Tag Archive for: Hawthorne

Literary Boston

by Paula Gail Benson

going to follow in the footsteps of my blogging partner Dru Ann Love and write
about my experiences on a recent trip to Boston. It’s a city I’ve always found
captivating in books.

I was young, I read Esther Forbes’ Johnny
and was enthralled by the young apprentice studying Paul Revere’s
workmanship. Later, I discovered Robert B. Parker’s Boston-based, single-named
detective, Spenser, through a television series. I avidly read Linda Barnes’ mysteries
featuring cabbie and sometimes investigator Carlotta Carlyle. Not to mention
Hank Phillippi Ryan’s novels about Boston investigative reporter Charlotte
McNally and her Jane Ryland thrillers; some of Toni L.P. Kelner’s Laura Fleming
series; and Dana Cameron’s Anna Hoyt stories that take place in colonial Boston.

Boston’s Public Garden, a line of bronze ducks represent the characters from
Robert McClosky’s Make Way for Ducklings.
A plaque explains that the story made the Garden familiar to children
around the world and I have read that the ducks’ bronze surfaces never need to
be shined because so many little bottoms come to sit on them.

Emerson House in Concord

up, I found Boston’s neighboring town of Concord fascinating for its collection
of literary figures. In high school, I read about the three Peabody sisters:
Elizabeth, an educator and book store operator, who introduced her sisters to
their famous husbands (artist Sophia married Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mary
became Horace Mann’s wife). Ralph Waldo Emerson lived in Boston and Concord,
and Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord and wrote of its local Walden Pond.

far as I was concerned, the most famous Concord resident was Louisa May Alcott,
whose Little Women had been a
constant companion for me and seen me through good times and bad.

was extremely fortunate to find a tour that went to Lexington and Concord,
showing us not only the Revolutionary War significant sites, but also the homes
of Emerson, Hawthorne (Wayside Inn), and Alcott (Orchard House).

Orchard House

Orchard House, made even more real Meg’s garden wedding and the attic where Jo
wrote her novels. Yes, this was the place where the four March girls grew to
become Little Women, and I rejoiced in seeing a spot that had so long filled my

our tour guide was experienced enough to make a story of the journey. He traced
the route that Paul Revere had taken, showing us the monument at the place
where Revere was captured, and even pointing out the house that belonged to the
Merriam family (of Merriam Webster fame).
Revere Monument near Concord

I also
learned also that a large portion of modern day Boston was created by years of
immigrants (many of them Irish) working to fill in habitable land around the
harbor. The hotel where I stayed was in the Back Bay. I thought the name
unique, but quickly learned it was used to describe many of the area’s buildings.
An Amazon search led me to discover a William Martin novel titled Back Bay, which traces the history, and
is now on my reading list.

the most invigorating thing I discovered about Boston was the
pride in the sense of history so clearly exhibited among its inhabitants.
Everywhere I went, from Fenway Park to the TD Garden to the harbor to the
theatre district, people told stories about the past and pointed to monuments
that commemorated important persons and events. The city was vibrant with
memories of the past and hopes for the future.

I walked near the end
of the Boston Marathon course and thought of the bombing victims. May we all continue
to hear and tell the stories of Boston and to remain “Boston Strong.”