Monday, June 13, 2011

Memories of Boston and Loon Mountain by Shirley Ann Howard

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Memories Of Boston by Shirley Ann Howard

Pleasant weather beckons young people to the banks of the Charles River like a siren’s song. I’m personally most fond of the Cambridge side since I spent many college days strolling the paths there, while holding hands with my boyfriend who attended MIT. There might have been joggers, bicyclists, and dog-walkers too, but we focused mostly on us. As we envisioned a sublime future—so easily induced by fluid white sails, the cadence of rowers, and the clang of halyards—stress of the next Physics exam or James Joyce paper soon vanished like the vapor of billowy cotton clouds in the distance.

Of course springtime in Boston also meant final exams, so the next nice day sent us further up-river where a wide expanse of flat lawn tempted us to spread a blanket and open our books. The theory was good, but the practice, impractical. Two twenty-year-olds, clad in shorts and skimpy tops—lying close enough to touch, to steal a kiss in the sun—soon stopped their studying and commenced dreaming once more.

And planning… planning to cross the Longfellow Bridge to the Boston side. In those days Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops on summer evenings at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, and the concerts attracted only a small crowd of music lovers, music students—or in our case—student lovers. The only fireworks I remember were the ones we created.

Not long ago we strolled these banks with our grown son when he came to Boston for business at the Museum of Science. By some mystery of time the red brick of Back Bay blended beautifully with steel and glass high-rises as if they’d grown from one another. A flood of memories pierced me like Cupid’s arrow when I glanced across the river at MIT’s Great Dome. The winter wind cutting across the water allowed me to explain my misty eyes, and I was able to divert my family’s attention by suggesting we go for pizza at Simeone’s in Central Square. But alas, it had burned and was never rebuilt.

Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville are the haunts of Sandy and Lenny as they search for self and love in TALES OUT OF SCHOOL and TALES OUT OF COLLEGE. I consider the settings as important and meaningful as any of the characters and hope you do also.

Loon Mountain by Shirley Ann Howard

Loon Mountain captures visitors with its majesty throughout the year. In summer, the whoosh of the gondola whips you to the summit in five minutes where the scent of pine greets you before you even see the cones nestled in clusters in the trees. The crisp air at 3000 feet fills your lungs like a helium balloon. An easy 360° walk treats you to views of hazy Twin Peaks, snow-capped Mount Washington, and all the sky, treetops, and horizon your hungry soul can absorb.

The winter is even more exhilarating. After hopping off the same gondola, the cold bites your cheeks, but the sun—close enough to touch—quickly warms the excited blood surging through your veins. The snap of skis in bindings is the signal to turn your tips downward. You dig in your edges and slice through perfect powder or a patch of ice—it is, after all, New England. A flurry of color—parkas, hats of all kinds even animals, huge mittens, and cool graphics on skis and snowboards—bombard the senses in a moving collage toward the base lodge. Warm chowder or chili, coffee and hot toddies await.

Some years New England cooperates and floods this glorious region with autumnal color. A ride up the tram at nearby Cannon Mountain now attracts tourists from Europe, as well as locals and other Americans cruising in RVs. Gliding on a cable up the side of a rocky cliff, you marvel at Mount Lafayette as nature puts on a light show of maples, elms, and chestnut trees blazing bright crimson, copper, and maize. The play of sun and shadow within the rolling summits makes human concerns seem minor. Only the promise of twin Maine lobsters at The Chalet in North Woodstock can convince you to come back to earth. 

In TALES OUT OF SCHOOL, TALES OUT OF COLLEGE, and TALES FROM HOME Sandy and Lenny seek out the White Mountains for weekend escapes. Their adventures north serve as bonding experiences and seal their love.

Shirley Ann Howard
Tales Out Of School
Tales Out Of College
Tales From Home


Penny Watson said...

Shirley, thanks so much for these posts. I love meandering around Boston, especially Cambridge. And Loon Mountain sounds wonderful....although I think I would be snuggled up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate instead of skiing! :^)

Nina Pierce said...

What lovely descriptions, Shirley. I haven't seen that part of Boston. Thanks so much for sharing.

Susan said...

I love that name -- Loon Mountain. Such a pretty place.

Blodeuedd said...

Ohhhhh look at those mountains :D I sadly live in flat land, so flat

Unknown said...

I'm learning more about Boston that I'd like to visit this summer. :)

Jennifer Mathis said...

I always wanted to go to boston but my one chance of a vacation there I came down with the flu and had to cancel

Natascha said...

I am receiving quite an education on Boston today.

Annette Blair said...

These posts are wonderful, Penelope. Great job getting it together.

Kym said...

I havent been to that part of Boston, and I just love the Mts. I grew up in PA and Mts are just part me :)

Penelope, I beleive you mentioned you lived in Pittsburgh, I too grew up in that area. I go back each summer :)

Penny Watson said...

Hi Kym! What part of Pittsburgh? Another blogger from Da Burg! I also see you like reading and gardening, two of my favorite hobbies. Welcome!

Di said...

That snow on the mountain is looking real good on these hot summer days!
Fingers crossed for print books - I'm not e-enabled yet.

sallans d at yahoo dot com

donnas said...

What a stunning picture of the mountains. Thanks for sharing!! Someday I hope to see it first hand.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Penny Watson said...

The contest is now closed. Winners announced soon!