Boston History: Mayor Kevin White & My Father

Boston Mayor Kevin White
Left to right: Barbara Christopher (8th grade), Boston Mayor Kevin White, Mrs. Gardner, Dallos Perry (8th grade), Thomas Johnson. (February 4, 1971)

Last week, while looking through photos at my mother’s house, I found this rare gem. A picture from 50 years ago!

Since my father’s passing in 2018, it’s especially nice to find “new to me” old photos of him. And this one is for the history books. He’s with then Boston Mayor Kevin White.

I’m not sure exactly what the occasion was for this photograph, but it must have had something to do with his work as a Boston school teacher. He taught in the Boston Public School system for more than 20 years. Writing found on the back of the picture gives the names and date.

The timing of finding this picture seems especially poignant. Sometimes it feels like overall not much changes in the world. But it does. Step by step.

The week that I found this picture, showing one of Boston’s most influential mayors from last century, Kim Janey made history as the city’s first woman and first Black mayor of Boston. Janey is the 55th mayor and White was the 51st.

And the way it happened was completely unexpected! I remember being so excited when Michelle Wu decided to run for mayor back in September. Then just weeks later, Andrea Campbell put her hat in the mayoral ring. Boston could have a woman of color as mayor!

Then several others decided to run and there’s been speculation about even more. With so many people, it wasn’t as exciting anymore and I was over it. After all, I don’t even live in Boston, so I wouldn’t actually be voting.

But then, out of the blue, President Biden tapped Mayor Walsh for Secretary of Labor. Suddenly, we have a Black woman becoming mayor during Women’s History Month. And the mayoral election had nothing to do with it. Plot twist!

When the time is right, change happens in ways we can never imagine. Like the way the first woman mayor in the United States was elected back in 1887. It was supposed to be a cruel joke — only Susanna Madora Salter won.

My father loved politics and was quite the conversationalist. When a major event happens, I always wonder about conversations we would have had. Which makes me think even more about this picture.

Since the opportunity presented itself, I’m sure my father must have said something to Mayor White. I can only imagine. But on that day back in 1971, Mayor White got the chance to have a conversation with Thomas Johnson. Which is something that I now miss everyday of my life.

An Apple Found Poem

apples inspired a found poem

Last weekend, some friends and I went for a walk around Franklin Park. This park is Boston’s largest open space and the crown jewel of Frederick Law Olmsted‘s Emerald Necklace.

It was a beautiful day and October’s colors were in full effect. One of my friend’s co-workers recently bought a home and was surprised to find that she has an apple orchard. Can you imagine? A surprise apple orchard!

Because now she has too many apples, she’s giving them away to everyone she knows. My friend took some and I was lucky enough to leave our walk with dozens of apples. I stewed some with ground cinnamon, ginger and a touch of honey. I still have about a dozen left and not yet sure what I’ll do with them. Maybe make another Dutch baby? An apple crisp?

In any event, these gorgeous beauties inspired me to write a found poem. Back in 2010, on the first iteration of this blog, I discovered found poetry. I’m forever hooked! I love poetry and writing found poetry is easier than starting from scratch. It’s fun too. Like a word game!

To write a found poem, find some text – a book, magazine article, blog post, etc. As you read it, pull out words to create your poem. Ta da! You wrote a poem.

Below is the found poem I wrote using the article 5 Health Benefits of an Apple from EatingWell.

An Apple Found Poem

Doctor away!

Truth.

Apple-licious ways.

Flesh and skin.

Cooked and baked.

Fresh.

2 apples.

8 weeks.

You benefit.

Reduced risk.

Thanks.

You guessed it – apples.

Slices satisfied people.

Applesauce, apple juice.

Granny Smith, McIntosh, Golden Delicious.

Tops among fruits.

Don’t toss the peel.

Found.

Free Yoga Boston: On The Greenway

Happy Summer! Today is the first full day of summer and I am so here for it! Just in time for me to tell you about my second outdoor free yoga class. The class was to enjoy the light of the full moon.

It was this past Monday, the night of the full strawberry moon that Moonlight Yoga On The Greenway took place. There were maybe 50 or 60 people, so it was a nice sized crowd. But we all still had enough space to stretch out.

