Writing My Life

Now and Then

… hello from BeanTown / TeaTown …


Have you guessed where I might be? Yes, here I am in one of our nation’s cradle communities: BOSTON! This is my very first visit here, and I am in LOVE. Thus far, it is measuring up to EVERY expectation.

If you are asking “Why is Renae in Boston?” I’ll explain. In addition to my work with Secondary Literacy, I have been assigned to assist in our district’s dual immersion program. Since je parle un peu francais, I feel terribly inadequate in supervising teachers who speak Spanish and Chinese – or ANY language other than English.

Fortunately a state grant paid my way to a national convention that is helping me understand my new role, AND that convention just happened to be HERE! YaY!!!

The minute the last daily session ended, my colleague Carolyn and I jetted out the door, slippped into our walking shoes, and started exploring. Tuesday we wandered over to Newberry Street to ogle over the brownstones lining both sides of the avenue. The evening was almost balmy, and I carried my coat as much as I wore it. We ducked into a little Italian sandwich shop for a light and YUMMY dinner: bruschetta and a honey pear salad with prosciutto (Italian for ham). DeLiCiOsO!

Harvard Yard - Home to GOOD WILL HUNTING

Wednesday afternoon, we jumped on a bus and headed to Cambridge – home to Harvard U. Because the sun sets just after 4:00 P.M., we wandered about the campus at dusk. It was amazing, but I have to say I felt OLDER, POORER, and DUMMER just being there. Lots of Ivy-League looking students of EVERY nationality roamed the sidewalks that linked the red-brick buildings.

I made one interesting connection to my past Titanic fetish when we entered Widener Library. The magnificent building was created and named in honor of Henry Elkins Widener who died in the sinking of the doomed ship.

Next Carolyn and I went in search of the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s NIECE. “Why??” you ask. Well, that house used to be the home for the president of the Boston Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who just happened to be Carolyn’s grandfather.

In the early darkness of the evening, we found 15 Hawthorne Street. Now empty, the stately home still stood as a proud sentinel. We managed to get some good pictures thanks to the mighty flash on my CoolPix camera!

We couldn’t leave without crossing over to Brattle Street to wander about Henry’s estate – Henry as in Wadsworth Longfellow as in “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere … .”

Summer View: Picture from Flickr

Prior to the poet’s acquistion of the home, it serve as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War. If you have read David McCullough’s 1776, you might remember that Washington and Henry Knox outmaneuvered the British during the Siege of Boston, thus forcing the British general Howe to evacuate the city.  So cool to explore history this way!

Carolyn and I walked the grounds and even though late autumn had claimed  bushes and flowers, we saw a skeletal beauty that helped us appreciate the charm of the estate. The wide veranda had been freshly painted and the high white sheen lit our way around the mansion.

As we said goodbye, Carolyn spotted an old-fashioned key hanging from a bush’s branch at the front corner of the house. We wished it was a “magic key” that would not only open doors to the mansion but also to the past. How fantastic it would be to eavesdrop on Washington’s war plans or Longfellow’s parlour conversations!

Our great evening ended with another tasty dinner at a Cambridge market. We chose our fare from fresh dishes from the around the world and then headed back to our comfy quarters. SuperTimes!

Author: rbs

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3 thoughts on “… hello from BeanTown / TeaTown …

  1. Did you guys take the key? I’m SURE it was magic.

    And Wow! HWL’s neice? That’s amazing! HWL as in “I heard the bells on Christmas day?” Soooo cool.

    I’m glad you’re able to see so much and are having such a great time! I’m excited to read more updates! Enjoy everything doubly — for me too! 🙂

    • WoW! That was a super quick comment!

      C. and I are convinced that Revolutionary War and literary ghosts hold vigil over all these historic sites, and so we did not DARE take the key for fear of whom we would be offending.

      We also stumbled upon Tory Row – home to English Loyalists. We’re not certain if the Longfellow mansion beloned to such a one before George forced many Tories back to Great Britain. Anyway, we felt safer by leaving well enough alone! 😉

  2. Walking through history was the great enjoyment of my Boston visit too. Just fascinating to realize all that went on in those same little streets. I was there in February and it was one of the coldest places I have ever been. But we didn’t care—-we kept walking those little avenues and exploring the old rock churches and quaint little homes and eating, eating, eating! Your adventures make me wanna go back so much!

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