Bicycling in the 2013 Honk Parade, Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sunday, October 13th,  Paul and I rode bikes to the http://honkfest.org/ Honk Festival  and start of the parade in Davis Square. I rode my Dutch bike, newly decorated for Autumn and Halloween and Paul rode the quadricycle, now with his old hand-pumped air horn which has been down in the basement for years. It sounds like a truck air horn. Paul rode oh-so-slow because his left knee barely bends and he has to keep sliding  his left foot in order to keep his leg straight. On the other side of Harvard Square we rode along the Cambridge Common. A person walking asked if he could have a ride and Paul said yes.Honk1 His name was Jim and he was a sousaphone player with the Dirty Water Brass Band. It would have been a long walk for Jim! Harvard Square is about 1 1/2 miles from Davis Square. honk4honk3Ah…, Paul now had a rider to do the pedaling and they flew down Massachusetts Avenue. He was a real powerhouse! We got to the two parking lots in Davis Square where the parade participants were gathering.

Jim,  the sousaphone player performing with with the Dirty Water Brass Band

Jim, the sousaphone player performing with with the Dirty Water Brass Band

  We paraded with  SCUL pilots, a SCUL friend and our two friends, David and Elissa.

SCUL pilots Danimal, Bad Cat (in hat), & Steve from Artisan's Asylum, where SCUL"s fort (Fort Tyler) is located. Our friends and neighbors, David and Elissa, Scul pilots  Joyride and Bucky.

SCUL pilots Danimal, Bad Cat (in hat), & Steve from Artisan’s Asylum, where SCUL”s fort (Fort Tyler) is located. Our friends and neighbors, David and Elissa, Scul pilots Joyride and Bucky.

SCUL pilots Danimal, Bad Cat (in hat), & Steve from Artisan's Asylum

SCUL pilots Danimal, Bad Cat (in hat), & Steve from Artisan’s Asylum

SCUL pilot Bucky

SCUL pilot Bucky

The Honk parade included street activist bands, groups broadcasting their political message to the world, stilt walkers, flame twirlers (without the fire),  hula hoopers, SCUL and the family cargo bikes & bakfiets bicycling club. We slowly processed down the South-side of Massachusetts Avenue, while large enthusiastic crowds beamed. Cars stuck in traffic on the North-bound side of Massachusetts Avenue cheered and sounded their horns enthusiastically as the parade meandered along and people performed tricks and played their instuments. Along the parade route we circled around the quadricycle which Paul was riding with Steve who had three colorful spikes on the crown of his head. They were perfect parade companions. I was getting a bit dizzy circling round and round for a mile and a half.  In Harvard Square October Fest was happening. Many restaurants had beer gardens, Food vendors and craft vendors plied their wares,  while Street Activist bands performed throughout the Square.  We had a great day! Boy my body was a bit stiff after I got home and had sat for awhile! honk6

honk7

honk8

The meat eating hipsters is a barbeque club.  They grilled hot dogs while they paraded and handed hot dogs, rolls, catsup and mustard out to the crowd! And stick-on mustaches.

honk9honk10honk11

There were two people dispensing catsup and mustard to the crowds while they paraded.

There were two people dispensing catsup and mustard to the crowds while they paraded.

The linkage holding the two hubway bikes together.

This quadricycle was used to pull the hot dog cart. It was made from two hubway bikes.

This quadricycle was used to pull the hot dog cart. It was made from two hubway bikes.

The painting house

The painting house

She was mixing paint for painting the street as they paraded.

Mixing paint for painting the street as they paraded.

honk19honk20

 

honk21

 

 

 

 

 

 

A home-made bakfiets

A home-made bakfiets

honk23

honk24honk25honk26honk28

Our friends, SCUL pilots Three Speed and YT. YT is an ace hula hooper and  performs with a hula hoop troupe. Three Speed was a Honk volunteer. Three Speed and YT bicycled to all 75 public pianos that were installed through out Boston/Cambridge/Sommerville and YT played on each one. Three Speed said, she plays very well.  Would be nice to see a video of their tour.

Our friends, SCUL pilots Three Speed and YT. YT is an ace hula hooper and performs with a hula hoop troupe. Three Speed was a Honk volunteer. Three Speed and YT bicycled to all 75 public pianos that were installed through out Boston/Cambridge/Somerville and YT played on each one. Three Speed said, she plays very well. Would be nice to see a video of their tour.

This family comes from Austerlitz, New York which is near the Massachusetts border about 175 miles from Boston.

