Wednesday, October 5, 2011
a sliver of literary boston
We had a great afternoon-span to fill before returning to the wilds of Minnesota, so we spent that time wandering the great wooden floors of the Old South Meeting House, where Phillis Wheatley stood in statue, ready to greet us.
The exhibits stretched beyond the Boston Tea Party and gave its legacy new contours: censorship, quieted voices. Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner. A few display cases down, Louisa May Alcott and her own family's work.
I asked David if he wanted to stop at the used bookshop down the alley and he asked if this were a rhetorical question. I forget what it's like to be in the company of others who pull toward the printed word. In one display, a signed print of M.C. Escher, which I wish I could have bought for my husband, given as a holiday gift. In another, a gorgeous signed edition (look at that marbled cover! I can appreciate the patient talent in making this design now--) of Virginia Woolf.
My mother grew up in Massachusetts, and her own mother lived there until she eventually settled in Chattanooga (after we moved away, I might add), where my aunt and (new!) aunt live. But until she moved, we'd spend summers there, beach-brushing, as I'd call it, and as I grew older, we added trips to Walden Pond and the Alcott House, Emerson's home as well as Salem and the House of the Seven Gables to our tour. Mine was a charmingly literary childhood, enough to fascinate me, and when I plug in these strictly historical tours into my travels, I get a little thrill. And now my own daughter has entered that fray, coming home with her own books to draw her back to those experiences.