Annnnnd we’re in Boston.
No Hiatus, just slipped out of town while I was feeding you Chicago pictures. This is the last of the 2023 Great Journeys, each having its own purpose and character. As you might suspect, this was the reason for our visit.
Got in a day early, ended up taking the T to our digs, which is wife’s sister’s place. They are semi-retiring here, and want to be close to two of their kids, who live around here. I know little about Boston, but have always enjoyed my stays - it seems a not-crazy place. The public transit certainly doesn’t have the disorder of the Minneapolis examples, but that may be due to higher ridership, fare enforcement, and a smaller quantity of drug addicts. I can’t say. It is amusing that the fare card is named after a guy in a song who was trapped on the train forever by an unexpected fare increase.
The entrance to the train station is quite picturesque. Yes, I can see the appeal.
The walk took place at 9, which mean getting up early so we could make the crosstown crawl. I bolted out of bed at 6:50 for the second day in a row, fixed a fine breakfast (I had walked to the Whole Foods the day before, a little bit of the “car free pedestrian-friendly” lifestyle. It was a pain and I should note that everyone was driving and no one was walking) and then Ubered off. We were in the auditorium in time. I counted up all the rows and chairs to get a fix on the number of students being graduated in this batch. Okay, now multiply that by tuition. Assume they might have lowered it a lot for some. Reasonable assessment: the income generated by this accreditation-granting institution was over a hundred million dollars. So the reception ought to have some good stuff. Maybe we’ll even get a copy of the photo they snapped at the moment of degree conferring, and it won’t have a watermark!
Ah, such pride and happiness on her behalf.
Not relief; there wasn’t any doubt. She’s powered though this - did half a semester at home remote during COVID, declined to pay the full boat for another semester, did extra work in the summer to catch up. She was also, of course, exhausted - you know how that last night is. It’s all ending. You have to stay up with your friends. It’s sad, too: you’re instantly removed from a machine that has shaped your life for the last four years. The classes, the culture, the peers, the academic atmosphere, the collegiate identity: it’s done.
It’s over in a trice.
You don’t belong anymore. Oh nonsense of course you do alumni are always welcome Ha ha. No. It was yours once, and that gives you a connection that will always last. But you’re done here. It’s not done with you; you will be dunned for decades for contributions to Dear Old Alma Mater, which needs your help. But you have to go out in the world now. And college is not the world.
The lure, of course, is to find a way to stick around. Work your way out. It’s not a bad idea, but it holds you back. Then again, flinging yourself into another part of the city can be alienating. Best to get a job, stick around, stay with the young people until they seem jejune and impossibly young.
And . . . off she went with friends. Which we encouraged. We had a dinner with roommate and her parents set for the next night, so we went back to the house and wandered to the park and caught . . . yes, you’re absolutely right, a Klezmer concert complete with dancing. (Did not dance.) Found a new Indian restaurant - I tell you, every since moment of this trip consisted of bleeding the credit card white, although it’s already white so there’s that. It’s so ridiculously expensive out there. The patisserie around the corner had become famous for its luxurious croissants - ten dollars - and we were told there was an hour-long wait in the morning, a line out the door and around the block (there was) because it had GONE VIRAL.
Bed at 10:30, which I never do, and up again at 6:50 AM. Well then. Wrote a column that’s due tomorrow, then we joined up at the marvelous art gallery, one of my favorite places. Again, the T - very easy, riding the train through leavy exurbs until you get to the underground part, which is dusty and decrepit and needs a makeover. We’ll get to the museum later this week. Evening in town at the Salty Pig with the very interesting parents roommate, delightful people; dad taught economics for architecture at Hahvahd, so we geeked out on that, daughter majored in film editing so we geeked out on that.
Up the next day to clean the house, T to Caffe Nero to meet up with daughter for the last time. Nero has been a mainstay of sorts in our lives since we first discovered in London, so this was fitting. Happy hugs and she went off to the group graduation, the mortarboard flinging, while we jostled along underground and underwater until hello, airport. Plenty of time. Up and into the blue again.
A tremendous time, capped off by ecstatic dog when I picked him up at the Giant Swede’s. Drove home listening to a joyous piece of music from the Pat Matheny Group (I spent the entire plane trip listening to them) and feeling a great satisfaction, a solid ending, a finality, a immense emotion of letting go and feeling it all evaporate in the late spring evening.
The early years of TV pillaged the storehouse of radio for ready-made shows. The audiences knew the characters or the concept; surely they would love to see them on the screen. What’s interesting is how few seemed to flourish. We remember the standouts - Dragnet, Gunsmoke - but so many popular shows stumbled or faded fast, or were rejected out of hand. It’s as if people didn’t want to see the characters, because they wouldn’t match up to their own ideas. Or the shows proved to be something best absorbed while doing something else - cleaning, knitting, sorting, polishing the silverware. If you had to look at it, you might get impatient, or bored.
Gildersleeve lasted one season, spread over a few years. Duffy’s Tavern had one season. Lum & Abner never made it past the pilot.
Then there’s . . . Mr. D.
I don’t know why they called it that. It lasted four seasons, which was pretty good. It had a nice noirish open:
Mr. D, of course, was Richard Diamond, a radio PI played by Dick Powell, written by Blake Edwards. It’s a great show. They turned it into something else. (Apparently it was renamed for its syndication run.)
Diamond no longer occupied a low-rent, cloistered office, but now operated from a modern, beautifully appointed ranch house—complete with pool—in the Hollywood Hills. With panoramic sliding glass doors providing views of the mountains and the city, his sunken living room featured a bar and a loveseat, where he could be found many evenings entertaining young women before a fire. Following the lead of the Sunset Strip private eyes, he also drove a convertible—in this case a 1959 DeSoto Fireflite. The Hefner-like fantasy was enhanced by gadgets, especially Diamond's car phone, which connected him directly to an answering service overseen by the shapely, enigmatic “Sam.”
Sam was played by Mary Tyler Moore’s legs.
Lots of guest stars people would recognize today:
Or maybe not. Good-natured dumb-lug crook, or cruel thug? It's usually one or the other.
But little survives, and having seen one, that’s not a great loss.
That'll do! Some matchbooks await your perusal.