There and Back Again by Margot Sullivan

Margot Sullivan is a part-time reader’s advisory and reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column as published in the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin on June 14, 2013.

    For approximately 8 months I used public transportation to travel to hospitals in Boston and Cambridge.  My primary routes involved leaving from Norwood Central via commuter rail and disembarking at Copley Square to then catch the Heath Street trolley green line to Brigham and Women’s or disembarking at South Station to catch the red line trolley to Harvard Square in Cambridge for Spaulding Hospital.  Always held close my “Charlie” card and senior commuter rail pass made traveling into Boston very reasonable and easy.  I began to treat my travels as adventures: observing and listening to people.

 I grew incredibly tired of “noise” everywhere especially cell phone conversations on the streets, in subway cars, in coffee shops, in the bathrooms EVERYWHERE. Conversations were never stopped or interrupted while crossing intersections, getting on trains, elevators, escalators, and meetings. My traveling companion Tina and I were reprimanded twice for not knowing we were on the commuter rail quiet car but we were only trying to catch up and establish the day’s agenda.  The quiet car is very nice! HOW DID WE EVER COMMUNICATE BEFORE CELL PHONES? People have no problem bearing their inner most secrets and problems out in public!  Street musicians often play music which is not pleasant and in the subway stations way too loud.

   I could not believe how nice South Station is as I had not been there for many years.  It was interesting to see people from all over the world gawk in Harvard Yard.  Copley Square is still my favorite Boston destination with my memories of my first library job at the Boston Public Library.  The building is beautiful but all my favorite research departments are gone.  I had a nostalgic walk through the McKim building remembering staff and books.  Believe it or not with no internet we actually functioned and had to have a lot of knowledge at our fingertips in books!  The homeless people and alcoholics in Copley Square saddened me – I wondered what their stories were especially the young people.  Bicycle riders and automobile drivers share equal blame for not following “rules of the road”.  Many bicycle riders and pedestrians in Harvard Square created their own “rules” of the road.

     I heard so many different languages – some I had no clue as to what they were  I met a wonderful group of women from Australia on a two week garden tour – this group decided to go see Harvard Yard. We even talked politics as it was around election time.  The next day they were headed for New York and guess what happened next Hurricane Sandy! I felt so sorry for them knowing they were in the city during that chaotic time. I saw so many many styles of shoes but wondered how some women would be walking 30 years from now. Very high platform sandals, or 5 to 6 spike heels or very long pointed toe styles made my feet twinge just looking at them.  Almost everyday I looked around to see what people were reading. I am pleased to report that the BOOK IS NOT DEAD!  Books, kindles, nooks, cell phones, computers, newspapers, magazines – you name it – all manner of ways to read.  I was pleased to see a fair number of knitters in my travels.

  Boston really has quite a good transit system. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.  You can reach many parts of the city via trolley or bus.  The library has many museum passes for Norwood residents or Norwood business people to use for Boston adventures and anyone can borrow the guidebooks for adults and children.  Log onto our website Norwoodlibrary.org to see our selection of museum passes and you can book ahead online! Or stop in or call us at 781-769-0200. ENJOY BOSTON

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