Saturday, May 24, 2014


Dad watching from The Wall

I’ve just returned from a five day trip I took with Mario and my parents to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday.   He was born and raised in Boston and went to Boston College before moving to California, so he still considers it his home town.   Mario will turn 60 in June - so shortly after we arrived home from Africa last year, both he and my Dad decided it would be “a good thing” to go see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park.

It had been ten years since my Dad had been to Boston, when he went back for a couple of days and saw the Red Sox play at Fenway.  For a girl who knows little to nothing about sports, this makes very little sense, but it makes my Dad happy and for that I’m glad.

So they bought tickets first – to see a series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Sox, May 20, 21, 22.  The first two were evening games, the last one was an afternoon match.  Also joining them in the last game was an old college buddy of my Dad’s Paul Buckley (a man who I grew up knowing as the man who sent us postcards from all over the world with one-line salutations: “I found no Ryans here – Paul” “How would you like this view? – Paul”).  So they were happy – a vacation built around seeing the Red Sox play.

My Mom and I were bound and determined to do Boston right – the guys even agreed.  They would do the town with us when they weren’t attending games and actually took part in planning.  Most of the outings were no-brainers: Boston Commons, the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum (Dad had incredible memories of this museum growing up), Boston eateries and shopping areas, riding the trains and buses, and (of course) seeing my father’s original home and neighborhood.  Mom and I even trekked out to Dorchester and had chicken fingers in a real Irish Pub- Peggy O’Neil’s.  There, we sat at the bar and told the locals our story of Dad turning eighty and coming back home to see the Sox (O’Neil’s’ marquis has the Boston Red Sox logo interwoven).  When we told them we were hoping they would win “just for Dad on his birthday”, one of the bar patrons lent us his view:

“Your Dad doesn’t need the Red Sox to win, he just needs to see Fenway!” 

It made my Mom and I agree in sincerity.  That statement was indeed true.

This morning we drove from the San Francisco Airport, reflecting on the trip and how much fun we all had; it was very close to perfect. 

“What was your favorite memory of the whole week?”  I asked my Dad.

He thought awhile and then answered:

“I think it would have to be sitting at the Green Monster and watching batting practice,” he said.  “It wasn’t that great of a view, and the seats weren’t even that comfortable; not as comfortable as the ones we sat in during the game.  But just the legend of the monster and the fact that I got to sit there… that was my favorite part.”
My favorite part was seeing my Dad’s birthplace; his old neighborhood.  I enjoyed seeing Boston College and seeing where he grew up.  I even liked strolling the streets of Brookline and haunting a bookstore there with everyone. 

I missed out on Fenway (purposefully) but my Dad reconnected with the most nostalgic thing about his birthplace: Fenway.  My Dad remembers the Wall (the Green Monster) when it was just a wall.  The Green Monster wasn’t even painted green until 1947; before that it was covered with advertisements. The Monster designation is relatively new, and most Bostonians knew it as “The Wall".  Dad’s memories of the park are filled with senses – the park was involved in every stage of his growing up.  He used to walk to Fenway from Brookline as a child (a feat of note) and later drove there with family and friends.  He left Boston and now California is his home, but Fenway will always hold that quiet place of honor and home in his heart. 

Since a picture says a thousand words , this is a smilebox of our trip.  Enjoy.

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