This family comes from Austerlitz, New York which is near the Massachusetts border about 175 miles from Boston.

honk75honk33honk34honk35honk36honk37honk77honk39honk49honk48honk61honk60honk59honk58

SCUL pilot Bucky

SCUL pilot Bucky

 

SCUL pilots Danimal, Bad Cat (in hat), & Steve from Artisan's Asylum

SCUL pilots Danimal, Bad Cat (in hat), & Steve from Artisan’s Asylum

 

 

SCUL pilots Danimal, Bad Cat (in hat), & Steve from Artisan's Asylum, where SCUL"s fort (Fort Tyler) is located. Our friends and neighbors, David and Elissa, Scul pilots  Joyride and Bucky.

SCUL pilots Danimal, Bad Cat (in hat), & Steve from Artisan’s Asylum, where SCUL”s fort (Fort Tyler) is located. Our friends and neighbors, David and Elissa, Scul pilots Joyride and Bucky.

honk54honk53honk52honk50honk78honk46

Tibetan girls walked with their families, letting the world know about the plight of the peoples of Tibet.

Tibetan girls walked with their families, letting the world know about the plight of the peoples of Tibet.

honk66honk65honk68honk67honk67

Harvard Square

Harvard Square

 

Harvard Square. By this point I was walking my bike. We were moving very slowly as we approached the finish. I, the SCUL Pilots and SCUL friends had been  circling  round  the quadricycle  the length of the parade for 1 1/2 miles.

Harvard Square. By this point I was walking my bike. We were moving very slowly as we approached the finish. I, the SCUL Pilots and SCUL friends had been circling round the quadricycle the length of the parade for 1 1/2 miles.

honk71

Steve (who oversees the machine shop at http://artisansasylum.com/ and SCUL pilot navigate  the quadricycle, Double Barrel to the finish  line in Harvard Square

Steve (who oversees the machine shop at http://artisansasylum.com/ and SCUL pilot navigate the quadricycle, Double Barrel to the finish line in Harvard Square

Post-script – Three of my photos managed to align themselves right next to one another. It just happened. I kept trying to recreate a collage effect but I finally gave up. I know it can be done and will seek help from someone who knows their way around computers. Thus what you see is not exactly the formatting I wanted but eventually I will get it down and these blogs should be much faster for me to put together.

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

My evening at Boston Symphony Hall

This evening I rode my bicycle to Boston Symphony Hall  to see the Shen Yun Symphony Shenyun poster   I found out about the Shen Yun Orchestra at the Farmers market three weeks ago.  A video of the orchestra   Orchestra.http://symphony.shenyun.com/boston/#video

was being shown at a table at the Farmer’s Market.  It looked good so I bought one of the cheapest tickets.chair with blue jacket The chair with the blue jacket is where I was sitting. It was a great seat!  I enjoyed the performance immensely and being in Boston Symphony Hall is an incredible experience.Boston Symphony Hallorchestra
free tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found out that there are free tours of Symphony Hall which will be something to take an out of town guest to see. There were some interesting concerts coming up.   I really have to take advantage of all the culture here in Boston.

Here is the lit-up vest that I wore riding my bicycle to Symphony Hall. vestlit up vestThe motorists see flashing lights on my back. I really stand out when I wear this! It was so invigorating riding  my bike the three miles in the fresh air there and back.  I saw my friend Ram on his strider bicycle coming home from work while I was on my way to Symphony Hall. I thought about taking the T but I”m glad I chose the bicycle and got to be part of the outdoors riding freely instead of waiting for the trolley and looking down at peoples feet. And I get a seat from the moment I stepped out of Symphony Hall until I pulled up at my door.

I still have some tweaking to do to figure out how to put pictures exactly where I want them. Only a short while ago and I couldn’t even do this.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ethel Weiss Turns 99 & The Little Store That Time Forgot!

Ethel WeissEthel Weiss, the proprietor of Irving’s Toy and card Shop,  just  turned 99 years old! The shop is just doors away from the Edward A. Devotion Elementary School (Kindergarten through eighth grade), an easy walk from our house and close to the J.F.Kennedy birthplace.

outside irvingsShe has run the store since 1939. Prior to that, it had been a grocery store.

window at Irvingsyoyos & marbles

Window toysThank youWise shop hours for a 99 year old woman!candy

Interioractivity books

Thankyou letter for party

celebrated in front of store, Saturday, August, 24th. Wise shop hours for a 99 year old woman!

thoughtsthougts signedHow tochildren learn

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are greeting cards in the back of the shop that look just like the cards that I remember from my childhood. The kind that slide into cellophane envelopes.There are things for sale that have been there since I was a child. Honest to God!

