Pride and Prejudice - The STORY GRID edition - Annotated by SHAWN COYNE

What It Takes

What It Takes

A Part of Our Lives

By Callie Oettinger
Published: January 12, 2018

Boston, 10.31.2004. The day after the Red Sox's parade through Boston, celebrating the end of the "curse". Mrs. Mallard is wearing a Red Sox hat.

Boston, 10.31.2004. The day after the Red Sox’s parade through Boston, celebrating the end of the “curse.” Mrs. Mallard is wearing a Red Sox hat and I’m inserting both into the life of the next generation.

Boston felt like home.

I was in high school when I stepped into Bean Town for the first time, but I already knew Charles St. because I’d traveled it with Robert McCloskey’s Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and I knew the North Church and Charlestown Shore, because I’d rowed and ridden with Longfellow’s Revere.

I knew the city from childhood picture books and history textbooks, books that had been my friends and mentors, offering comfort and instruction.

They were a part of my life just as much as any living, breathing teacher or relative. They were a part of me.

I headed outside the city to walk with Thoreau and swim in Walden Pond, and daydream about conversations with Emerson, all of which had already run on repeat in my head.

The year I moved into an apartment on The Fenway wasn’t really a first either. Walking home at night, in the light of Fenway Park, always felt just like a bright summer day. Baseball always feels like summer, no matter the time of year or time of day—and I’d been hearing about Ted William’s Red Sox, and the curse of Babe for decades. Dad was a Red Sox fan and I grew into a baseball romantic, fed on the tales of the old players. I still can’t tell you the stats of every team or player, but the first time I went to Spring Training in Florida, tears pooled in my eyes. I’m not a rabid fan. I don’t watch all the games and I’m often out of date on rosters, but baseball is in me. I can’t imagine a world without it.

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