“Maine Musings” by Nancye Tuttle

Nancy Tuttle writes about the start of school and Merrimack Valley-Hollywood connections in the following post which originally appeared on Nancye’s World:

It’s been several weeks since I’ve posted, but it isn’t because I’m lazy, just particularly busy as school got underway.

Right now, I’m enjoying the sunshine and bright blue ocean in Kennebunkport, Maine, where my daughter and son-in-law have a cozy abode that’s a perfect getaway, even on a chilly September weekend. Amazing how a couple of space heaters warm up a cool room on a nippy night.

So, here’s a few things I’ve noticed, enjoyed or thought about since last posting:

Back to school always fills me with excitement and a bit of nostalgia. I guess it’s because my mother was a teacher and my daughter is a teacher and the call of the classroom always beckons me, too. I love the anticipation of new books, backpacks, lunch boxes and friends. And I feel truly blessed and honored that for the past six, almost seven, years that I’ve been able to teach at Middlesex Community College. I met my new students last week in my Film, Video and Society class. They seem like a bright, inquisitive bunch and are already into the semester, sharing their thoughts and insight on film. We’ve started with the movie School Ties, shot in Lowell, Concord, Groton and Acton 19 years ago. It’s a well-made small film, accurately depicting the 1950s at an elite prep school, where prejudice was the norm. I like to think things have changed on that front, but sadly, I don’t think it’s that much different. It’s always fun to point out local “locations” in the movie, though, including Danas’ Market on Gorham Street in the opening segment. If you haven’t seen School Ties, I recommend it. And, hopefully this time next year, I’ll be recommending The Fighter as another great example of a locally made film.

Austin Tichenor, Reed Martin and Matt Rippy, the guys in the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete World of Sports (abridged), now playing at Merrimack Rep, are a hoot to talk to. I enjoyed interviewing them a couple of weeks ago for my column in The Sun. And, according to positive reviews in The Globe and The Sun, it’s a must-see show for its raucous ribbing of sports casters, sports fans and sports, in general. Haven’t seen it yet, since I no longer review for The Sun (lifestyle editor Suzanne Dion took over the job with my retirement in August.) But I hope to get there sometime before it ends on Oct. 3 to offer a few comments on this blog. It’s nice to know MRT’s 32nd season’s off to a winning start – at least according to the critics.

Scott Grimes still loves Dracut, his old neighborhood and the Lo-Kai. And after talking to him for a 10 Questions column in The Sun last week, it seemed to me that he hasn’t gone Hollywood, despite his success on TV and in the movies. Scott came back to town last week for a few days to play in the Dracut firefighters golf tournament at Meadow Creek. He brought memorabilia from such shows as Band of Brothers and E.R., which helped him achieve fame. These were to be auctioned at a special event at the Lo-Kai to benefit the Dracut food pantry. I wish I could have gone, but Maine beckoned that weekend. But it was good to talk to Scott and share his story with Sun readers. Anyone see him? I’d love to hear how he was in person.

Finally, on the arts scene, the Addison Gallery of American Art in North Andover is now officially reopened after a two year closure for renovations, upgrades and the addition of new classroom and office space. Here you’ll see significant works by Whistler, Sargent, Hopper, de Kooning, Homer, O’Keeffe, and Wegman, plus significant works of modern art. I love wandering the galleries and experiencing the intimacy of this fine small museum, one of the gems of the Merrimack Valley. Located on the campus of Phillips Academy, it’s close to Andover’s downtown with its nifty restaurants and shops. Make it a point to visit the Addison, which hosts it official re-opening next Saturday. Free and open to all. Also next weekend, Lowell Open Studios celebrates its 10th anniversary with nearly 140 local artists showcasing their work at venues around the city. I’ll preview it in the Sun’s Stepping Out ssction on Thursday, Sept. 23. Look forward to seeing you around town.