This story takes place in Boston, known to its citizens as Bawstun.
My family and I spent the weekend visiting Boston, the so-called cradle of liberty, to celebrate my cousin Olivia’s high school graduation (congratulations Olivia) and to find out why it’s called that. With this being a family function and a graduation, I had to be a little bit more demure. I don’t think that anyone can accuse me of being buttoned up in my day to day life, but now it was time to bust out the professional pants.
After arriving at my aunt and uncle’s new apartment on the Mystic River, we all got dressed for her dinner party, which was held in the private room of an Italian restaurant, called Lucia Ristorante in the historic North End. It was time to whip out my blue jumpsuit.
It was the type of party where they place several meals on the table throughout the night and you help yourself, so I gorged on pasta and cosmopolitans the entire night, while fantastic music played. This meant two things: that I did not have to order my meal in Italian, like my brother wanted me to, because there was no ordering, and that regardless of situation and degree of inebriation, it’s impossible not to listen to Stevie Wonder and feel happy.
We went back to their place where I watched a sports game on TV, which I promptly misidentified as lacrosse and not hockey, with complete confidence. Next up was Olivia’s graduation. It was time black and white floor length sundress time. It also meant that my aunt was stretching herself thin and needing oxygen pumped into her as she saved seats for all of us on the bleachers. The event consisted of food for thought grad speeches and hundreds of names being called, all well recognizing the difficulties that the class of 2021 had to endure.
Saturday we took in the sights of downtown Boston. My aunt, my uncle, my brother and his girlfriend, my other aunt, my father, my mother, my uncle’s sister, mother, and stepfather, and his sister’s baby all went into the city.
We started at The Black Rose, a classic Irish bar, where we were served by a bartender from Dublin.
Some sport game I’d literally never heard of before played in the background, with throngs of people in the stadium- a replay from 2019, when such things were allowed. The important thing is that it wasn’t lacrosse or hockey. Jerome, “Rome” to his peers, who is the first pandemic baby I’ve ever met, accompanied us into the bar. We received no dirty looks and he ate a bunch of french fries.
Walking down the street, I made a spiritual visit to their local Kate Spade store and proceeded to get one of their laptop bags. God bless.
Further down the street was lunch at the all-American restaurant “Union Oyster House,” which happens to be the oldest restaurant in the entire country.
We walked through the Holocaust Memorial, because not every part of a trip should be fun. Some parts should be somber and reflective. Then we crossed the street to the oldest working bar in the United States, Bell in Hand Tavern, where every visitor is encouraged to drink their Bell in Hand specialty beer, invented by the Samuel Adams Beer Company.
Following that, we closed out our adventure by laying out on the grass like it was Haight-Ashbury, in the green space in the middle of the city. Nearby kids, including Rome, played in the fountains to beat the heat of the current North Eastern heat wave.
We then had to work outside in the heat after day-drinking to set up for Olivia’s outdoor graduation party, which went about as well as it sounds. In case you’re wondering what it’s like when sisters get together to set up for a party, just know that my mom at one point threatened to cut off my aunt’s bun with her scissors.
Then the party ensued, catered by a local Greek restaurant. An outdoor tent party meant a pair of cigarette pants with a striped navy t-shirt and sun earrings, making it just the right combination of Audrey Hepburn and J Crew. A tent in their backyard has been their MO for grad parties, having done the same two years prior for my other cousin. It was quite the shindig, even when it rained.
I can’t recall how much baklava I ate, but close to half the tray would be a conservative amount. My weekend had tiramisu, cannoli, lemon mascarpone, baklava, pesto tortellini, penne alla vodka, chicken parm, risotto, spicy feta, and tzatziki and while it’ll take me weeks to walk all that off, I loved every minute of it.
The Tragic Queen,