A lifetime ago my two housemates and my daughter would head to Harvard Square for family night. It was a chance to catch up on the week's activities. Between night classes, working, having my daughter home from where she went to school, and demanding jobs there was always a lot to talk about. We would plan the weekend, which often involved the latest project on the house we were renovating.
I once worked in the Square, and often met my high School friend Mardy at the Blue Parrot. the Casablanca tea room and Passim's
Last night while searching for a parking place, most of what I knew was gone. It was reassuring to see Bartley's burgers and Charlie's kitchen in place. The children's bookstore Curious George remains in business.
Caudillos, a fancy grocery store had scaffolding. I have bought tiny chocolate cups there that I would fill with a chocolate liquor and float in coffee making a fancy moccha drink. The idea of taking some home crossed my mind, but I expect they would be crushed on the trip. It didn't matter. They no longer sell them.
I told Rick about the night we saw a streaker, then another and another, their din dongs barely dangling in the night air. It had to be fraternity stunt.
The Square was plagued with kamikaze bicycles. Few had lights or even reflectors. He commented he thought there should have been rules. I do not try to make sense of a country that allows kids to play with guns but forbids toys in the chocolate Kindereggs as too dangerous.
The T fares are different. They have Charlie cards, a take off of the Kingston trio song from the fifties where Charlie was doomed forever to ride between the streets of Boston.
The Coop beckoned and the only difference was the books on display.
They say you cannot not step into a river twice in the same place. The same is true of a geographical location.
Today we went back in the daylight and roamed the red brick sidewalks, read Kennedy's words at the park near the school, walked to the river and watched the crews practice. We strolled through Harvard yard where students were preparing a dig to look for relics from the Indian College.
I worked on Rick's speech. He does a good Bostonian: "I pahk my day in Hahvahd Yahd." Maybe because we were standing surrounded by the ivy-covered, brick buildings.
I may have dipped my toe in a new river but it was a lovely, lovely river.