Posted tagged ‘subway’

“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.

“Well, mother, he is a very nice man. he gave me some candy.”

May 18, 2014

Today is cloudy and a bit chillier than yesterday. My bedroom window was open all night, and I was cold this morning, cold enough to grab my comforter. I burrowed down, got cozy and fell asleep for another hour. Gracie woke me up. She banged her paw on the bed right beside where I was sleeping. Even though I kept my eyes closed and my breathing even, she knew I was awake. I gave in and got up. Now she’s sleeping. Oh, the irony!

I loved visiting my grandparents because they lived in a city. The houses were close together separated only by walkways almost like alleys. Small bakeries sold square pieces of cold pizza and Italian ice from opened windows. We played stick ball in the street and baseball against the steps. It was a whole new world to me. I remember two streets up there was a park, and I remember there was a store on the corner of their street. It was tiny but every shelf and counter was filled with something to buy. We went there to spend the dime my grandfather used to give us.

Once my uncle took my brother and me to Logan Airport. We walked from my grandparents’ house in East Boston. My uncle is only two years older than I am so it was just three kids on an adventure. It was a long walk and seemingly longer going home. Logan in those days was a series of hanger type buildings, many made of wood. They were mostly one story. The roofs of some of them were for observation, for watching the planes. There were fences around the perimeters of those roofs, and I remember standing there a long time watching the planes taxi to the runways and fly off while others landed. There were still prop planes and no jetways. People walked from the plane to the terminal. We went through the interconnected terminals, and I took brochures as souvenirs. I remember that as a favorite day. My mother wasn’t so happy when she found out how far we had gone.

I have another memory of when my uncle took my brother and me to the MDC pool. To get to the pool, we had to take a bus and then the subway from my grandparent’s house. I remember standing on the subway platform by myself. I don’t remember exactly where my brother and uncle were standing. A man came up to me. I remember he wore a straw hat, had bad teeth and his coat was striped. He had a cane but it was on hooked on his arm. He spoke to me, and I said hello. He offered me gum and said if I followed him behind the stairs he’d give it to me. Never take candy from a stranger jumped into my head so I ran to find my uncle and brother who were together further down the platform. They wanted to know why I was running. I didn’t tell them what had happened. I broke the rule by saying hello so I kept the whole incident secret. I never told. This isn’t a favorite memory.

“I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday.”

January 30, 2012

Today will be a short post as I have to go to Boston. In days of yore, I used to go to Boston fairly often and never minded the trip. I’d meet friends, see a play, go out to dinner or shop. Now that I have all the time in the world, I begrudge the trip. I’d much rather sit at home and travel the Cape roads.

When I was a little kid, my mother didn’t drive. If we wanted to go to Boston, it meant walking up town and picking up the bus to Sullivan Square. Once there, we’d walk upstairs from the bus to the subway station. My mother would warn us away from the edge of the platform so we’d stand back and lean over to look down the tracks for the coming train. When it arrived, the doors always slid open with a whooshing sound, and we’d hurry inside to our seats. We always knelt on the bench like seats with our backs to the cars and our faces to the window. The city enthralled us as huge buildings, lots of cars and houses close together were unusual sights for us. The rule always was if we got separated, we were to get off at the next station and wait. We never did need to do that.

Mostly I remember going to Boston with my mother to see Santa Claus at Jordan Marsh. We were dressed in our good clothes and would wend our way to Santa through the Enchanted Village. It always held our attention, and we never once asked how much more we had to wait. Compared to today, the exhibit was primitive but for us it was almost magical. The people and the animals moved. Mostly they moved back and forth in one spot or their heads went up and down, and we thought it amazing.

That trip was always the best from start to finish. We got to ride a bus and a subway both ways. We saw Santa and the village, and my mother usually bought us a treat like a cone or a soft pretzel.

It was those trips which helped make Boston my all time favorite city. When I got older, high school age, I’d make the trip with my friends. Little had changed. We all still looked out the window and we warned each other to meet at the next stop if we got separated.

Looks like this was longer than I expected!