All I Want for Christmas (or: 17 Ways to Make Ipswich Even Better)

Glad tidings! ’Tis the season for ’em.

The Ipswich Local News has brought us a great report on the value of our beloved town: If you add up all its taxable property, Ipswich is now worth more than $3.06 billion.

This is awesome. What a bargain. There is no longer any question what I want for Christmas.

I want Ipswich.

No, you don’t have to buy it for me. And my wife sure won’t. She is such a miser. Doesn’t matter. If it’s only $3.06 billion — okay, okay, a little more than $3.06 billion, but let’s not split hairs — I think I can swing this purchase.

The Institution for Savings is a very generous bank; they obsessively sponsor stuff all over the North Shore — so I believe they are going to be very open to my grant application. But even if the grant doesn’t work out, and I have to apply for a conventional loan, no problem. A $3.06 billion loan, at, let’s say, 3.5% over, let’s say, a 30-year term, means monthly loan payments of only $13.74 million a month. If IFS will give me a sweeter interest rate, this gets even easier. If I can get a few key friends to go in with me — I’m thinking Winthrop, Wasserman, Wigglesworth, a couple other names of renown (they don’t all have to start with W) — I believe this is doable. (I will want my partners to take minority positions, of course.)

It’s a very attractive proposition, when you think about it: By the time this loan is paid off, as I approach my 100th birthday, I will have paid significantly less than $5 billion in principal and interest.

And look what I get out of it! I will essentially own the finest town on the North Shore. A historical landmark. An exquisite beach. A model of civic engagement. Just look at how polite people are, in the weekly police log, and at Select Board meetings.

But life is going to become even more idyllic here, when I own the whole thing. Just you wait and see:

  1. I’ll lift the ban on free-range chickens. Because chickens clucking through your yard are charming.
  2. Most of those pesky permits that you need to start a business in Ipswich? Gone. Ipswich residents won’t have to go to Rowley to become successful business owners anymore. Imagine Village Pancake House on Central Street! We might get our own Winfrey’s!
  3. Farmers’ market on the Green every weekend, with plenty of food for sale. Health inspector’s approval no longer required.
  4. Ipswich churchgoers will finally be free to cook their own barbecue at home and serve it at church events. This single breakthrough will improve our quality of life immeasurably.
  5. Our downtown area will finally get commonsense zoning, thanks to me. We’ll increase foot traffic by bringing restaurants, gift shops, and novelties to our storefronts, and steering the ho-hum low-traffic offices of realtors, lawyers, and other professionals to nearby but decidedly ho-hum low-traffic locations.
  6. We’ll extend the Riverwalk all the way, with no break for those annoying offices near the dam. The owners of those annoying offices will get dibs on the best of the ho-hum low-traffic spaces.
  7. Marty’s will be miraculously resurrected. Donuts for everybody!
  8. All new construction will be outfitted for solar power. This should have happened already, but sometimes you just need a dictator to get things done. To keep costs low, solar panels will be installed by passionate Ipswich High School Environmental Club student-volunteers.
  9. The two electric-vehicle charging stations on the Elm Street lot are nice; but since my car is electric, we’ll be installing charging stations absolutely everywhere.
  10. Five Corners? That’ll be a rotary. Actually sort of a hexagon. To make space for it, we’ll need to relocate the Appleton office building and the Christian Science church, and we’ll scoot that cute little war memorial up the hill.
  11. Lord’s Square will finally get straightened out. Our traffic safety record is gonna skyrocket.
  12. We’ll also turn Liberty Street around, so it’s one-way going away from Lord’s Square, and the people who’ve been trapped there for years trying to get into traffic can finally get on with their lives.
  13. The dam on the Ipswich River? Bye-bye. And when, as a result of our beloved river’s damlessness, riverfront properties no longer have a river on their fronts, we’ll make the Riverwalk even longer. Before long, you may be able to take the Riverwalk all the way to the Walmart in North Reading.
  14. On Linebrook Road, the green line will be replaced with a white line, and the white line will be replaced with a green line. This will decrease confusion and increase safety for bicyclists, except for the color-blind ones.
  15. On my first day, I’ll place an order for a left-turn signal at Argilla Road. I won’t be surprised if they rename Crane Beach in my honor out of sheer gratitude.
  16. Mandatory curbside composting. Our health inspector, with nothing else to do, will come around and check your garbage for stuff that could have been composted. Slackers have to put in a week slaving at the transfer station.
  17. You’ve seen the Galickis’ fabulous Christmas light display on Linebrook Road? We’ll pay them to do that in everybody’s front yard.

I think you can see now why the Town of Ipswich is all I want for Christmas. Life is going to be so beautiful with me in charge.

“Hello, Institution for Savings? Loan Department, please.”



Doug Brendel lives in a fantasy world on outer Linebrook Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts. He also endangers other cultures: Follow his overseas exploits at


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