This is my “third date” with Victor. I think. On my way to Amsterdam, I utilized a ticket I received when bumped from a flight in February. I thought it would make the trip to Europe cheaper and it gave me time to explore Boston and get to know Victor better.
I only had one thing on my agenda in Boston: John Adams. I read the excellent biography by David McCullough and was all Adams all the time during the winter in Seattle. I hand it to Vic: he indulges me. We are off on the Red Line to Quincy, pronounced “Qwinnzy” in Boston.
The Adams National Park headquarters is in an office building in downtown Quincy. You must sign up for a shuttle bus tour as it is the only way to go into the homes. It takes you to the Adam’s homestead, and to the newer home that Abigail insisted they buy when they became successful and started having European guests. It is an understated Yankee affair.
I think Adams is known as the placeholder between Washington and Jefferson. His reputation and pictures of him make him seem like a prickly old man without verve. This is not fair at all and shows how politicking can influence your place in history. Daring patriot, learned writer, and a diplomat before becoming President, he sacrificed many opportunities for wealth and happiness serving the new country. I have a hard time even envisioning a carriage ride in winter to Philadelphia to attend the Continental Congresses or the stormy Atlantic crossing to wrangle money from France.
The thing I like most about Adams, his wife, and then his son, and then his son’s son and their wives was that they were smart and politically involved. I don’t think Americans have truly ever liked smart, and certainly not “Boston Smart”. The most interesting feature of the Adams’ home is a late addition made by his grandson, a beautiful stone-walled library. The Adams’s make me feel a bit diminished by our current public life.
The rest of the time in Boston was spent helping Vic be a better swimmer and napping. I did not fuss with the bike and it stayed in the box. The plan is to come back here in the fall, crash on the couch, and experience a bit of New England. There is a huge question mark between now and then: Europe.