When did I become my mother? The joys of visiting my adult-aged children in Boston.

A lone seagull in flight at Cape Cod.

Stephane is in a different time zone in Beijing, which means that his nightly telephone calls always catch me at odd times -- like in the dressing room in TJ Maxx or the make-up aisle in CVS. Since the connection between the other side of the world and Boston is invariably bad, our conversations consist of me hissing private information in a loud voice that ends up being overheard by almost everyone else in the store:

St: How's your visit with the kids going?
MK: Fine. They keep telling me how to behave.
St: What do you mean?
MK: Yeah, we're going out for dinner with some of their friends on Wednesday and they told me that I'm not supposed to be "snooty". That and something else I can't remember.
St (chuckling): Oh, no! You can't remember. That doesn't sound good.
MK: I know! (as I search my jet-lagged brain trying to recall the flaws that are so obvious to my children but invisible to me). But I'm not snooty, am I? I just mentioned that a French waiter wouldn't have brought us the wrong bill like the American waiter did the other night.
St (laughing): It's true. The Parisian waiters are very good once you know how the system works.
MK: Well, I better go. I can't really talk right now.

By the time I get to the check-out counter, I can tell that the cashier and all of the other customers sympathize with my children. They're eyeing me with suspicion because they overheard me say that I think that Parisian waiters are superior to American ones. I slink out the door feeling like a blasphemous traitor - I'm in Boston after all, the birthplace of our nation, and complimenting the French!

When did I become my mother - or better yet, when did my children become me? I have to laugh at their admonishments because they echo the conversations that I used to have before introducing my mother to my friends, who always thought she was wonderful.

Let's just hope that I remember the other thing that I'm not supposed to do at dinner tonight! Meeting the people who are important to Sara and Philippe is turning out to be one of the unexpected bonuses of being a mother and I don't want to disappoint them. I like flying in a flock!

The beach near Falmouth, Cape Cod.

Comments

  1. Very cute story. I don't mind you being snooty. Of course. I get it all the time. And you are right. Last night at dinner the waiter forgot my friend's blue cheese olives--three times! And rarely nowadays do servers know whose plate is whose.

    And just remind your children, you can't possibly be snooty if you're taking calls in a dressing room in TJ Maxx. Really now! How democratic can that be?!

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    1. Blue cheese olives? I don't think that I've ever had those. Are the olives stuffed with blue cheese?

      I love TJ Maxx and Marshalls - they're my secret to looking good in Paris...and as you said, there's nothing more democratic!

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    2. Yes, olives stuffed with blue cheese for your martini--protein included! And fat. I'm surprised that you have not seen that in the bars of Paris, but then again, you are a champagne and wine girl.

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    3. And after last night, I'm a beer girl, too! Nothing like having to ask my children and their friends for recommendations as to which beer I should order. The good news is that I got to sample a lot of different beer!

      Now I'll just have to see if I can find some of those olives stuffed with blue cheese.

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  2. Looks like you're taking in a multitude of Boston culture. LOL...

    Have fun tonight!

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    1. What? CVS and TJ Maxx aren't the epitome of Boston culture?!

      To compensate, I hope to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum this week and am on my way to the MIT museum now. I've already visited the MFA, walked the Freedom Trail, etc during previous visits but am always open to suggestions of things to do or places to eat. We went to Joe's on Newbury and the Atlantic Fish Company on Boylston last night. We're going to an Irish pub for fish and chips tonight. It should be fun - that is if I remember to behave myself! ;)

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  3. Oh, MK hearing about your visit to Boston makes me really homesick. I loved the I.S. Gardner Museum. (Do they still have chamber music recitals and a champagne brunch on Sundays?)

    Are you aware of the March 18, 1990 art heist? A pair of thieves disguised as Boston police officers entered the museum and stole works of art including ....(French connection here)...5 DEGAS drawings, a MANET, a finial in the shape of an eagle from the Napoleonic flag plus... one of only 34 known Vermeers, 3 Rembrandts and some other pieces.
    The artwork has never been recovered and there are empty frames in the museum where they had been. The reward is about 5 Million if you spot any of them in your travels.
    Have you been to any of the museums at Harvard? It's been ages but the Peobody and the Fogg used to be favorites of mine. Haven't been since the 70's though.

    nancyb926


    nancyb926

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    1. Thanks for all of the interesting info, Nancy! Peter (my "friends in Boston") told me that I should go to the I.S. Gardner Museum but alluded to the "Heist of the Century" without giving me any of the details. If all goes as planned, I'll take the afternoon tour tomorrow. I didn't see anything about champagne brunch on their website but will be sure to ask. It would be a good thing to do when we're back in Boston in May.

