Posted tagged ‘Haymarket’

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

February 25, 2016

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.