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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Burringham to Boston-My 2003 World Trip-Part 9-USA (Boston)



I’m on American Airlines Flight 1792 Calgary to Chicago. It’s a  Super 80 and packed, but comfortable enough. There’s no food on either of my flights to Boston, so when I get to O’Hare airport I find an excellent food mall and have a lovely Chinese mix. This is as busy as LA was, but at least they’re much more organised here and my transfer went very smoothly. American Airlines flight 1604 Chicago to Boston is less comfortable and three and a half hours later I’m pleased to disembark before deep vein thrombosis sets in.
     Through customs and immigration smoothly and I’m met by Thomas and Agnes Clifford, Aggie is another of Peggy’s sisters. Aggie and Peggy were very close, and kept in touch regularly over the years via letters and telephone and of course the reunions.
           This is my third visit to New England, but the first without Peggy. The last time we were here, was in 1997, accompanied by our twin daughters Sarah and Marie.
The following year 1998 was the second major reunion in Ireland, when all fourteen brothers and sisters got together for the second and last time.

Back:- Phil, Johnny, Peggy, Bridie, Ann, Helen, Tommy, Terry, Eamon and Cha
                                    Front:-Kate, Pat, Marie and Aggie

This was going to be the most poignant part of my trip, both Peggy and Terry were now gone, and wonderful memories, especially our 30th Wedding Anniversary in ’97 would be strong in my mind.
      It’s late night as we leave the airport, so the traffic isn’t too bad. Boston’s traffic can be horrendous at times. Aggie and Thomas had moved house, since ’97,and with their son and daughter in law Chris and Arlene, and two grandchildren Tommy and Leigha had bought a two family house, with Chris and family upstairs and Thomas and Aggie on the ground floor. Its still in the same area of Boston, and I soon recognise a few landmarks. I get the grandkids downstairs room, and as it’s been a long day I’m soon sleeping like a log.
        Tuesday 2nd September. Aggie’s cooked loads of bacon and eggs, so I’m soon well breakfasted. Aggie works part time, Tom since having a stroke has retired from his job with the city council, but occasionally works part time. Aggie’s going to work today so me and Tom head out looking for a cheap hire car for me. Prices seem to have gone up on most things since I was last in the US, and it seemed no different with hire cars. Tom soon comes up with the solution though, Patriot Motors with Irish connections give me a good deal on a Prism Geo Chevy, and I’ve got wheels.
               A lunch time drink with Chris at Ricks bar then back to the house in West Milton St, where I meet up with Annemarie. Besides their son Chris, Tom and Aggie have two daughters AnneMarie and Rosie (RoseMarie). Rosie is living in Dublin, Ireland, AnneMarie lives in an apartment close to the city.
    The last time I saw AnneMarie was when she was working and living in Manhattan. Me, Peggy, the twins and another cousin Sheila (McManus) had watched the sun set and the lights come on from the top of the World Trade Centre. She’s getting over a difficult period in her life, but she’s thinking positive and it’s great to see her.
  Wednesday 3rd September. Drove down to the Arboretum today, lovely views of the city skyline from here. Had lunch at the Tahiti with Chris, nice Chinese chicken chow mein.
Spent a bit of time on Tom’s computer this afternoon. Tom runs a weekly TV show called ‘Ireland on the Move’ on the Boston Neighbourhood Network (BNN). The biggest ethnic community in Boston are the Irish and so his show tends to be very popular. He’s getting his website’’ up and running, but Tom’s much better behind a video camera than sitting at a computer, and maybe I can help out a bit.
  Evening time and I let Leigha and Tommy tire me out. Are kids getting more active these days, or am I getting past it?
             Thursday 4th September. On a train trip into the city today and I get a good view of the ‘Big Dig’ on the way in. This is one of the biggest civil engineering projects in any city in the States. The Central Artery is a six lane elevated highway into the city, which is going to be replaced by an 8-10 underground expressway. It even has it’s own website on the internet called ‘’. Chris is a foreman/welder on the project.

          This is one of America’s oldest cities, and I do the tourist trail taking in Boston Common, Beacon Hill and the State House, it rained when I got to the City Hall and I got soaked. Into the shelter of Faneuil Hall where I have a sumptuous chicken pot pie for lunch. A walk round Quincy Market, the wharfs and waterfront doing lots of videoing then I’m over to the Seaport district and the Boston Tea Party ship. America may only have a short history compared to the UK but most of its right here. I could write paragraphs of the sights and sounds I saw in one day, it really is a wonderful city.

   Back home and Aggie’s got the biggest steaks in the world cooking, Annemarie’s joined us for tea.
             Friday 5th September. I’m having a day out with AnneMarie today. After picking her up at her apartment we head for South Boston.
First stop is the beachside café for coffee and a bite to eat, then onto the historic Castle Island via William J. Day Boulevard. The view is Boston Harbour and Logan international airport, boats and planes together (was that Mel Gibson’s yacht).A really nice walk round and a photo call on the pier amongst the fishermen.
      Me and AnneMarie South Boston                              Boston USA

Back in the car and AnneMarie takes charge of the video camera.  I’m given a running commentary as we head for the dockside. We see ships loading and unloading, police yachts patrolling the harbour, and as we get to the end of the dock the car radio’s playing Otis Reading’s ‘Sittin’ on the dock of the bay’. I stop the car and we sing along taking in the views. Brilliant.
       Back along Drydock Avenue to the Boston Design Centre. This is one amazing building fronted by a headless Rodin statue. It’s 8 stories high, about 6 wide and in excess of half a mile long. It’s a wholesale and retail outlet for the fashionable people of Boston, where you can get designer anything for anything, with names like Urban Archaeology and Clive Christian. If you’ve got the money, get it here ,this is pure opulence. I could have sold my house and with the rest of my life savings put a deposit on one bathroom suite.
  We head back towards Dedham via the more exclusive suburbs and stop for a beer at the ‘Village Manor’ pub. It’s been a very enjoyable outing.
        This evening Tom, myself and AnneMarie are at the Irish Cultural Centre where we sit in on a session of traditional Irish singers and musicians. I was honoured with a couple of Scottish classics.
              Saturday 6th September. Downtown Boston today with Chris. We look round some of the projects he’s involved in. We take a mini tour through Little Italy then an odd Guinness and a game of darts in one of Boston’s many Irish pubs.
    Aggie and Thomas treat me and AnneMarie to a great meal in a lovely restaurant who’s name escapes me(coffee spilt on my diary entry).I really have encountered only kindness and generosity on this trip.

Sunday 7th September. Tom and myself, after a full Irish breakfast in a great café, are at the Irish cultural centre to watch the All Ireland football final on satellite TV, only it’s the wrong week. We stay anyway because there are lots of activities going on and he’ll get some material for his show. We talk to Seamus P. Mulligan the host of a radio show by the name of ‘A feast of Irish Music’. Aggie arrives with Tommy and Leigha and we have a great day.
                                              Tommy Leigha and Friend

We call in at Dempsey’s on the way home where I’m introduced to friends from Cavan and Leitrim .As always good ’Craic’.
         Monday 8th September. I say goodbye to Tom and Aggie (I’ll see them in Connecticut) and set off down Interstate 95.Peggy would have been 61 today.

Thi s post is dedicated to AnneMarie who tragically died on September the 5th 2006.
My most cherished memories of her, are of that fun day travelling around Boston with not a care in the world.

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