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I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin & a best friend. I am a poet, a lawyer & a survivor. I've learned that God will give you a second chance.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston, You're My Home

As you know, I grew up in northeastern Connecticut. If Connecticut has a city that it calls its own, it’s probably Hartford; the capital. We never went into Hartford much. There were a few occasions, and when my Dad got sick he was at the Hartford Hospital. But I never would have called Hartford “my city.”

I moved to Massachusetts in 1982 to attend college. I met my husband there, so I stayed. At the time that we got married, he was attending the University of Lowell (now UMass Lowell), so we stayed. He then started a business and we bought our first home; so we stayed. I have now lived in Massachusetts more than half my life, and certainly much longer than I lived in Connecticut.
Over the years I have gone into Boston for numerous occasions. I’ve been to a Red Sox game, the Garden to see a concert, the Museum of Fine Arts as well as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Boston Science Museum, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Boston Aquarium. I’ve seen the Boston Pops. I’ve been to plays. And I’ve worked in the city.

Kenmore Square, Boston
April 19, 2013

For a number of years my career took me into Boston. When I worked in Brookline, a section of Boston the same way Cambridge or Dorchester are part of Boston, I drove. I learned how to navigate the streets that were once cow paths. It’s really not that hard once you learn the pattern. And you can’t really get lost. Just head east – toward the water – and you are bound to come across a major highway. If not, you’ll eventually get to the bay where you can pick up Route 1A north or south.

After Brookline I worked as a consultant and independent contract employee for a number of Boston colleges and universities. I took the commuter rail into North Station and picked up the Orange Line on the subway. I would then connect to another Line if necessary. I’ve taken the Red Line as far south as Quincy and as far west as Cambridge. I’ve taken the Green Line out to Brookline or to the Science Museum. And I’ve taken the Orange Line up to Bunker Hill and into Dorchester. I’ve walked to Faneuil Hall and through Boston Commons. I’ve been to State Street and Downtown Crossing. The Park Street Church. The Post Office. The Federal Building. I know and love them all. Boston is “my city.”

Yes, I am a transplant. I am not a true Bostonian. I don’t live in Boston and I don’t speak with a funny accent. Well, they would tell you I speak with a funny accent because I don’t sound like them. However, I understand all of the “You know you’re from Boston if . . .” and “You know you live in Massachusetts if . . .” jokes. What makes them funny is that they are all true. I’ve even driven 70 mph in a 55 mph zone and had people pass me. (Just don’t tell my mother). And I know how to correctly pronounce the names of the cities and towns in Massachusetts.
Monday was the running of the Boston Marathon. It ended in horrific tragedy. I had planned to visit a friend at Mass. General Hospital but stayed away simply because there was both the marathon and a Red Sox game that day. The traffic would have been horrible. As it turned out, it was a good thing I did not go in. I talked myself out of visiting Christine on Tuesday because the news reports seemed to indicate that there were blocks still closed due to the investigation. In all honesty, I was shaken and unsure of my own comfort level given the bombings.

Mentally, I kept telling myself that if I give into my fears the terrorists win. I know that. That is what they want. But I couldn’t help thinking about all the times I go into Boston in the course of the year. Do I dare go into the city? What about the upcoming conference I want to attend? Would I ever feel safe going to an event that had thousands of people involved? Despite my self-talk, in hopes of screwing up my courage and not giving into fear, I was scared.

Today is Friday April 19, and I had taken the day off from work for a day in Cambridge and Boston. I had a doctor’s appointment and a few weeks ago I arranged to meet a friend for lunch in Cambridge. We haven’t seen each other in a while and we just happened to both have the day off. It seemed like serendipity. I also planned to visit my friend, Christine at MGH since I would literally drive by that hospital on my way to and from my appointment.
I received a phone call at 6:20 a.m. from my lunch date saying, “Don’t go into Cambridge today.” After speaking with her briefly and promising each other another time I turned to the Internet and learned of the overnight happenings. I have a friend who works at MIT. I have a friend who lives in Watertown. I have a friend who lives in Newton. I have a friend who lives in Allston. And, my friend Christine is still at MGH, which was placed into lockdown. Thankfully, everyone is safe.

Today I am no longer scared. I am angry. When I think about it; profanity courses through my veins. Do the terrorists really think we are going to give into fear? Absolutely not! We are the city that started a revolution. We are tough. We are resilient. We will do what it takes to hunt them down. And if that means putting the city and surrounding neighborhoods into lockdown so our law enforcement agencies can do their jobs, we will comply. Not because we are scared, but because we want to do what is right and let the professionals do their job. We will close the whole city rather than give in. And when all the dust settles, we will be stronger than ever.
Boston, you’re my home.
 

4 comments:

  1. I only lived in Boston two years but they were wonderful. You know how I feel about Boston.

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  2. Heather,

    I can relate to your feelings of fear about going into Boston. I live outside of NYC and after 9/11 stayed away. Finally after about a year I ventured into the city again, but with some butterflies in my stomach to be sure!

    Now once again, I find myself nervous to enter a large area of public access after the Boston incident. Here's how I handle it now: It will be what it will be. If God meant for it to be my time, then so be it. I, too, will not let fear rule my life. For to do so will let 'whoever' is the culprit win. And I will not let that happen!

    Lynn Spiro

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  3. I said to a friend earlier: "When people ask me where I'm from, I don't say NH first. I say New England. We're like a family up here." I love Boston. My husband and I were there on Monday, talking about moving to the city (back to the city for him), and the events of this week have not deterred me. Boston is incredible, and I'm pretty sure we proved that this week!

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