The piano movers came yesterday and took the piano. I put up the sequence of pictures I took on Flickr. So one more piece of our life is no longer in Lilac Court. I wish I’d played it more, but I’m glad that it’s going to stay in the family, so I won’t miss it quite as much.
Speaking of missing things, I’ve started to think about the things I’ll miss from here (besides friends, of course). Here are the things I’ll miss, the things I’ll be glad to leave behind, and the things I really won’t care either way:
Things I’ll Miss
- The Red Sox - now that they are ‘winners’. Still, the whole silly ‘curse’ thing was fun, but if I really missed that, I’d move to Chicago. I also liked the Patriots, although it’s hard for me to get all weepy about football. I will miss SuperBowl Sunday at my friend Andy’s house. It became an annual culinary and social event that we regulars looked forward to. Thanks, Andy.
- Cod. What a wonderful, tasty fish, so mild and comforting when baked with herb bread crumbs, butter and lemon. On the other hand, from all the over-fishing that’s going on, I may not be the only one who’s going to be missing this fish in the near future. While we’re talking food here, I’ll also miss Emma’s Pizza, a pizza parlor famous from glowing writeups in Newsweek and Zagat, which had to good sense to relocate to a nearby corner. Pizza most people would drive hours for, and I got to walk home with it before it got cold and wash it down from Microbrewery beer, also from across the street. It rarely gets better than that.
- Speaking of food, I will also miss all the fabulous Ice Cream, including Toscanini’s , Christina’s, Emack and Bolios, Steve’s, JP Licks, the White Mountain Creamery and all of the other incredible dairy confectionaries we have here. Some have called Boston the Ice Cream capital of the country, maybe even the world. They’re right.
- Haymarket. I love farmers’ markets and this one was so authentic and cheap, it’s the way some families make ends meet. Where else could you get a bushel of peaches for $2.50 ? Never mind that you had to throw out a third of them because they weren’t so good.
- Harvard Davis Square. Harvard Square used to be a place to hang out and just people-watch, as well as go to nice bookstores. There’s only one bookstore left (of the same name), and my favorite was Wordsworth (ask someone who’s been here a while and they’ll probably shed a tear as well). Harvard has now become pretty much a shopping mall and cluster of banks. What Harvard Square used to be like is now, Davis Square (small, independent book stores, cafés, restaurants, and the Somerville Theatre). Much livelier.
- Living in the Intellectual Capitol of North America. No other city, anywhere, has as many colleges as Cambridge, MA. Yesterday was Harvard Graduation. Everywhere you looked you saw people in caps and gowns, flowers, happy parents, and lost drivers with out-of-town license plates. The week before it was MIT. Those are the big ones, and there are many smaller ones, many of which, on their own, could be the centerpiece of a University town.
- Memorial Drive. Nothing more beautiful than a Sunday in the late Summer or Fall walking along the Charles River. In the evening we’d take bread crusts to feed the ducks. Sadly, pollution has since has caused them to leave.
- Speaking of Fall, the Fall colors were something to ooh and ah about every year. I love that season, and late September was always a treat.
- Being close to Vermont. The thing that probably makes me the saddest about leaving the US is leaving Vermont, one of the country’s saving graces. I’ll also miss Tanglewood and Dublin, New Hampshire. Where I got my music fix each summer visiting The Walden School, a fantastic summer program I attended as a student eons ago, and taught as a faculty member not much more recent than that.
Things I’ll be Glad to Leave Behind
- Logan Airport. They should never be forgiven for letting the terrorists on not one but two planes on 9/11. I wouldn’t be so hard on them, but for the fact that it was later revealed that the head of security for the airport at the time had gotten that cushy job by being the Governor’s chauffeur. Favors for family and friends put the whole country at risk. On a more trivial level, the place is still filthy, ugly, difficult to get around in, difficult to land on, and an all-around disgrace. The best thing they can do is to shut the whole thing down. Build an airport off-shore on an artificial island like the Chinese did (hey, why not another Big Dig!) I’m going to be thrilled not to have to return home via Logan. It’s a pity so many do.
- Republican Governors. Now admittedly, I did vote for William Weld, but that was because the only alternative was a maniac named John Silber, who was so disagreeable that I would have voted in Ghengis Kahn over him. (Well, almost). Unfortunately, after Weld (who was stopped in mid-career by none other than that Neanderthal, Jesse Helms), there have been a succession of GOP governors in Massachusetts (Celluci and now Romney), and each one has been just as bad
- Living in a User-Hostile City. Boston has an attitude: Signage is for sissies; you should just know where you are, so don’t bother asking for directions. That includes roads as well as the T (subway). If you’re with luggage and come in via AMTRAK at South Station, you’ll never be able to find an elevator. Take if from me, I couldn’t, and I’ve lived here nearly 20 years! I also probably don’t need to mention that Boston drivers are known throughout the country for being the among the most aggressive and rude. I suspect that I’ve picked up some of the driving style and will have to work to tone it down.
- The Winters. In fact, the weather in general is far from pleasant. Not only were winters very cold and snowy, but summers were not that comfortable either. Boston also seems to lack any kind of a Spring, temperature-wise. You go from too cold to too hot in a day. I wish we could have gotten more than 1 or 2 days of 72°F/22°C per year. It’s currently a steamy 79°F/26°C, and it’s only June!
- Government Center. Well, no one likes that place. It is truly one of most unattractive buildings ever built. Everybody in Boston knows it’s horrible, but in all the years I’ve lived here, not a soul has been able to get any concensus on what to do about it. What a waste of space and a lost opportunity!
Where I Won’t Care Either Way
- The Big Dig. It never affected us, and now that it’s done, depending on who you ask, it was either a marvel of engineering or a shameful piece of political pork (or both). I think it’s just a big tunnel. And although the Bunker Hill/Leonard Zakim bridge is pretty, we’ve actually never driven on it. Big Deal. What really needs help are the roads above ground. The potholes outnumber the pigeons.
- Living Amongst Colonial History. While I did once participate in what I’d like to think was an important digital media project around the Boston Freedom Trail some years ago, I have to say that I’ve just had it with the city’s attempt to turn itself into Ye Olde Yankee Theme Parke. As the local government and builders preserve one of the ugliest buildings in the city (the old City Jail) as part of a Medical Center building project just across the river, I’ve come to the realization that too much reverence of the past can be almost as bad as not enough.
- The Boston Accent. Sure, it’s easy to make fun of, and I can certainly do a version of it, but having that Boston ‘pahk your cahr’ sound neither enhances nor detracts from peoples’ impression of you. At worst you sound like an idiot. At best, (as Jon Stewart of the Daily Show has sometimes said) you sound like Mayor Quimby from The Simpsons. Who knows, I might get all teary-eyed when I hear one years from now, but thanks to the fact that NPR’s Car Talk is heard everywhere from Constantinople to Timbuktu, I don’t think that will happen.
- The Kennedys. Pam saw Ted Kennedy once at the airport. I stood next to Bill Weld and Michael Dukakis (at different times) on the T, but never a Kennedy.
- The North End. This small Italian neighborhood was supposed to be famous for great food. Frankly, I was disappointed more often than not. The sandwiches at Il Panino could be very good though.
Those are the lists I could think up in these last few days. There will be more that I discover, and Alison Rose (who has left some nice comments here) has a running appreciation in her blog of things New England, Everything’s SFNE. Here’s to only remembering the good things, which memory always does for us.