“Because my heart will always be in Boston.” That’s how I answer the question, “How could you still have such a strong Boston accent after all these years?
It is a city that holds memories of the people, past and present, whom I hold most dear. It is a city filled with familiar places, reminders of happy activities. It is the city of my childhood and youth. It is my favorite place to visit now.
I was born in Boston and lived there, a stone’s throw from the State House, until I was nearly 4, the Boston Common and Public Garden my playground, the Swan Boats my magic transport.
After moving to Medford, less than 5 miles away, we continued to go to the pediatrician, the dentist, and the eye doctor in Boston. Until I was 12, we also went to church in Boston. By the time I was 10, I sometimes went in to church on the MTA by myself, changing from the trolley to the subway car in Sullivan Square. Can you even imagine that today?
Most of my clothes came from Filene’s Basement, and my wedding gown from the upstairs store. When I was a senior in high school, I worked in Filene’s on Saturdays and two nights a week. The summer after my freshman year in college, I was on the Filene’s College Board, supposedly advising girls who were college-bound on their wardrobes.
I even went to the movies in Boston, seeing two of my favorites there: “Imitation of Life” and an anniversary reissue of “Gone with the Wind” that included a serving of anniversary cake.
Then there were the concerts in Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, and at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as well as art exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Of course there’s the Boston food: from memories of years past – a hot dog and root beer at Neisner’s for 20 cents, Gilchrest macaroons, Jordan’s blueberry muffins, Filene’s chicken pie, and Marliave’s – to the more recent Legal’s fried clams, with bellies, of course, and a lobster popover at Town on Boylston Street.
At the old Boston Garden I went to the Ice Capades, the Ice Follies, a Barnum and Bailey Circus, a Gene Autry Rodeo, and a Billy Graham Revival Service. Several years ago I returned for a Tim McGraw/ Faith Hill concert. They’ve put in new seats and given it a new name, but it’s still the Boston Garden, just a different name.
And let’s not forget Fenway Park. Through sheer luck, the first game I attended there, the pitcher was someone I knew from high school: Bill Monbouquette.
The last four years I taught in NJ, during the month of July, I rented an apartment in Boston, on Marlborough Street, just two blocks over and one block down from the bombing site. During those months I wandered Boston from end to end. I took advantage of every book reading, walking tour, and outside performance. I spent hours on Boylston Street in the blocks between Clarendon and Exeter. Perhaps one of the most memorable of the experiences was taking part in the weekly folk dancing, under the stars, in Copley Square.
So… about that accent. Last week I was participating in a Quiz Bowl at Hanover High. The question was, “Who created the plan for European Recovery after WWII?” Buzzing in I said “Mah – shall.” “Who did you say?” asked the quiz master. With difficulty I re-phrased my answer: “MaR -shall.” “Where are YOU from,” asked the quiz master in a less than kind manner. Raising my fist in the air I said proudly, “Boston Strong.” The kids cheered.
© Dorothy C. Judd
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