2007-12-28 / Letters to the Editor

Glassblowing studio belongs

Ouch, ouch, and ouch! That is what I felt as I read the Clancy/Historical Society letters in last week's Jamestown Press. I have long shied from letters, as I was never in the mood to set myself up for the community stabbings that follow. However, in the spirit of the Christmas season, I am hoping that the meanspirited folks keep their pens silent. I, too, would like to name my letter "Preserving the Windmill District," as I feel that is exactly what the Clancy's would be doing if they were able to sell their wares from their workplace.

I am not a lawyer and I certainly do not have the zoning lingo going on, but as an ordinary citizen I choose to have my say. My family has lived in Jamestown for a very long time. My great-grandparents sailed from Ireland and settled here. My father was actually a home birth on our island. The history of Jamestown has always been important to us. I have often said that when I retire, the one organization that I would choose to donate my time and money to would be the historical society. After attending Zoning Board and Town Council meetings in regards to the Clancy controversy, I would be embarrassed to do so now. I have to say that I was actually ashamed at some of the public behavior I witnessed against the Clancy's. One couple, who shall remain nameless, should totally be feeling the shame. If members of the historical society saw and heard their actions and words aimed at the Clancy's at the last Town Council meeting, they must surely be cringing! No one has more class than David and Jen Clancy for ignoring the heckling and actual grabbing! In some other town, USA, I would venture a guess that litigation from a citizen's standpoint would follow. I am saddened and amazed that this issue needs to be heard at the Supreme Court level.

More than 30 years ago, as a URI college student, I took a class called the History of Rhode Island. I interviewed Beth McCallen for a term paper I wrote on the Jamestown Windmill. She lived where the Clancy's now live. For those that remember Beth, you will recall what a delightful individual she was. She gave me a beautiful drawing of the windmill that I promptly had framed and gave to my mother. The point I am trying to make is that the historical aspect of the windmill and immediate surroundings was so very important to Beth. I think she would have been honored to see how the Clancy's have restored her home with their love and artistry, while preserving as much of the historical artifacts as was humanly possible. I do not think we could have found better neighbors for "Windmill Hill" if we had advertised in the classifieds.

When you step into the Clancy's barn studio, you will step back in time. It should not matter how you stand on this issue, it is an education that you should encounter. I promise you will be amazed. Glass blowing by hand is an art that could be lost to factories. Let us all not forget the price that comes with that. The Clancy's are so giving of their time and knowledge to our school children and families. It truly is beyond my comprehension that we are not begging this couple to open their shop for business!

There are some that voice parking concerns and North Main Road traffic as their bias. Any shopkeeper in Jamestown wishes they saw too many cars parked in front of their business. The reality is very few shops can survive year round due to lack of business. I would think we would want to attract folks to the windmill to enrich their own history, and that in turn may even generate interest in the historical society. I sincerely believe that allowing the Clancy's to open up shop could only enhance the historical aspect of "Windmill Hill."

The Clancy's are willing to sell their beautiful hand blown glass on such a restricted schedule. Can we please support their endeavors to preserve such a beautiful and old craft and at the same time enrich our history? I implore others to show their support.

Eileen Drury Tiexiera


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