 

 

 

 

Ethel’s own inspirational quotes.

IMG_7075

Update – 2014

And others ….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Telegrams: Congratulations & Bad News

Telegrams were sent to instantly convey messages of congratulations or bad news. In India the last telegram was sent this past July 14, 2013. Some telegram services live on, including an international telegram service that will continue to operate in India even as the state-run service is shutting down. In the US, the last telegram was sent on January, 2006.

These are telegrams that were received by Paul and by myself.

Telegram of congratulationsHis telegram of congratulations was sent upon graduating from high school in 1968.  His father was away at the time.

Rebecca's telegramRebecca's telegram reverse side

 

 

 

My telegram was sent to me in 1969, by my grandfather who lived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I received the telegram in Paris, where I was living in a one room apartment, (our private toilet was down the hall), that I shared with an American friend, Mindy, who was a student at the American College.  Being very sensible, I thought to myself, ‘I had better eat something first, I may not be able to eat later’. After eating, I walked to the post office, went to the teller window and said in my simple French that I would like to make a phone call to Amsterdam. I handed the teller the phone number. He told me which number phone booth to wait in. I sat there in the sound proof booth, waiting for the phone to ring. I answered the phone when it rang and I was connected to my grandfather. He told me the devastating news that my father had died and what arrangements had been made for me to fly to Amsterdam where my grandfather, uncle, aunt and cousins lived. From there I returned to the States.

Telegrams reached their peak popularity in the 1920s and 1930s when it was cheaper to send a telegram than to place a long distance telephone call. People would save money by using the word “stop” instead of periods to end sentences because punctuation was extra while the four character word was free.
February 2, 2006, the associated press reported –  “Telegrams were used to announce the first flight in 1903 and the start of World War I. During World War II, the sight of a Western Union courier was feared because the War Department, the precursor to the Department of Defense, used the company to notify families of the death of their loved ones serving in the military, Chayet said.
With long distance rates dropping and different technologies for communicating evolving — including the internet — Western Union phased out couriers in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
By last year, only 20,000 telegrams were sent at about $10 a message, mostly from companies using the service for formal notifications, Chayet said.
Last week, the last 10 telegrams included birthday wishes, condolences on the death of a loved one, notification of an emergency and several people trying to be the last to send a telegram.
“Recent generations didn’t receive telegrams and didn’t know you could send them,” Chayet said.
Samuel Morse, inventor of the Morse code, sent the first telegram from Washington to Baltimore on May 26, 1844, to his partner Alfred Vail to usher in the telegram era that displaced the Pony Express. It read “WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?” “   – http://www.wired.com/science/discoverie

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Today I turned 63.

In our culture age is suppose to be a secret. How will we know what 40, 50, 60 or 70 looks like if we keep our ages secret? Those ages sound old but might that not be because we have not learned to associate them with healthy, fit and mentally active people?  For people searching, for a job or a man or woman “who likes long walks on the beach”, there is certainly value in not biasing someone against us before meeting us, by revealing our age.  An old woman in my town, a shopkeeper of a tiny old-fashioned toy store, just celebrated her 99th birthday. People in the community held a party for her in front of her store. In her thank you note to the community, she thanked everyone, and I quote, “hope that we may celebrate next year on my 100th birthday.” In the photo of her in the newspaper, she did not look a day over 85!!  Seeing her filled me with hope that I may still be riding my bicycle at 99!  A person of 99 years must look back to their 60’s as their younger years. I have looked at photos of my grandparents when they were in their 60’s and thought how young they looked compared to how I remembered them in their last years of life.  I think of the sixties as being the infancy of my elder years. It is all a matter of perspective. A friend of mine just turned thirty and was feeling rather old. To me he is a  young man, wise beyond his years.  I do think it will be a bit strange to me when my children reach their thirties.

Age does not make a person a has-been. I am living history, just as we all are. Commercial television first made its appearance in 1949, the year before I was born and did not make its appearance in my home until several years after that, much to the dismay of my father. Universal polio immunizations were given in 1956. I knew that it was a big deal from hearing my parents talk about it.

In the town of Port Washington, New York, where I lived until just after I began first grade, I and every child walked to school independently, without a hovering adult. My grade school years were filled with total freedom of movement.  I do not recall reporting my whereabouts to my parents. No one did. We knew what time to be home for meals and that seemed to be enough for every child’s parents.

