Revisiting a city where you’ve spent a lot of time is always a strange experience. On the one hand, you immediately notice how it’s changed, all the new construction and the lack of familiar faces. It doesn’t seem like the city you knew, and you realize it is no longer yours, that life here has gone on without you and that it now belongs to a whole new generation of people. But then you start to see beyond that, and you’re surprised by how many things you knew still remain.
I lived in the Boston area for six years, leaving in 1980, and I hadn’t been back since 1997. I’ve gotten used to western cities, where everything is new, and to New York, where change is more rapid and extreme. Boston has many new things (more on this in a later post), but all the old streets and places felt very familiar – I didn’t need a map, I always knew what would be around the next corner. This is the first place we’ve visited on this trip where I had lived, and it was strange to be in these old places with Greta, who belongs to a very different part of my life.
Beacon Hill, the pleasure of a quiet, Federalist neighborhood in the center of the city.
The newer houses on Pinckney looked very good – as the rules were relaxed and architects had some fun.
Greta has remarkably little interest in conventional history, and we intersected with the Freedom Trail once in a while rather than following it.
And then there are many parts of the city which are not really that old, but they were there when you were, so they too are bathed in the glow of memory.