      Peter also sent the link for a Boston Globe article about the new expansion at the I.S. Gardner Museum.

      I toured Harvard during my last visit to Boston but haven't visited any of their museums yet. As time is running out, I'll probably have to go during another visit. There's so much to see and do here!

      Thanks again for telling me about the art heist.

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  4. Oh MK! As for the waiters,I really believe it's just where you are/who you get. No judgement for either country. They are crap waiters in both countries! Hope the dinner goes well with your kids' friends. you can do it!!! ps: nothing like an American drug store. CVS and Duane Reade rock my world (NOT!)

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    1. Thanks for the positive encouragement. All went well last night - at least I hope so! We haven't had a chance to rehash the evening, but I had a good time.

      I don't know Duane Reade. Is it a PA drugstore?

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    2. NYC. They're literally on every block. Sir L and I have a joke that if we had a boy and girl we'd name them Duane and Darty :)

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  5. What an accomplished photographer you are - those photos are wonderful. Good luck with the dinner - I'm sure you'll behave yourself and pass with flying colours! GM

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    1. Surprisingly enough, I did manage to behave myself last night. It helped that the music in the pub was so loud that I couldn't say much! ;) Thanks for the kind comment about the photos!

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  6. I loved the photographs too - I've heard of Cape Cod but never seen photos I don't think. The Gardner museum theft is definitely an interesting story - I believe it was in her will that the museum must be just as it was in her lifetime, so they would be unable to replace the paintings even if they wanted to. In addition, apparently many museums don't even have insurance for some or all of their works, such is its prohibitive cost (I can't remember whether that was the case for this museum). I read a few good books on art theft over the last few years, the story of the Nazi looting and appropriation of Jewish-owned art is particularly interesting.

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    1. Gwan,
      The story of Dutch art dealer, Jacques Goudstikker, is one of the more famous and interesting stories of Nazi art appropriation. There was an amazing exhibition here in Florida (Norton Museum) several months back about this man, his family and the art work that was taken.
      As for the Gardner, you are correct that only the stolen pieces could be replaced if found, nothing new according to the will.
      Despite Massachusett's often harsh winters, the Cape is lovely without the throngs of summer tourists this time of year. I have spent MANY hours sitting in traffic trying to get to the Cape from my hometown (Quincy, birthplace of 2 Presidents and John Hancock) on the other side of the Bourne Bridge.
      Surrounded by water, it seems to be immune to many of the snow storms and there is year round golf there!
      And MK.... blue cheese stuffed olives are divine! Have you visited the Kennedy Library in Southie or his birthplace in Brookline ?


      nancyb

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    2. Btw MK, the Kennedy home is JUST around the corner from the 2 best falaffel places in town...which I had sugested to Sarah in an earlier post.
      nancyb

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    3. @Gwan, As Nancy said, the Cape is beautiful this time of year. I only wish that I would have had more time to visit some of the other towns. My daughter is moving there this summer so I'll definitely have the opportunity during another visit.

      If I get the chance, I'll ask if the collection at the I.S. Gardner Museum is insured. Let's just hope that they don't think that I'm planning another heist! ;) Thanks to everyone's comments, I'm really looking forward to my tour/visit tomorrow.

      @Nancy, I didn't realize that you were born so close to the Cape! My drive over the Bourne Bridge on Tuesday was fantastic. The sun was shining on the water and it was a magical moment - I had to remind myself to keep my eyes on the road.

      I haven't made it to the Kennedy Library, although I had hoped to go this trip. I was sad to have missed Carolyn Kennedy's talk about Jackie's tapes during my last visit. I'm not sure what our schedule is for Saturday but maybe I'll be able to visit his birthplace. Those falaffels sound really good!

      As always, thanks for all of the info about your hometown! It's much appreciated.

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  7. What a very funny post! Lucky that the music was loud in the pub, but I'm sure you would have flown with your flock at just the right speed and elevation, without a breath of the French! Sounds almost like a first date.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Daisy

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