“Welcome to Boston!”

I recently saw one of those “someecards” that said “She asked me to tell her the three words every girl wants to hear. So I whispered ‘Let’s go Sox’ in her ear.” I laughed out loud for several minutes at this joke because those would be my second favorite three words – right after “Welcome to Boston.” I love Boston; I love the history, the culture, the people, the attitude, every single thing about it.

Boston was the first and only city I’ve lived in because *I* wanted to be there. I didn’t have any friends or family up there, I didn’t have a job, I’d had an up-and-down couple of years and wanted to get out of Dodge (literally, we lived in Kansas). So on a cold gray December day, I flew into Logan for the first time with the mission to scout out a place to live. I had absolutely no idea what to expect and even if I had been warned, I never could have imagined that you truly descended so low over the Harbor to land on a runway that appears out of the ocean. It went something like this: water, water, cloud, island, water, lighthouse, water, water, runway, boom! And then an exceptionally cheery flight attendant announcing ”Welcome to Boston!” Any city that could make an impression like that was one I wanted to live in.

I lived in Boston for three years and rode the Red Line to either Alewife or Braintree almost every one of those days. I know I’m in a minority of people who claim they like their commute, but I really did enjoy it. It was my time to people watch, visit with my friends, relax, or see the city. I’m a little bit like Matt Damon in “Goodwill Hunting” where he would just ride that old T car and stare out the window because my favorite moment is when I would cross the Charles from Cambridge and see the Boston skyline.

I moved away from Massachusetts almost 9 years ago and when I go back, I always fly (“Welcome to Boston!”) and insist on taking the T at least once to feel like I still belong. And when I’m not there, I am amazed at the things I find that remind of Beantown. Last year, a few days after Christmas, my boys wanted to go to the St Louis Museum of Transportation. This is one of those activities that I have deemed “boy time” and send them off with their father so I can get something done or have some time to myself. But this time my older son really wanted me to tag along and because I’d never been, I gave in. I wasn’t in a very good mood, it was cold, I didn’t know what to expect, and I’m not really a train person. I grabbed my camera and got in the car determined to make the best of the situation. We walked around for about 30 minutes when I started to lag behind and got separated from everyone else. I caught a glimpse of my younger son running around and decided I needed to catch up to help corral the troops. As I started towards him, I caught something familiar out of the corner of my eye. I turned around to see a beautiful old T car. It was one of those moments where it was so normal it was exceptionally beautiful, and I knew I had to take a picture of it. But I also knew I didn’t have time to stop and set up a real shot. So I took another look and snapped two pictures and started running towards the kids.

That quick picture has turned out to be one of my most popular photographs. I have so many people who buy it because they love Boston, or miss Boston, or as a present for a friend who loves Boston. It makes me really happy that other people see the subtle beauty in this antique train car and that it reminds them of their time in a wonderful town.

It brings a wistful smile to my face that I sent a copy to a woman in Boston the day the iconic Johnny Pesky passed away – because after “Welcome to Boston!” my favorite words really are “Let’s go Sox!”

For more information on this train car’s history, visit http://www.mountainrailway.com/Roster%20Archive/RDC/CP%209000/CP%209054.htm

To see a wonderful collection of trains, cars and other exhibits, visit the Museum of Transportation: http://transportmuseumassociation.org/