When in Boston, Make Way for Ducklings and Savor the Chowdah

With special thanks to Slice of Life for giving writers inspiration, space, and voice

Slice of Life Day 16 of 31: Journeys (my March theme)

Boston

Boston, Massachusetts holds special memories for me. When my grandmother Haynes died in 2003, she left each of her grandchildren a small inheritance. I’d been planning to get my Master’s Degree, so I invested mine in furthering my education – something that never depreciates and would have made my grandmother proud (and it also can’t be split 50/50 in the event of divorce, which happened in my first marriage). I explored a fast-track program called the National Institute of Teaching Excellence (NITE) at Cambridge College in Boston. I applied, was accepted, and registered to attend in the summer of 2005, where I’d spend six weeks in the city studying during the week and exploring on weekends. I’d been there once before, in 1998, for a long weekend to see the fall leaves and take our youngest daughter to visit the Boston Science Museum. She climbed up and down the musical chiming stairs in the museum with such joy!

The City View Hop On/Hop Off Trolley is a great way to get around Boston!

We’d walked the Freedom Trail and stopped by the Boston Public Garden to see the Make Way for Ducklings statues based on the book by Robert McCloskey. I’ve seen on the news this week that someone knitted a yellow and blue sweater and placed it on a duckling to show support for Ukraine, but for me it carries more than a show of support for Ukraine – that sweater on a duckling is a sobering reminder that there are children involved in this crisis. Children through the years have lined up to climb on the backs of the ducklings one by one, Leapfrog-style, until they get to the to the mother duck at the front; then, they run back and get in line to leap to the front all over again.

Ansley on a duckling statue, Boston, MA- October 1998
Make Way for Ducklings Statue in Boston, MA – March 2022
Faneuil Hall is a crowd favorite for live soapbox entertainment and shopping

I fell in love with the New England Aquarium, where Sy Montgomery conducted her research for her book The Soul of an Octopus. As I turned each page of the book, I reflected on my time in the aquarium and envisioned the events unfolding with Athena and Octavia and all the other octopuses and their antics. I could spend weeks more in Boston and never get enough of the city, from the USS Constitution to Boston Harbor to Old North Church and the Paul Revere Museum. I love it even more than Manhattan because of its unique history and the ease of getting around.

New England Clam Chowder

If the experiences and places of travel create the memories, then the specialty food of a place adds a dimension of richness of the cultural experience. Even though my October 2021 trip to Boston didn’t allow more time than one loop on the Hop On/Hop Off Trolley for a refresher glimpse of the city, I didn’t miss the opportunity to hop off and eat my favorite Boston meal. I ordered a bowl of New England Clam Chowder in a pub near Faneuil Hall and savored every bite of my chowdah – something I enjoy whether it’s hot or cold weather whenever I’m visiting Boston!

Psalm 107:9 

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

5 Replies to “When in Boston, Make Way for Ducklings and Savor the Chowdah”

  1. I bet you could write a slice about each of those things, diving into the small moment when you encountered the duck or experienced the chowder. I love the book Soul of an Octopus and imagined my home aquarium, as that is where I have experience. How cool that you could picture where it was actually set.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim, my husband and I have been to Boston and it’s one of our favorite places. He’s a history buff…while he was on Revolution overload, I was intrigued by the grave of Mother Goose and the site of the oldest public school in America (Boston Latin School, 1653 – for males only). Chowder – oh my gosh, we got some in a pub near Faneuil Hall, too, served in a bowl made of homemade bread…I ate every blessed crumb; there is none other that compares! I’d go back just for that! What I must do on returning is visit the Aquarium; you know I love Sy Montgomery ❤ Your connecting the duckling and the sweater to children in the Ukraine…little ones suffering…all the suffering and loss weighs heavy on me every day. My church is sending donations for relief. One last thing – that you used your inheritance from dear Grandmother Haynes to further your education is a fitting memorial to the legacy of love and support she gave you as long as she lived. When my grandmother died, there wasn't a lot left…but I put the little portion that came to me into a frame for my college diploma and a ring that bears the name of the university, which happens to be the one nearest my grandparents' home and the old dirt road…Granddaddy and Grandma knew I'd returned to college after my children were born but they didn't live to see me finish; I have these direct, tangible, daily reminders of their unending love and support.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is lovely. I have only been once, but you have piqueued my interest again, and I have a brother who teaches at Harvard, so no excuse! I love the sweater-wearing duckling and I love how you chose to invest your inheritance. Smart lady! Quite a beautiful meander through town you have taken us on through this post – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My mom lives in Boston and I grew up nearby, so your loving recount of memories there made me homesick (it has been three years). Your reflection on the duckling sweater “is a sobering reminder that there are children involved in this crisis.” So true.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kim, each journey you’ve taken us on this month has me either reliving memories or planning new ones (San Antonio). We spent time in Boston last October, and while there my MTP mentor was our tour guide at the BPL. She had worked there seven years in cartography. Her husband is a rabbi, and they showed us their synagogue renovations and took us over to see Harvard yard. She keeps trying to get us to move to Boston for my crazy eyes, but I don’t think that’ll happen. I would like to visit again and go to the aquarium. I did not know that book trivia. .

    Liked by 1 person

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