Two Christmas Characters


Sometimes, there are movies that are just unrivaled.       There are two that can not be topped.     The Christmas Carol of 1951 with Alistair Sims and It’s a Wonderful Life with James Stewart.


Both possess some interesting characters that have appropriateness for Newburyport.

Ebenezer Scrooge.      His main character flaw was the desire for money and the process of making money.     Even he himself felt he was just another cog in the continuous process of striving for the gold.     In Newburyport, the scrooges amongst us are the ones that have the ‘night terrors’ of poverty.      They remember Newburyport with its busy factories and crowded streets filled with workers.     They remember the cruel hand of fate as factory after factory closed, the streets emptied and the city became a backwater.      


Their solution is to pursue money for money’s sake.      Anyone who shows up at the city’s border with cash in his pocket and a loan from a bank is welcome in Newburyport.      Everything must be swept away to lure in more money.  What about zoning issues?   Let’s make any development an as-of-right zoning.    In other words, let’s assume they will do the development regardless how damaging the project is for the city and for the people.  How about Quality of Life in our neighborhoods?     What good are they if you’re penniless?     They must be pushed aside.     The Common Pasture, the Historic Neighborhoods, the Waterfront?     Cast them aside, more money must be garnered.


In the end, the scrooge’s of this world driven by fear would sacrifice everything rather than seeking the general welfare of the community.    Sadly, they will find themselves bankrupt spiritually as they bankrupt spiritually the city.

Very similar to Mr. Scrooge but with a little twist.    He’s bitter and selfish in his grasping.      His desire to turn Bedford Falls into Pottersville is a calculated means to wrench any profit he can at the expense of others.     In fact, in his opinion; any person that becomes miserable as a result of Potter’s profit taking deserved to be in that position in the first place.  Mr. Potter cares nothing about the welfare of those in the path of his work.    And he spurns those who would be conscientious in their businesses and developments.      He thinks such sniffling fools are weak just like he treats George Bailey.


In Newburyport, we thankfully have some pretty fine bankers who almost overdo it when it comes to charitable giving.     In contrast, we have craftsman, carpenters, contractors, developers and business concerns that put profit before the benefit of the community.     They not only sneer at planning boards, zoning boards and historical commissions; they seek anyway to buck the system so they won’t have to be accommodating to the abutters, neighbors and the city.       They hire cunning lawyers and work backroom deals and secret arrangements in as vindictive a way as they can to get their way.      Their specious arguments are finely crafted to hide their true intentions.      And they scorn other businesses and developers who are trying to do the right thing.      Unfortunately, our city has had its belly full of these types.     The only thing that can stop the Newburyport Potters are businessmen, private individuals and caring organizations that band together in great sacrifice to stop us becoming Pottersville.

         Newburyport’s future


-P. Preservationist

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