During my grade school years, we had “duck and cover” drills, where we would crawl beneath our desks and cover our heads with our arms, and coats, if they were available. As an eleven year old I recall the concern from my father about the Cuban missile crises. A sixth grade friend of mine knew about the SALT talks (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty). My eleven year old self was blissfully ignorant of such things.

At twelve, I marched in my small town to the tiny African Methodist Episcopal church around the time of the larger march on Washington. In 1964, I was 13 when the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. What I remember from watching the Beatles was my brother calling the family to come down to the playroom to see me hysterically crying  along with all of the other girls that I saw on television. I understand mass hysteria having lived it!  Marijuana had not yet reached my town when I was a teenager in the 1960’s, alcohol was the available drug and the drinking age was eighteen. I did not know anyone until I was 23 who smoked pot.

In 1965 I attended boarding school in New Hampshire. There was no school van. The expected transportation was to stick out one’s thumb. Once a teacher filled his car with kids and gave us a lift to a near by town. In addition to the three students and teacher on the front bench seat there were kids sitting on kids’ laps on the back bench seat and two or so kids in the large trunk. It was unusual for a car to have seat belts back then. I dimly remember being stopped by the police. Some of us had to hitch hike back to school. The school, of course, now has a school van.

I went to France in the fall of 1968

Dinner on SS Rotterdam

Becky at 11 Rue hanneloup, Angers Me at eighteen with 16 year old Amanda Taylor from England and eighteen year old Rose from Rhodesia. They lived with a family on the second floor of the house. I lived with the Tesson Family who owned the house and lived on the third floor. Madam Tesson was very stingy!

Crossing the Atlantic on the SS Rotterdam. We had assigned tables for Breakfast,lunch and Dinner. My dinner companions were Charloote from Paris and Le Havre and a couple from Belgium. Notice the ashtray. We all smoked after dinner. I think that it so disgusting now!

.

Having heard about the student protests in Paris in May of 1968 and coming from a small sleepy town, my eighteen year old self thought that Paris was the best possible place to be. To my parent’s relief it was quiet on the streets of Angers,                                                                where I first lived for four months, and Paris where I lived for two months. No cell phones back then so I was cut off from my family except for the one phone call I received from them while in France, letters that crisscrossed the Atlantic Ocean and a visit from my father on his way to Africa to gather material for a new African studies program at the community college where he was a professor. I intended to stay for the school year, but tragedy struck my family, and I returned home in March of 1969, after the death of my father. I was contacted by telegram to call my grandfather in the Netherlands because he had bad news. I made the international phone call from an available phone at the post office.

 

 

 

Rebecca's telegram

 

 

 

 

I took a dislike to Elvis Presley as a five year old because my parents did not like him. Decades later though, I changed my mind. I recall my sister, seven years older than me, listening to the popular music of the fifties. The music of the fifties, sixties and seventies is still played today. I consider it “my music”.  I was there when the songs first aired! A steady stream of cars streamed past my town on their way to Woodstock, New York in August of 1969.  My brother-in-law and a friend talked of selling water to the festival goers. In retrospect, I am happy that I did not go. Recently, I heard how dreadful the conditions were!

I experienced the eras of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, McCarthy, McGovern, oops, delete those last two, Carter, Regan, Bush I, Clinton, Gore,        Bush II,  Cheney/Bush II right up to President Obama. The Vietnam war and the specter of being drafted hung over every boy my age in the late sixties and the early seventies. All those young men being drafted were unable to vote, the voting age being twenty-one.  The year I turned twenty-one, the twenty- sixth amendment changed the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen.

I typed college papers on my typewriter or hand printed them if my professor allowed it. I reluctantly received from my brother, my first calculator when I was thirty. I did not want to loose my basic arithmetic skills. I am never without a calculator now, if only to check my arithmetic. Computers were not common place until I was nearly in my late forties. I had no answering machine until I was about fifty. We had phone chains to convey important information. Cell phones were not ubiquitous in the US until I was in my fifties. I recall in the early 1990’s having my car break down with my two small children in the back seat. I had no cell phone. I got lucky when a tow truck  happened to drive by. He towed my car and gave us a lift.

To anyone reading this the 2000’s  are modern history, so I will stop here.  Most of my subsequent posts will not be nearly as long. I hope some of you enjoyed reading my first ever post. I would enjoy reading your comments. Thanks to Preeti and Riv for getting me started!

Image | Posted on by | 6 Comments