“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

Today is the same as the last few days: damp, dark, occasionally rainy and very windy. The phone woke me around 8. I let it go to voice. No message was left. I couldn’t go back to sleep so Gracie, Fern and I got out of bed. They are now napping.

When I was in the eighth grade, my friends and I were allowed to go to Boston by ourselves for the first time. We took the Sullivan Square bus from the stop in front of the movie theater uptown. At Sullivan Square we took the train, the subway train. It wasn’t called the T back then. I don’t remember where we got off, but I figure it must have been at the stop which had entrances to Filene’s and Jordan Marsh. That would have put us right downtown on Washington Street.

We had no destination in mind. It was the going by ourselves which was important. We roamed all over the city. I remember it was a Saturday because the market was open. Pushcarts were in rows with narrow aisles between them. The aisles were crowded with people. The wooden carts held fruit, veggies, nuts or candy. Vendors called out to us to stop at their carts. Butcher shops were in small storefronts across from the carts. Meat hung down on hooks. The butchers wore what must have been at one time white aprons. A couple of places sold pizza by the slice. I remember the smell of the pizza cooking.

We went to the North End which was all Italian back then. Widows wearing black sat on wooden kitchen chairs placed on sidewalks in front of their houses. They spoke to each other in Italian. Bakeries sold what I found out later were cannolis. Some places sold pizza by the slice or the pie.

The North End was a foreign country to me. Rabbits hung in store windows. In a candy store, some candy looked exactly like fruits and vegetables. Some looked like white mice with black whiskers. I asked and found out they had been made with marzipan. I bought a mouse. It tasted horrible. The pizza was served in square slices. The crusts were thin.

I was a foreigner. The North End was the first real place to feed my wanderlust.

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8 Comments on ““All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.””

  1. Richard Says:

    No, Mommy … I can’t be late for school. I quit school. Bright. Sunny. Approaching 50. O. M. G. … make it stop!

    Here’s another idea for the musical listings … You’re aware that the little things with names like ‘webcrawlers,’ ‘webspiders,’ and ‘webbots’ invisibly scour the web looking for machine-readable information they can transmit back to Their Master In Wherever, yes? Well, one counter to that is pretty easy: Make the information HUMAN-readable only – like the ‘captcha’ screens do. Instead of putting the title ‘I Know That Voice’ in plain text, code it to read as ‘! Knøw Tha† Vo!c3’ … Most readers will catch on to the way the game’s played over time and the machines have nothing for The Master. It could even become a variation on ‘Name That Tune!’ …

    Almost – but not quite – time to shower, shave, and make a grocery run to pick up ‘essentials.’ You know, stuff like bell peppers, jalapeños, tomatillos, shallots, carrots, Fresno peppers, a couple Anaheims, some poblano, and assorted others. Then there’s oranges and Clementines and maybe a fresh pineapple.

    Yukon Gold and red potatoes for later this week will come home, along with bacon to add to whatever’s made with ‘em. Probably a good idea to get a bunch of asparagus now too since it’s on sale for $1.99/lb – it’s usually $3.99/lb. A can of artichoke hearts is also on the list. If the hams are still 99¢/lb, there’s probably one in the display case that’s gonna come home with me. If not, I’ll be lookin’ at the flatiron steaks and pork loins. Much as I like ribs, they’re a lot of work for not so much meat – they’ll be skipped.

    • katry Says:

      The sun came out late in the day. It would be warm except for the chilling wind, but I’ll take today!!

      That is such a great idea! I’ll give it a try tomorrow.

      I have similar essentials, but it is difficult to find fresh peppers in great variety. I can find dried ones so I have to be content with that. I’m with you and all that fruit. I so love pineapples. It is one of my top two, coconut being the other.

      The only no would be artichoke hearts. I’m not a fan. Flatiron steaks are delicious with plenty of flavor. I do like ham. It was what my mother served at Easter most years. I am a ribs fan!

      You can cook for me anytime!

  2. olof1 Says:

    I can’t remember that we ever just went to the big city without having something to do there. It was always going to the cinema or perhaps a store. We weren’t much for just walking around watching what was happening.

    I remember when I could buy a slice of pizza for the first time, it was when Pizza Hut came to town. They must have been dissapointed because it never became popular here. Thick crust failed terribly too and it is still not especially popular here. I don’t mind it but prefer thethin ones.

    In the beginning all emigrants were sort of spread thgroughout the city but now days I think we can say that most immigrants now live in the same areas. Turks in one are a Kurds in another and so on.

    Sunny and warm during the days here and clear skies and cold during the nights and it will stay that way through the weekend too they say, perfect springwinter days 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      When I was little, we went to see or do something. When I was older, my friends and I would go just to hang around and wander.

      I never eat at Pizza Hut. There are so many places that serve great pizza, and you can get thin crust.

      We also have a Chinatown in Boston, but it too has fewer Chinese each year. The rents in the city are so much higher than they used to be.

      If we had no wind, it would be a great afternoon. The wind makes it chilly.

      Enjoy the weekend!!

  3. Jay Bird Says:

    What a fun way to grow up. We used to wander a much smaller northern NY city the same way. Girls would shop and boys would play pool, then we’d gather at one of a dozen pizza/snack places. A good life.

    • katry Says:

      It was a wonderful way to grow up. The town wasn’t big, just big enough. We had a bowling alley, a movie theater and a miniature golf course which is still there. We could get to Boston easily, and when I was in high school (in a town different from where I lived), it was a quick ride down Mass Ave to Harvard Square, a funky unique place in those days. It was a great way to grow up.

  4. lilydark Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I don’t think in 8th grade we were allowed to go to the big city by ourselves. Later on, of course when I was about 15 and on it was OK. However my parents often took me, as they had business in NYC, and they introduced my sister and I to Broadway, bookstores, and museums at an early age. I have much gratitude to them for doing this. When I was in college, I often visited a friend who lived in Boston. I remember she worked in the Library, some stores, and very little else. That’s probably old age forgetfulness seeping in.

    It is a sunny day, and for now I am sharing my bedroom with my cat, until I make sure that the rest of the house is “safe for her”, and that she is finished seeing the vets. Other wise, it would be impossible to catch her to go to the vet. She is improving every day.

    Tomorrow, I see an improvisational play, and early in March I am getting tickets for the Wainright Sisters– I’ve never seen them before.

    Take care,
    Lori and the gang

    • katry Says:

      We had to take a bus right to the subway and then to Boston. It wasn’t far, and in those days, Boston was a small city though huge to us. I think NYC would have been a different story to my parents.

      My parents always took us to museums when we were kids. I remember walking into the Egyptian room at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and being overwhelmed by the size of the sarcophagi. At the Peabody Museum at Harvard U, it was apes heads in jars. I too am thankful to my parents for teaching me that museums were places filled with the most marvelous items.

      I’m glad that she is improving every day. I was worried for a while until you heard from the vets. My two have become senile or at east it seems that way. They have hissed and whacked at each other all their lives. Both are now 17 and sleep on the couch at the same time, not together but close. I find that remarkable.

      Enjoy the play and the concert.

      You and the gang take care!!

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