Posted tagged ‘Harvard Square’

“There was nothing like a Saturday – unless it was the Saturday leading up to the last week of school and into summer vacation. That of course was all the Saturdays of your life rolled into one big shiny ball.”

June 11, 2016

Saturday for my whole life has been the best day. When I was a kid, Saturday was our day to roam the town or to see a movie or to sit and watch Creature Double Feature on TV. Those were the days of black and white movies from the 50’s with cheesy special effects. We didn’t care. We loved those old B movies, and even now, I’ll watch them. I’m never critical. They are fun to watch. Some Saturdays we were out all day rambling. We’d pack a sandwich and some cookies in a brown paper bag knowing we’d be gone most of the day. We followed the railroad tracks, walked to the zoo or watched the dairy cows. We looked in the windows uptown and into the fire station as we walked by it. On warm days the firemen sat on wooden chairs right outside the bays where the fire engines were. We’d walk through the school yard empty of kids. We’d get home in the late afternoon. The winter meant the matinee. I don’t remember ever caring what the movie was. I remember standing in front of the glass display case trying to decide how to spend my nickel. The candy had to be tasty but more importantly, it had to be long lasting. I think my brother chose candy by its projectile possibilities.

When I was a teenager, Saturdays meant sleeping in. During the day I’d hang around or meet up with friends. I remember roaming around Harvard Square, going to the museum and checking out stores. Back then Harvard Square was unique and the stores were not chain stores. I remember we ate at the Wursthouse a few times. I haven’t been to Harvard Square in years except to drive though to somewhere else. It has lost its identity. It is the same as anywhere. On Saturday nights we’d sometimes go bowling. I was never a good bowler, but it was fun.

Saturday nights in college were party nights. Some of my memories are still hazy. We’d find a spot, park the car and party. Those were the days of cheap wine.

In Ghana, Saturday usually meant going to town to shop in the market or at the small kiosks which sold margarine and instant coffee in tins. I’d carry my woven bag and fill it with onions, tomatoes and eggs. Once I found a small watermelon my tomato lady had saved for me to buy. I never saw another one.

When I was back home, Saturday still meant sleeping-in and food shopping, but at a supermarket with too many choices. I’ve always hated food shopping and shlepping in the bags.

Today I woke up at 8. I had two cups of coffee and two pieces of Scali bread toast. I have no plans at all for the day. I’m thinking it is finalize the deck day. I’ll put down the rug, clean the chairs, water the plants, start the fountain and then ceremoniously bring the Travelocity Gnome and the plastic flamingo to their summer homes. They inaugurate deck season every year.

“Part of the urge to explore is a desire to become lost.”

March 1, 2014

Snow is coming on Monday. Wow, I’m just so excited. We haven’t had any in at least three days. The weatherman also says it will be cold for most of the week. What a surprise! I was getting so tired of those high 20 degree days.

Today looks washed-out with light but no sun and some blue but mostly gray skies. The breeze is brisk and chilling.

I make all these plans to go places then I decide that being home and warm is the best place to be. Today I haven’t a choice. I have some must do errands. I will, however, award myself in some way for being fearless in the face of frigid cold and winter’s mighty hand.

I am an explorer. Even when I was a kid I explored. On my bicycle I rode all over town. I’d go down roads I hadn’t ever ridden on before. It wasn’t ever to find anything. It was just to see what was there. From high school in Arlington, it was a dime bus ride to Harvard Square down Mass Ave. It was the best of times for Harvard Square. The Orson Wells Theater, the old kiosk and the Wursthaus were still there. Book stores were everywhere. My friends and I explored the square time and time again. We went down one way streets resembling alleys and found hidden places to eat. We walked Harvard Yard. We never tired of spending a dime to get to the Square. We knew we might just find someplace neat, someplace new.

In college, I was no less an explorer but hardly explored. Books and classes took far too much of my time, and each summer I had to work. I was stuck in one place for what seemed like the longest time. I had a few interesting adventures in college and they helped but weren’t quite enough. My need to explore had expanded well beyond my bicycle and Harvard Square. I wanted new places. I wanted to need maps and hear a foreign language. I wanted the chance to be lost.

I am still an explorer, but my boundaries have expanded well beyond what I dreamed when I was ten. I have been lost several times, and I love finding my way. That’s what explorers do.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

September 22, 2012

Yesterday the rain left the day humid and damp. Late last night it rained again. This morning is dark and gray. I have absolutely no inclination to go out and about. I might not even get dressed. My iPad has a few new books, perfect ones to while away a day, books with good guys and bad guys, buried treasure and a few murders. I might even watch a bit of TV. Today is deadly bug day on Syfy with wasps, alien insects set on world domination and monstrous spiders. The bugs are the opening act for tonight’s new movie about spiders from the Middle East called camel spiders who have a taste for humans.

I think the young me would approve of the much older me. Back then I had huge dreams and all sorts of ideas about who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go. I saw myself as a lawyer, maybe even the first female Perry Mason, or a teacher, an inspirer, and I knew I’d travel the world to visit places from the pages of my geography books. Even though I was growing up in the 50’s I never thought of being female as limiting, never even realized that a dress and pearls were de rigueur. I always knew I’d go to college even though no one in my family ever had. My best friends in high school were two guys, and we did all sorts of neat things and pushed the boundaries as far as we dared. My friends and I roamed Cambridge, Harvard Square, when it was the neatest place. We were comfortable just about anywhere. Once we celebrated Mardi Tuesday with a picnic at the library where we sat hidden between the stacks on the third floor. We thought of ourselves as rebels. We saw foreign movies with subtitles and felt worldly. We were daredevils sledding with our toboggan on hills everyone avoided. The bumps sent us airborne.

I learned long ago that life is an adventure to be savored, and in all these years, I have seldom been disappointed.

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