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The Cahners Building...which isn’t

So, last time, I had us walking along the beach in Revere. I’ll just mention that we had lovely dinner, and a charming evening with Linda, and then, the next morning, Martha and I set out again. We had another call to make.

Specifically, we were off to visit our friend Carol, who lives in Newton, MA. This is a town which is also part of the greater Boston-area. It is on a transport hub, actually. The buses run there, and there are easy links to the subway stations--the T-stops, that is.

I used to work there, in fact. The old Cahner’s Publishing Company had a building there. When I first started working for them -- for, to be precise, Mini-Micro Systems Magazine--the company was downtown, which was great. I could walk to just about anything while on my on lunch hour. But, then, they moved out to Newton where parking was easier and rents were (a little) cheaper. It wasn’t as much fun for me, was all right. And I got to know the area rather well.

So, we’d visit our friend, and, at the same time, I’d enjoy a bit of nostalgia. Sort of.

Anyway, we drove to Carol’s apartment and met her. She is a tall slim woman, quite lovely, very intelligent, and very friendly. She is another ex-teacher that Martha met long ago at another school. Though, Carol left teaching for positions in administration at various universities. Right now, she’s sort of between jobs, and I’m hoping she finds something that matches her (considerable) talents very soon. In a world where too many jobs are wastes of time, it would be nice to know that someone was doing something that was worthy of them.

She greeted us and showed us around her place, which is new and she is happy with it. She had recently downsized, she explained, throwing out or giving away a good deal. It was nice, she said, not to feel oppressed by possessions. I thought that was rather profound.

We talked for a while, and then it was time for lunch. She had a particular Thai restaurant in mind, one of her favorites. So, off we went. I drove and Carol gave directions. Suddenly, I realized where we were headed. It was the old Cahners Building, the place I used to work, all those years ago.

I parked and we got out of the car. It isn’t the “Cahners Building” anymore, I realized. The company was moved away by new owners years ago. Now it is One Newton Place. It now contains offices from a variety of different companies, and on the first floor, was the restaurant, the “Thai Amarin.”

I gotta confess, I stared at the building, a bit amazed. I had spent quite a lot of time here, first on Mini-Micro Systems, and then, much later, at another publication, Datamation. It felt odd to be back, particularly knowing that neither of the publications remain in existence. That thought, indeed, continued to be with me for the rest of the time we were there.

The staff knew Carol, of course, and greeted her warmly. We had a nice meal. I had Pad Thai, which is my go-to dish at Thai restaurants. Carol told us what she had been up to. She’d been busy. She’s an artist by avocation, if not always by profession, and she’d done several new works. She wished she could go to Cape Cod, this year, to paint. That was something she used to do frequently. But, this year, she probably wouldn’t. The people she’d rented the house from had sold it. And prices on the Cape are off the charts these days.

She was doing photography as well. Oh, and she’d discovered some old photos from our wedding, all those years ago. She would share them with us, she said, when we got back to her apartment. (She did. And I’ll share them with you, in turn, below.)

About the photos: Today’s pictures are very special and come courtesy of our friend Carol. She is both an artist and a photographer. While we were visiting her this time, she told us she had something important to show us. She was at our wedding, all those years ago, and she had had her camera with her. She had, she said, photos to give us. And here they are...

As you can see, Martha has not aged a day...

Then she talked about some of her other activities. She’s very active politically. She’s done a lot of work for the Democratic Party, which you wouldn’t think would be necessary given that Massachussets is such a Blue state. But, strangely enough, it is. The party got complacent in the last few decades. It assumed that it had people’s votes without bothering to work for them. I know, because I remember trying to volunteer with the Party on a couple of campaigns. It was like pulling teeth. The Party’s leadership seemed to have no interest in me...or anyone who wasn’t already a member of The Club.

And for this hubris, the Party got a Republican -- Scott Brown -- in Ted Kennedy’s old seat in Congress in 2009. The Party should have seen it coming. I hope they learned their lesson, but I don’t know.

Anyway, we finished up and headed back to her apartment. I took pictures of the pictures she’d found. They were fun, but also rather embarrassing. Was it really possible that I was ever so young?

Martha and Carol spoke for a long time, again sharing memories and news. And then, finally, it was time for us to leave. We said our goodbys and headed out.

As we drove away, we ended up passing the old Cahners Building again. And as we went, I realized something.

To wit, you know I said that I couldn’t return to New England? That even though I still think of it as home, too much has changed? The way that Amherst is no longer ours?

Well, the building...formerly Cahners, now Newton a rather important symbol. And a reason why.

Which I will shortly explain.

More to come.


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