Tuesday, May 12, 2009

BRIDGET GALWAY: From the Bohemian digs of Provincetown: To The Paris of New England: Somerville, Mass.

(Joyce S. Galway-- at Tennessee Williams apartment)

Provincetown Banner File Photo

BRIDGET GALWAY: From the Bohemian digs of Provincetown: To The Paris of New England: Somerville, Mass.

By Doug Holder

An artist friend of mine Bridget Galway lives in my neck of the woods in the Union Sq. vicinity of Somerville, Mass. Well we got to talking, and as it is my habit, I asked her about her background. She directed me to her website: http://www.geocities.com/bkgalway and her accomplished portfolio of paintings, one of which is a portrait of the Beat Generation writer William Borroughs. (I plan to use it on the front cover of the next Ibbetson Street, my literary journal). Bridget told me she moved from Provincetown to Somerville a few years ago and she wanted to connect with the arts community here, so I invited her to the literary group the Bagel Bards in Davis Square. Galway told me she was caring for her late mother, a long-time resident of P-Town, and dyed-in-the-wool Boheme. Joyce Galway (Galway's late mother) moved to Provincetown in 1953, and took part in that fecund artistic milieu that once existed there until gentrification and massive influxes of tourists changed its character.

I included a note from Bridget Galway about her interesting background, and a short piece by her late mother Joyce. (Edited for space considerations)


For 3 years since I have moved here from Provincetown, I have thought about responding to your email postings. I am an unpublished poet, never ventured to try. I am a visual artist as well. Some of my art is feature on the Island of Ibiza's web site which is http://www.ibizatimes.blogspot.com. My father was the writer Stephen Seley; mainly published in the 40's and 50's, at that time he was written up in the New York Times for two books “Baxter Bernstein ", published by Scibner's, and “The Cradle Will Fall", published by Hartcourt, Brace and Company. My Uncle Jason Seley, a sculptor, became the Dean of Cornell after heading the art department for many years, my cousin Kate Seley who lives in Madrid, premiered the Spanish presentation of " The Vagina Monologues." I continue to correspond with Peter Kinsley, an English writer, whose most recent book is" Bogged Down In the County Lyric." He was a good friend of my Father's, who is a character in that book. You can also find him on the Ibiza web site, as well as other writers. If nothing else is derived from this correspondence, I know you will find that web site interesting. I have a rich history of being surrounded by writers and artist all my life. Tennessee Williams was best man at my Mother's and Stepfather's Wedding. Harry Kemp (Provincetown Vagabond Poet) was a good friend of my Father's. He dedicated his book the "Cradle Will Fall," to him. My life has evolved from my early years in Greenwich Village, to Provincetown. I have read my poetry on WOMR radio Poets Corner in Provincetown.


I arrived in Provincetown with my five month-old son Dennis and his father, Fritz Memorial Day, 1953. Fitz drove a truck full of several families' summer possessions and was paid for delivery of same. He then deposited me and the child at our shop (Custom Made Sandals by Fitzgerald) cum living quarters, corner of Pleasant and Commercial, across the street from Cookie's Tap, which is at present Galarani's. It was a very different time. A real sense of community existed although the world itself wasn't overworked as it is today…

The natives, Portuguese to you, the summer people, and the groups of renegades of every description known as artists coexisted wonderfully. Oh those beach parties with great buckets of muscles etc. contributed by John Gaspe!

The artist Ghandi Brody had a studio behind some storefront on Commercial ... I spent the days I did not work drawing peoples' feet on stiff white paper, on the beach in front of Flyers' Boat Yard with Steve Seeley, a writer from the city and of course the baby. Steve eventually took off for Ibiza but not before he became the father of my daughter, Bridget, who fortunately or unfortunately follows the bohemian strains of her parents and is now a Provincetown artist. Some afternoons I modeled for Hans Hoffman. (Noted Abstract Expressionist). Life was amusing with moments of enlightened brilliance as the various characters came and went throughout the season.

...there were days in the sun... a town of sexual freedoms, exchanging of ideas, music, and if one was lucky enough to know someone as Manny Zorro, early morning fishing trips on his boat, going out in pre-dawn fog. One mixed with such a diversity of people...it was possible to meet idols of literature, struggling artists, and famous persons such as Harry Kemp. Life in Provincetown was easy, fluid as the beauty that surrounds it, and after living here 31 years never lost its pull on my senses.

... I relish the gorgeous days of spring, summer, and autumn, and the soft orange full moon nights.

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