Saturday, May 14, 2011

Boston & Cambridge

Note to my Mom & Dad: Please feel free to correct the historical errors in what you are about to read.

My parents graduated from high school in rural Idaho.  They were both local superstars: my mom for her perfect grades, editorship of the school newspaper, and leading roles in most of the plays.  My dad was captain of the football team, a baseball and track star, and senior class president.  My dad went to the school guidance counselor for advice on selecting a college.  He had pretty good grades and standardized test scores, and loads of extra curricular activities and leadership experience.  The counselor suggested he apply to some Ivy League schools since they typically try to get students from every state, and the competition in Idaho was not that stiff.  So he applied to two schools: Harvard and Yale.  I'm not sure if he got into Yale, but Harvard offered him a full tuition scholarship.  His family was so poor, in fact, that Harvard paid for his room and board, books, and even the airplane tickets to get to school and back.

He spent one year at Harvard, and then served a mission for the church in France for two years.  He returned to Harvard, and over Christmas break that year, proposed to his high school sweetheart, my mom, who was in her senior year at BYU.  That next summer, after my mom graduated, they got married in Utah and then made their way back to Cambridge for my dad's third year of school.  They were Potato Newlyweds in Massachusetts! 

After finishing his bachelor's degree, my father stayed on at Harvard for four more years of medical school.  During this time my brother and I were born in Boston, and my mom completed a master's degree in Education, also at Harvard.  After medical school, our family moved to Connecticut for my dad to complete his medical training, where two more brothers were born.  His first job was in California (Bay Area), but he left a year later for a position in Idaho to be closer to his widowed mother.  My sister, therefore, the baby of the family, was born in Idaho.

Shauri & James' wedding this past weekend gave our family an excuse to visit Boston & Cambridge together.  I have only been back once since we moved, and the rest of my family hasn't been back ever. On Thursday the four oldest siblings got the family history tour of Cambridge, led by mom and dad.  Our tour began in Harvard Yard, where we rendezvoused with one of first freshmen that my parents mentored as dorm parents.  He is now a Pulitzer-prize winning writer and editor for the Boston Globe.  He walked with us over to Greenough Hall, where he first met me, a terrifying baby, and my mom and dad.  My parents had an apartment on the bottom floor of this building, and the freshmen lived on the three floors above them.  I remember this apartment.  We told some stories of when I saved my brother's life, more than once, while my father was supposedly watching us. 

The rest of the morning consisted of walking from place to place, seeing where my parents lived and worked and listening to stories from this period of their lives.  We saw my dad's freshman dorm, the church where I went to preschool, the building where my mom worked--which is now named after her old boss--the corner where she was mugged in broad daylight, the house they lived in as servants until my mother got knocked up and they were kindly dismissed (can't have a pregnant woman serving...). We saw the apartment building where my dad worked as a night watchman, and where they brought me home from the hospital after I was born.  I didn't realize that I had come home from the hospital to this place...I had thought they were already in Greenough House when I was born.  We saw the building where my dad lived his second year at Harvard, before he married my mom.  We couldn't go into any of the buildings, but it was still really fun to see where they had lived and to hear their stories.  It is amazing how magical a place can be when you know that your own family members lived and worked there.


Suzanne said...

Congratulations. That sounds like great fun. Still excited for Shauri and James. Alane says they are a wonderful couple and I'm delighted. YAEY! Love is in the air...cha-cha-cha.

HW said...

Loved the history. It was fun for me to visit Harvard even though the only historical "a-ha" I had was seeing the building I mailed a law school application to half a lifetime ago. was the wedding? There are those of us who like to know what is going on with James and Shauri even though we are only shy admirers from afar.

Rodriguez said...

How fun! I love it when I get to hear about my parents and grandparents like that. :-)

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