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Boston

April 5, 2013

Massachusetts – Saturday, March 30

I’m looking forward to my week in Massachusetts – I was only a couple days away from it last October when my plans abruptly changed because of the hurricane. But now I’m back! And I already have donation ideas. I had made a phone call yesterday to see what I needed to do to make a donation to the USO of New England, which is located on the Coast Guard Base in Boston. The USO is open on Saturdays, and they took my name and told me to go through the checkpoint for the base. I had looked at the map and had a pretty good idea where I was going, but it was still a little confusing with all the tunnels and one-way streets. But I found the Coast Guard Base and the guard let me in after he made a phone call and checked my license and registration. Then I found Building 8, Deck 2 – they say Deck 2 instead of 2nd floor! I met the volunteer who told me that this USO location isn’t as busy as the one at the Logan Airport, so they’re working on getting the word out that the USO is there. But it’s available whenever the troops want to enjoy some of the amenities, and I enjoyed seeing another USO, and talking with her. She gave me a USO calendar which has some fun information in it, including the fact that USO centers are visited more than 8 million times a year by troops and their families – I’m glad I figured out they still exist! She told me it would be okay to just leave my car parked at the Coast Guard Base while I did my walking, since I had a parking pass, and she gave me a city map. So I went and got Tula, and we set off for all of our walking.

The base was located in a really nice place for me to get to some of the places I wanted to see. I started off with a little harbor walk and admired the huge Coast Guard boat, and there were a few sailboats out. It was a beautiful sunny day – still a bit chilly, but the sun felt good, and there were a lot of people out and about. I headed down Hanover Street which was so crowded it was almost hard to walk. Tula was really good in the crowd. I walked past the Old North Church, and wandered through some really old cemeteries, and saw Paul Revere’s and John Hancock’s graves. I eventually ended up down by Faneuil Hall, which was also crowded. I walked through that, and then headed for the Boston Commons, which was established in 1634. It’s a huge park area right in the heart of the city, and it was kind of fun to be walking through a park that people have been enjoying for almost 400 years. Another park, the Public Garden, is connected to the Boston Commons, and we walked through that too. Even though it wasn’t all that warm there were people out sitting on blankets and enjoying picnics. At the far end of both parks, I saw a long avenue with lots of 3-story brick townhouses and lots of trees. I walked a long ways down that avenue, and then headed back. When I looked at the map later, I realized I hadn’t been all that far from Fenway Park! I crossed over to Beacon Street, and walked past the Cheers bar that inspired the TV show, which was one of my favorites back when it was on. Then I re-traced my steps back through Faneuil Hall and down Hanover Street to the Coast Guard base, and Tula and I were both ready for a rest! Once again, Tula got a lot of attention – people seem to like her color. I even heard one guy telling his rambunctious dog that he should behave on a leash like Tula does. And I’m not quite sure how that happened – in her young years, Tula was a terrible leash dog – always pulling and tugging and nearly choking herself. And now she never pulls even though she usually walks in front of me, and she seems to know exactly how long that leash is. And in a crowd she stays right by my leg, so I’m very lucky how that all worked out, even though I don’t quite know how it all happened!

I knew what my donation for tomorrow was going to be, and I wanted to go see if they were open today. That became a little frustrating – again the one way streets messed me up, and the maps all said the road I wanted merged into another one, which it didn’t, and I found myself unwillingly going into tunnels again. But I sorted it all out, and then was kind of glad to get out of the city!

I was going to be spending Easter weekend with my mom’s cousin Harold, and his wife Edie. I had met them only once – a year and a half ago, and when they heard about my journey then, they offered to let me stay with them a few days whenever I got to Massachusetts. Harold knows a lot of family history on my mom’s side, and he was going to pull out scrapbooks of when my grandma was young – his mom was my grandma’s sister. We had my visit worked out for last October and when Hurricane Sandy changed my plans, I had to postpone the visit, which was a disappointment to both of us. But, 5 months later, I was headed to to their place in Berlin – about 40 minutes from Boston. It was a treat to enjoy a homemade chicken dinner, and while Edie went to church for the Easter vigil, Harold and I spent hours looking at old scrapbooks, and I really enjoyed hearing some family stories, and seeing photos of my grandma that I never would have recognized. A special evening indeed 🙂
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