The class is part of an outdoor summer series collaboration between Peace in Boston, Black & Blonde (Marlene Boyette and Erin Kay Anderson), The Rose Fitzgerald Greenway, Athleta, with Meghan “Meg” Gaucher.

If you didn’t make it to this class, you have at least a couple of more chances this summer, July 16th and September 14th.

It was more than convenient for me to attend, so I had absolutely no excuse not to go. And it’s easy to talk myself out of going places. It was right after work and outside of South Station, where I would be going anyway to get the train home. Outside of the horror show that is the Red Line,which is another story, I had a very zen evening.

The class was more slow and sitting stretches than standing poses, but that was perfect after a day of work and calmed me down for my commute. I definitely recommend this class if you get a chance to go.

The only downside was that the sky was cloudy, so we couldn’t actually see the full moon, though I think most of us were looking for it. Hopefully the next class will be on a clear night, so you can look up and see that big beautiful bright full moon!

Subway Stories: These MBTA Days

MBTA Sign for JFK/UMass station.

Tuesday morning I got a text from a friend warning me about the Red Line because of a derailment. The T is always a mess and the Green Line had just derailed a few days before. Unfortunately, this has become a regular thing. So I figured more of the same.

Then I looked at Twitter and saw MBTA and Red Line trending, but not just locally in Boston. Nationally. That’s never good.

Because of the Wollaston Station renovation, for more than a year my commute is negatively impacted and each additional situation makes it that much worse. It’s so frustrating that the powers that be, who could change things, don’t seem to care at all.

Each time something happens, they talk about how things are improving and for us to be patient. But they are not taking the train. It’s also dangerous. Is it going to take a mass casualty situation with  multiple people killed and injured for something to really change? I really hope not.

It’s that much more of a slap in the face, when we are told to seek alternate transportation. If we had alternate transportation, we would use it! Now! If parking downtown were more affordable and the traffic were not so bad, I would drive. Every day!

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A Song Is Born

Anyway, yesterday morning I woke up and the theme from All in the Family was in my head for whatever strange reason and I kept humming it.

Then I started thinking about the horrible commute I would soon be facing and the words to the theme songThose Were The Days.

“Someone should switch the words to something about the T,” I thought. Then I started thinking about lyrics. Long story short. I am a writer. However I never thought of myself as a song writer.

But when words start swirling around in my head and I can’t get them out, the best way to stop the chatter is to write them down and do something with them.

So I wrote lyrics for a song called These MBTA Days to the tune of Those Were The Days for my own sanity and amusement. Hope you enjoy them too! 🎶

🎹

Mixed signals you do send.
I hope we don’t have a tragic end.
You make me wait over and over again.
These MBTA days.

Me with an awful hangnail.
So of course you decide to derail.
We could use a leader like Elizabeth Warren who always has a good plan.

Remember the three days the T ran great?
Now I try to contain my rage.
When I get home, I’ll burn some sage.
To wipe away these MBTA days!

🎼

Movie Set Takes Over Boston Street

Picture of a movie set in Boston.

Walking through the Financial District in Boston Friday night was the same as being on a movie set. Because it was being transformed into one.

There were big black and white poster board signs all over pointing to the direction of the set, the location for the extras to wait, and where the trucks were supposed to go.

A Ryan Reynolds movie has been filming in Massachusetts for a few weeks, but it was the first time that I had seen anything related to it.

According to IMDb, “Free Guy” is set to be released next summer. In the movie, according to Wikipedia, Reynolds plays a bank teller who realizes that he is a background character in an open world video game called Free City that will soon go offline.

The plot reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Stranger Than Fiction, where Will Ferrell plays an IRS auditor who realizes that he is a character in a novel. It’s a gem of a film with a killer cast. It’s worth watching if you haven’t seen it and one of a few movies that I can’t watch enough times. It just never gets old.

I took more pictures of the set, but they are too blurry to use. One was a close-up photo of the right side of the street pictured above. A store front had the word “Store” in big letters on top. There was a picture of a blue shark with a lot of teeth looking angry painted to the left, and the words “Loan Shark” to the right. The way the stores and signs were painted, it had the feel of a cartoon.

The set was right near South Station, so after I looked around a bit, I went down to the Red Line and continued on my way home.