Dateline: Witch City
May 29, 2008
Ahhhh, greetings from Massachusetts, hon! The plague known as Our Family on the Move is laying waste to lower New England, having landed in Providence, spent a few days in Boston, and now hunkered down in Salem, Mass. We’ve hit the Freedom Trail, the Heritage Trail, and at this point will follow any painted red line on a sidewalk wherever it goes.
The Knitting Situation: Up front, I have to tell you that the knitting this week has been absolutely righteous and insane. I decided at the very last minute to bring the Donegal Fair Isle sweater, figuring maybe I could do a row or two of the thing at some idle moment in an emergency room or Led Zeppelin laser show. Well, whatever doubts about the portability of Fair Isle need to be quashed and quashed anon. The little balls of yarn, the little chart, the little needles–I have been working this thing like a Wampanoag woman cranking baskets. I am full-out OCD at this point.
Hi-Lites (Assume That I Was Working on the Fair Isle Sweater During All of the Following, No Matter How Cumbersome or Inappropriate)
Providence: Begged our way into Al Forno at 10:01 pm, straight from the airport, by claiming that our 12-year-old was graduating from Brown and was leaving to begin his career as a Dominican friar the next day. Felt bad to have lied so shamelessly, but not that bad.
Plymouth Rock: Almost saw Plymouth Rock. We were within ten feet of Plymouth Rock, separated by only a chain-link fence, plywood boards, a scaffold, and a cement mixer. They were renovating Plymouth Rock.
Plimoth Plantation: After spring break’s triumphant visit to Williamsburg and Jamestown, it seemed only fitting that we relive the 1620s, Massachusetts style.
Now, you know how much I love a historical interpreter. If somebody is willing to wear dusty and sagging period-correct clothes, and talk in a peculiar and and semi-British-sounding way, I am absolutely going to buy into his fantasy. I am IN. If a guy is going to stand there with a large black ox in an expectant sort of way, I am going to rack my brain to think of a question to ask him about how that ox made it across on the damn Mayflower.
For those shopping around for the right historical village, Plimoth Plantation really kicks Jamestown Settlement’s butt when it came to livestock. When a non-animatronic chicken came out from under a lumpy-bemattressed hand-hewn bed, I was impressed. Strong work, that chicken.
Swan Boats: Saw a batch of ducklings at the Boston Public Garden that may or may not have been animatronic. I mean: people are expecting to see ducklings, right? These ducklings were stuck off in the bushes on the island, kind of shadylike. Not totally persuaded we saw actual living ducks.
Freedom Trail: Kept singing that George Michael song which wasn’t really such a colonial type song, now that I’m listening to it. But if anybody’s about freedom, it’s that George Michael guy. We’d covered maybe a quarter mile of Freedom Trail, then veered off to lunch in the North End, before we made it to the USS Constitution.
Trying to explain to an eight-year-old about why some places are unskateable is like trying to explain to Paul Revere that you don’t really need sixteen children.
Paul Revere House: Speaking of silversmith/war heroes . . . Filling a never-ending need to see putty-colored houses. Sixteen children, he had. Personally responsible for filling the revolutionary army with his own offspring.
Led Zeppelin Laser Show: The fellas are all into Led Zeppelin these days, thanks to Guitar Hero. (Thanks a lot, Guitar Hero.) I got so bored that I started taking pictures of the laser show.
MIT Museum: Ah, you’ve never been? Well, I’ll give you a free visit right this minute, to the single coolest thing we have seen on this trip: Arthur Ganson’s brilliantly witty and ingenious sculptures. Every single one of those little movies is worth seeing. I have never laughed at a sculpture before.
North Shore Medical Center Emergency Room: No, it wasn’t broken, but yes, the fella’s right thumb will be out of commission for a while. Car door: 1. Thumb: not a great day for the thumb.
So much more: Duck boat tour, a visit to Woolcott & Co., a tasty yarn shop in Harvard Square. Wandered around Cambridge, concerned about the extreme youth of everyone. I seem to recall standing on the shore of Walden Pond, seeing Gropius House, the Harvard Lampoon, a guy juggling knives in Harvard Square, or was I hallucinating?
We’re not done yet, missy. More putty-colored houses to come. And, if we can stop slamming our thumbs in car doors, I’m hoping for a visit with Moth Heaven Julia. Wish you were here?