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LAST THOUGHTS ABOUT BOSTON
26 September 2014
I did do a "Today at Logos" set of notes, but I'll save that for tomorrow. I was pretty sleepy today and for a change did not want to work. Fortunately it was another slow day and I kept crappy notes.
But as we traveled around Boston I had a few thoughts that did not make it to the journal, so I'll slap them on here as a P.S.
For one thing, did you know there are more than 100 colleges and universities in the Boston area? Everything from the big prestigious places like Harvard and Boston College to the middle sized Berklee College of Music to small cooking schools and schools where you can learn to be a foreign language interpreter. When you get on public transportation in Boston, most of the cards in the overhead advertising space are for colleges you can attend. Boston is very big on education. I don't have a clue what the reputation of its school system is, but education as a concept is very big.
(Oddly enough we passed by a college called "Wentworth," which caught my eye because it's the name of a dark, dangerous, fearful prison in "Outlander," but it turned out this was a trade school.)
When you get down to Boston's version of Fisherman's Wharf, it's a place where redcoats and rebels work together in harmony to instruct the tourists about the history of the place.
The lowly toothpick first achieved polite societal acceptability here. Human beings have been picking bits of food out of their teeth ever since they learned to use tools, but in the mid-to-late 1800s a guy named Charles Forester, noticing what nice dental hygiene the natives of Brasil had, vowed to make a fortune producing wooden toothpicks so cheaply by machine in this country that he could export them to South America. But since people had been used to making their own toothpicks whenever they needed one, he found it difficult to sell them to Americans.
So he decided to get them into restaurants and he hired Harvard students to go into restaurants, have a lovely dinner, and then demand a toothpick. When told the restaurant didn't have any, they made a ruckus and threatened never to eat there again, so when Forester came by the place a few days later, pedaling his toothpicks, the restaurant would buy some. They were eventually served on silver trays to everyone at the end of their meal. Chewing toothpicks in public soon became fashionable among well-to-do men, and after a while young women began taking up the practice. One Bostonian observed that at lunchtime "nearly every third woman met in the vicinity of Winter and West streets has a toothpick between her lips."
The picture at the left is a display at the Union Oyster House, which tells the history of the toothpick and each of the little sections is filled with toothpicks.
When you buy something from the gift shop at the Union Oyster House, you also get a little package of toothpicks with a brief history of how they happened to have them here.
I wanted to try a lobster roll, since people rave about them so much. I know I prefer crab, but I'm open to new taste sensations. So I was happy to see that they sold lobster rolls at Fenway park when we went to the game the other night. $29.00 for a simple sandwich? I came home having had Dunkin' Donuts, but no lobster roll. No sandwich can be worth that much!
I didn't realize, though that the tollhouse cookie was invented near here. Good old Bostonians!
The list of famous residents and former students of Boston reads like a who's who of paparazzi today and yesteryear. Folks like Ben Affleck, Julia Child, Jack Kerouac, Henry Winkler, Matt LaBlanc, Leonard Nimoy, Barbara Walters, Malcolm X, Jay Leno, Bill O'Reilly, Howard Stern, Robert Reich, and legions more.
The first anti-smoking law was established in Boston in 1632, though we saw more smoking in Boston than we see around here. Guess they let up on policing infractions after a few hundred years.
A yellow traffic light means go faster to get through an intersection before it turns red. I drive Jeri crazy in California actually slowing down for yellow lights. I didn't see a single car that slowed down for a yellow light.
The Boston Public Library is the first publicly supported free municipal library in the world.
The first World Series game was played in Boston in 1903 and the Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5 games to 3. They weren't doing that well Tuesday night!
I love how much a part of life dogs are. From the water for dogs outside many businesses, signs in the window of many establishments saying dogs are welcome, to the community of "friends" Lester has all over the neighborhood.
And in response to a question Jeri posted on Facebook yesterday, it appears that the three women who assured me that "black coffee" came with milk in it were just idiots. REGULAR coffee comes with milk--and sugar. But BLACK coffee is just what I should have ordered.
Bev 1, Dunkin' Donuts zip.
Chat with my mother today.
So where is your next trip?
FRANCE??? (we have discussed this numerous times) What are you doing in France
I tell her.
How long will you be gone?
When do you leave?
and then in the very next breath she says "I may have asked you this before, but -- where is your next trip?
It is also sadly clear that she will never be able to go the hairdresser alone again. They have moved the place, which used to be right next to where my mother worked her puzzles, upstairs and it involves taking the elevator, knowing which direction to turn and then going down two different corridors. There is no way she can remember that, so I will have to take her to all of her hair appointments now. We made an appointment so she can look presentable when I take her to lunch with her old friends in Marin County next week and when we left the salon, she turned to me and said "If you were to leave me here right now, I wouldn't know how to find my apartment." She didn't realize she was on the second floor and when the elevator came, she started to push the button for the third floor.
I also realized that with the new remodel of the place, they have moved the puzzle
table and she will never be able to find it again, so doing puzzles is probably going to
end. It has been her only activity outside of meals at Atria.
Photo of the Day
Day 87: This is what I woke up to this morning....the first
rain in MONTHS.
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