Monday, January 08, 2007

The Wider World

My father worked for the Boston Globe in the artist room for 35 years. The artists’ main job was to make ads, but they also were called upon to draw other things: crime scene maps and cartoons, for example. The powers that be at the Globe felt that the artist room contributed a lot to the success of the Globe. For the last twelve years of his working life, Dad was the director of the section. One night the publisher, Mr. Taylor, was showing someone through the plant, and as he introduced Dad to the visitor, he said, “This is the director of the artist room, and he is just about the best in the business.” It was a compliment my dad cherished.

His connection to Boston and to the Globe gave the rest of the family a wider outlook on the world. My mother was a great baseball aficionado, and Dad would bring home tidbits of news and rumors to her. One of the sports writers told him where the catcher Bernie Tibbetts lived, and Dad drove her to Nashua to see his house. He would go into Boston’s Morgan Memorial to buy books for us all. Later, Dad would become one of the best customers of Vic the bookseller. Vic’s peddling rounds included the newspapers in Boston. Eventually our library included thousands of books – religion, philosophy, anthropology, biography, history, poetry.

When it was determined that I needed glasses, I went to a children’s specialist in Boston, and on those trips taken to see various sights: the glass flowers in one of the Harvard museums, the swan boats in the Boston commons, a trip on the el. Dad was the connection to the big city for the whole village, an hour’s drive away. A young neighbor, six foot tall, would drive with him into Boston to go to a tall people’s club. She eventually married one of the members. The student ministers for our small church would ride back and forth with him to Boston University, discussing theology all the way. Anyone wanting tickets to the Red Sox would commission him to buy them. He got several people jobs at the Globe, and they would ride with him.

When Dad arrived back home, he would make himself a lunch, pour a glass of wine, and sit reading for an hour or two. It was the best time of the day for him.

Bill detected that Dad had a slightly different accent from the rest of our family, and we decided it was the Boston influence.


Mr Murray said...

There was a contract I missed out on in Boston - I wanted to be there so much. I'd try all of those things - except the tall persons' club - and have wanted for some time now to spend a winter in Boston. Maybe I should make some more applications to work there.

Nancy Ruth said...

Why don't you try? It is a wonderful city.

Zhoen said...

Hard though. And expensive.

Peter said...

By way of contrast, there is the apocryphal story of media mogul David Susskind, whose mother is said to have brought a group of her friends on a little unofficial tour of the building he owned and worked in.

Flinging open a door wherein several people were busy at typewriters, she proclaimed,

"And this is where my son, David the producer, keeps his writers!"