Eternally Green: Cemetery Preservation Craftsman Moonlights as Curator of The Somerville Flea
by Greg Ghazil, Preservation Craftsman, Mount Auburn Cemetery
I like old stuff, that much is clear. Monday through Friday I deal with the trials and tribulations that come with keeping the thousands of monuments at Mount Auburn from succumbing to nature, gravity and the passage of time. Every Sunday from June to October I spend in a Somerville city parking lot curating an open-air vintage and artisan market.
While studying preservation at the North Bennet Street School I was forced to look for old and hard to find hand tools in antique markets all around New England. I fell in love with the chase but moreover, the markets. I wondered why Boston didn’t have an outdoor vintage or antique market and set out to change that. Six years later, I find myself pursuing two of my passions and couldn’t be busier…or more content.
Our tagline for The Somerville Flea consists of four very simple words. Reclaim, Repurpose, Rediscover and Reconnect. It is these four words that have guided the market on a course that continues to this day, which celebrates the past while preserving the future. Reclaiming items no longer thought of as useful and giving them another owner whom will give them another story. Repurposing items for a different use have become extremely popular today. When you think outside the box, transformed with a little imagination, the box can be anything. Rediscovering items you haven’t seen in a couple of decades. Perhaps, they remind you of your grandmother or grandfather, or just how things seemed to be made better “back in the day” and most likely the reason it still exists. And finally Reconnecting. What we try to do at the market is slow time down and let vendors and shoppers connect on a personal level. Knowing who you are purchasing an item from and knowing that that money stays local helping small businesses is a win-win situation for all involved. We also, love to see the community connect with each other, whether it is with folks at the local farm stand, live musicians or each other. The flea is a place to connect to the past, shop local, and forge new relationships. That might be what we are most proud of. We’ve had a good day if we can keep some things out of the landfill, keep the economy local all the while entertaining some people along the way.
The Somerville Flea
62 Holland St
Somerville MA 02143