IT ALL LINES UP – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday: PATTERNS

I like the patterns formed by nature. Rows of trees all lined up. Rows of matching (identical?) houses. Brownstones in the city.

Bricks and angles on Beacon Hill
Saguaro cacti lined up along the edge of the mountains

Rows of boats in the marina. Ripples of waves near the shore. Palm trees all lined up.

 

 

DITTO IN THE STATEHOUSE – Garry Armstrong

If you are a fan of John Ford’s movies, maybe you remember “Ditto” Boland (actor Edward Brophy), the funny character wearing a Hamburg hat in the “The Last Hurrah.” The real-life Ditto Boland, after the James Michael Curley years, became an elevator operator at the Massachusetts State House. He worked there during the 1970s, which is when I met him.

Our State House reporter had told me about him, “warning” me not to ask Ditto about his past because he’d launch into a long-winded conversation about his storied days with the legendary Boston Mayor James Michael Curley. Okay, I was warned.

The “movie” Ditto

One day, I was the only person on the elevator with Ditto. It was an old elevator that groaned as it slowly went from floor to floor. Ditto said nothing until letting me off.

He smiled and said, “Hi, Mr. Armstrong. I know you’re new to Boston. If ever I can give you any help, just let me know.” That was all he said. Not a single James Michael Curley story.

Ditto did help me. As the new reporter in Boston, he pointed out key political players in the stories I was assigned to cover. Boston is a complicated town — especially politically. If you didn’t know who was who, you could be lost trying to correctly cover political events.

I was nervous when assigned to the State House because I didn’t know the backstories of the various Boston politicos. I felt I couldn’t do adequate justice to these assignments. Ditto and a couple of other old-timers rescued me many times over the years. Eventually, I was able to rescue others, too. One good turn deserves many more.

A few years after our first meeting, I ran into Ditto at “The Capital Dome,” a popular bar on Beacon Hill frequented by politicians, lobbyists, political reporters, and hangers-on. I was sitting in a corner – alone – because I really didn’t know that crowd.

Ditto (movie character) second on the right

Ditto approached, asked if he could join me and I nodded. I found his politeness charming because “polite” didn’t usually work well around the State House. We sat, nursing our drinks for long minutes.

Finally, Ditto told me he liked me because I was “friendly and polite.” I nodded. Then he said, “And, you never asked me about James Michael Curley.”

I laughed, longer and harder than I intended. Ditto just sat there, beaming broadly.

CITYSCAPE: A PHOTO A WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Cityscape/Townscape

I love shooting in town. We used to get into town a lot more often than we do now. Admittedly, we get into Uxbridge often, but there isn’t a lot of Uxbridge to shoot. It’s a very small town and all the towns in the area a small. Boston has a lot to offer, but it’s a long drive with terrible traffic, bad roads, and incredibly expensive parking and we go there only rarely these days.

Schubert Theater, Boston, 2014
Fenway Park 2018

The city has spent literally billions of dollars to redesign the roads. They look better, but the traffic is even worse. They made the roads straighter and one of the worst ones now runs underground so you don’t have to see what a terrible mess it is. But the mess is there and for me, the idea of bumper-to-bumper traffic in an endless tunnel is not an improvement. Just breathing would be traumatic.

Brookline
Parking on the street!

So we stay here in the country. Our city pictures all date from 2016 or earlier. That’s how it will remain. I don’t see the traffic, parking, or distance getting easier, cheaper, or shorter.

On the street
Symphony Hall, Boston

WHICH WAY DOWN AT BOSTON’S WHARF – Marilyn Armstrong

Which Way Challenge: 1-3-2019

Which way is ever so much more complicated when you get involved with ships that have real rigging and masts and stuff. Nothing looks more beautiful on the water than a multi-masted ship … and nothing can be more complicated to find your way around! I’ve heard that submarines are really difficult, but the only submarine I was on was one of those 60-foot long hot dogs they use to look at the fish in the Caribbean. The big ones are for the military — and I’m not one of them!

The wharf is the oldest area of Boston and the one undergoing the most change right now
On the road to Skowhegan. Hi Bette!
A tiny, very old road that actually doesn’t go anywhere, at least not anymore.

TIME FOR THE SHOW! – Marilyn Armstrong

Time for a Show: Square Day in the Theater District

We’ve eaten the big meal. Opened all our gifts. We are stuffed with goodies and wondering if there’s enough room for cheesecake or even a cookie.

Maybe it’s time to do something different.

How about taking in a show? The theater district waits for us and the lights are shining!

Boston’s Theater District at night

BEACON HILL – THE LOST PICTURES – Marilyn Armstrong

I’ve been switching SD cards in my cameras lately. This is to avoid leaving my cameras without a card. I hate getting ready to shoot, then seeing the notice that “there is no memory in the camera.”

So imagine my surprise when I pulled out a card and it had previously unseen pictures from the last time we went shooting on Beacon Hill. And here they are, fresh from May 2015.

Arched doorway
Walking ladies going down the hill

Three views (also three different shots) of the building façade.


And just a couple more:

Another lovely doorway
A wider view of the façade

I love when I find “new” old pictures. I knew they were mine simply because I took a lot of shots of that façade. I loved the old curve of the door and matching curved windows.

Beacon Hill has some truly elegant old houses. An architecture photographers best place to be on a sunny spring day.

ILLUMINATION – THE LIGHT FROM WITHIN – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo A Week Challenge: Lit from Within

The glowing light from within is special. The light in the pumpkin, the light in the teepee. The light within the globe of a lamp or inside the lampshade.

The glow of lights at night in Boston’s theater district
The glow of buildings on the Commons before Christmas
The city glowing at night