Friday, May 05, 2006

Boston




I had to go to Andover, MA for a work meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Given that I had never been to Boston before, I decided to leave a day early and spend Monday looking around one of our nation's oldest cities.

It was a pretty good day for sightseeing. The sky was clear and the sun was out. A strong breeze was blowing off the ocean, which made for cooler day. I woke up early, around six or so, and drove the rental car from Andover to Boston. I found a parking lot in the theater district a block from Boston Commons and started my tour from there.

I made my way to a Starbucks on campus of Emerson College (where Jay Leno went) for breakfast (as long as Starbucks in around I'm never far from home) and then onto the Boston Common, a city park that was orginally set aside for cattle grazing in the 1600's (it used to be part of the shoreline!). It was here where the British troops camped the night of April 18, in the morning they set sail across the river and onto Lexington where the shot that was heard around the world occurred.




After looking through the commons and the public garden I started out on the freedom trail, a red line of paint and sometimes bricks, that moves through downtown to key locations in our nation's history. The most profound stops on the tour are the cemeteries where many of the men and women that were instrumental in our nation's foundation are buried. It was a powerful feeling to be standing over the graves of men of honor and valor, who risked their lives to establish our government and ensure our say in how our lives would be governed...It made me feel sad for our current leadership and the caliber of men who lead us now.



I left the freedom trail and went back toward the commons and the area around the Prudential tower and into the BackBay neighborhood (formerly a marsh/bay but filled in with tons and tons of gravel to make most of the city (the first and largest public works project in the United states whose tradition continues in the big dig).

I made my way to Massachusetts Ave and crossed over the Harvard bridge counting the smoots along the way towards the campus of MIT. I was surprised by MIT, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I found. All the kids looked smart, I could not imagine their SAT scores, but the campus was only on par with our local Jr Colleges (albeit a super nice jr college with kids that are way smarter than yours...)




After MIT, I made my way up the Charles river to the Harvard Campus. Although I am somewhat successful, I have been a decent corporate drone who has managed to come up through the pay ranks and will soon be a lawyer, but within the hallowed walls of our nations oldest and most prestigious school I felt unworthy. Yet, the kids looked just as I had looked, fairly normal I suppose. What took my breath away was that there were so many kids who actually had thought they could go to Harvard, had applied, and were now studying there. I'm not faulting my parents, but they were not college educated and did little to promote higher education or encourage us to stretch ourselves beyond what the teachers asked for, therefore I had not inkling that I could have ever gone to place such as this. I guess there's always enough time to pressure my kids and live vicariously through them, sure they'll live in their own personal hell but one day they'll thank me!!!


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