Toni's sister Beryl lives with her husband Bob and their two sons Michael and Jimmy in Arlington, Massachusetts .Toni and Beryl love to get together and crack each other up talking about movies, clothes, politics, husbands, or Beryl's two wild and crazy, politically activist teenage sons, and maybe some things I don't know about (yet). So today, Toni got this letter from Beryl:
In keeping with the new tradition you started, here is my report from
the Boston front. It was touch and go getting to the rally on the Commons. Martha's
daughter Molly was Bat Mitzvahed yesterday, and we were at the
(Masonic!) Temple till 12:30. Martha agreed that it was important to go to the
Commons, as long as we'd be back for dinner and dancing.
So I changed shoes and jacket in the car and Bob dropped me off at the
subway and pretty soon I was at the Commons- which was deserted except
for a group of 50 pro-war demonstrators. By this time the rally was over
and the parade was moving down Beacon Street. I caught up with the end
of the line, and---there I was, back in 1969. Except that half the
people around me had graying hair and sensible shoes. The other half
were students It was all very comforting and cheerful and friendly, and
there was a lot of creative pageantry. I think the police estimate of
25,000 was about correct, though, being short, it was hard for me to see
where it began and where it ended. We had drum corps, and a brass
marching band. Giant puppets and guerilla theater folks in masks,
carrying "bodies". Some marchers waved smoking sage bundles, which was
very pleasant. Lots of humor and cross-generational camaraderie. No car
noises at all, since the mayor kindly shut down traffic for us. I
really love this city! Though the sidewalk people were friendly, there
was still a sense of danger and adventure. Perhaps for me it had to do
with walking down the middle of the avenues--right through the red
lights! With all those helicopters hovering overhead. I recklessly
took my life in my hands and bought a hotdog from a street vendor.
I looked for Mike, but didn't see him. Toni- did not see your guernica
sign, but did see a woman with a sign saying "Free Guernica!" Lots of
good signs. pretty much in the same vein as the NYC signs. Some folks in
cowboy hats had "More two-steppin' Less goose-stepping". Mike says he
saw "Drunken Frat Boy Against the War" held by a drunken frat boy. A
contingent had "We're from Lynn- War is a Sin" signs. One kid who got
a lot of cheers was perched on a lamppost near Newbury Street. On one
side his sign said " No War on Iraq." On the other side it said "Single
young multimillionaire, male, against war. (617) 515-XXXX." (When asked
if he was really a multimillionaire he said "no"). College girls in the
crowd were exhorting each other: "Go ahead!Call him!" One girl actually
took out her cell phone, and left a message on his machine. Passing the
Hancock tower, I was afraid the wind would knock the big "Vermonters for
Peace" banner right on my head. Another lamp post-hanger had a t shirt
that said "More Love! More Fire!" This sounded romantic and got lots of
cheers, but afterwards people were saying "huh?", "I don't get it."
and- "what do you think he means by that?" I think he must have been a
poet or an English major.
Around an hour into the march, walking down the middle of sunny Boylston
Street- in the heart of the city for the first time in months- I had a
sudden overwhelming desire... to shop! And to find a Starbucks for a
cold mocha frappacino. And to find a bathroom. At the end of the line
folks some were lying down on the streets for a die-in. The "dead"
college coeds were a lively bunch! Some of the deceased were talking on
cell phones. Some were napping. One truly ancient man- could have been a
hundred- was lying so still that I wondered if he was really faking.
Odd how the march was the first real distraction from war worry and
angst in 11 days.
My post-march search for a bathroom and a frappacino took me to Borders
books, where I found an extremely interesting autobiographical novel
abut China in the cultural revolution called "Balzac and the Little
Chinese Seamstress" which I highly recommend.
I then went camera-shopping, since Bob says he wants to get me a really
big birthday gift, and I'm thinking it might be one of the tiny new
Got home in time for the BatMitzvah dinner and dancing, so all-in-all it
was a fun day, and a great break from my usual 7-day week,
never-leave-the -house work schedule. But today the emails and
storyboards are backed way up, so it's back to the grind.