In July, I was lucky enough to be assigned to teach my favorite class in Boston- a city I’ve always wanted to visit, but had only flown through. I jumped on this opportunity, and invited Alex along for the weekend.
While in class, an old friend dropped by to say “hi.” Surprisingly, he also owns an old home. (Well, given that everything in Boston was apparently built in the 1700’s, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was.) So a funny thing started to happen as we chatted. He had recently sold his “old” old home, and was the process of looking for a new old home. He began to tell us about everything he had done to the old home before he sold it, and of course, he began with the history of the home. It was built in the early 1700’s, and “was older than Paul Revere.” He relayed the story of removing layers of yellow and black paint, and the historic commission validated when that paint was applied and thanked him for returning it to a more representative color. He had remodeled the kitchen, but had not touched the exterior structure, but even that required historical commission approval… oh the joys of old home ownership.
Later that weekend, Alex and I were strolling along the sidewalk, or riding in the hop-on-hop off trolley tour, admiring all the old homes. Each of the homes had lovingly planted a small little flower garden taking advantage of the spring and summer weather while it lasted. As we passed, people would wave. Saturday night, while walking back from the baseball game at Fenway Park, we passed a huge public garden… a literal victory garden… which had been operating since 1942. Bostonians line up for their own little plot of land to tend and grow their own fruits and veggies.
Does anyone else notice a trend here? As much as I’d like to think Bostonians have read my blog, I really don’t think that’s the case. As much as I’d like to think my neighborhood is unique, it really isn’t. Nevertheless, it is special, and so is Boston, as are many other historic neighborhoods. These historical homes, across the country, draw a special kind of person that is passionate about history, and apparently they all behave the same way as we do. The pattern is unmistakable:
- Share the history.
- Allow the history to live on.
- Wave at those who stare.
- Contribute to the beautification of your neighborhood.
- Greet visitors with flowers.
- GYO Victory Gardens
Coincidence? I think not.