Remembering Paul D’Antonio

A knotted fist of harbor facing northwest across Ipswich Bay, Lane’s Cove has a vista struck through by tons of granite seawall, bitten a few too many times by nor’easters’ brutal jaws, but still awesome.

The strength of that wall combined with its obvious vulnerability could be a metaphor for the Cove:  this is a beautiful place, but nature – or a singular Lane’s Cove wildness – has its way with fate, a way that can tear stone apart like a shirt on a clothes line, or write tragedy into the lives of famously tough Lane’s Covers – fishermen, quarrymen, and their descendants.

The Fish Shack restoration was not immune from the Lane’s Cove metaphor; not every Shack story is a happy one. Paul D’Antonio, a beloved smile among the Fish Shack crew, passed away suddenly on a Sunday afternoon.  The day before he’d been part of the tool-belted crew swarming the Fish Shack.

Like so many Accelis employees in the Cape Ann Area, D’Antonio’s work with that company was often a hectic imbalance of too much or too little; D’Antonio was either flying around the world or temporarily laid off.  But in the Saturday morning Fish Shack jobs, D’Antonio seemed to find the regular hands-on-a-hammer work he craved.  Arnie Shore says that if there was a project to learn, D’Antonio was the first one there for the lesson, and demanded of himself that he know it the best.

D’Antonio had been rebuilding the Shack’s south-facing window, the one that illuminates the plank stairway inside that rises to the second story.  Paul’s smile over lunch that day had never stopped; he’d been seemingly as happy as he could be, working with his friends around him, a cold, clear blue sky overheard, the Lane’s Cove breakwater at his back.

He passed away the next day while working on one of the model dories he loved to build.  That model dory, now encased in glass, is part of the Fish Shack history, maybe a totem to the Lane’s Cove history that is not always kind.

Blog By Heather Atwood

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