged, disassembled or altered
in any manner. It was, everyone said, the work of a genius.
But when asked how he had figured out a way to accomplish something
everyone had judged impossible, the building mover shrugged.
" 'Tweren't nothing," he explained. "The first
thing I done was to forget what little I knowed about engineerin'
and haulin'... then, I put my brain to work. I then went and
cut a hole in the floor above the basement room. Next, I filled
that room with blocks of ice ... from wall to wall, and floor
to ceilin'. The next thing I done was to center the safe on the
top layer of ice and wait for the ice to melt. It took awhile
... but what the hell, the safe is where the banker wanted it,
* * *
"My dear," the Grande Dame of Boston said, "you
should be living in Boston. It's the Athens of America, you know.
A city of culture, wealth and influence.
"Its homes are beautifully designed, elegantly furnished
and exquisitely maintained," she added. "Their owners-all
friends of mine-are well-born men and women admired for their
polished manners and amusing pastimes.
"It would do you a world of good to leave this grubby little
town and its grubby people and take an apartment near me, on
"Do think about it, please," she pleaded.
That afternoon, the Grande Dame was shown the pre-Revolutionary
War Town Hall of Marblehead.
"That's your Town Hall?!" she exclaimed. "Why,
in Boston we have privies bigger than that."
"No doubt," her friend replied. "And from the
way you talk, I suspect you need them."