I moved from my home city of Boston a long time ago. I call Los Angeles home now, and it is, in every way. My work is here, my friends are here, my family is here. My life is here. Nonetheless, Brookline, the town I grew up in (it’s right outside of Boston) holds fond memories for me. Many of my stories are either set around that area or are influenced by it.

Recently, I had the opportunity to go back to celebrate a milestone for a program within my high school. I took the time to bundle a true trip to Boston out of it, bracketing enough days around the reunion to explore the city where I grew up. I stayed at a B&B near my old neighborhood and prepared to revisit the places that had such meaning for me as growing up.

The great thing about a historic city like Boston is while it grows and changes, like every city, the core remains the same. Many of my old haunts were gone, from the clubs I used to attend as a barely legal twenty-one-year-old (Bunratty’s, the Channel) to the theaters that are now condos in Cleveland Circle, but the core remains the same. The Big Dig has made the city more accessible, but that didn’t change the familiarity of Quincy Market and the North End. Harvard Square and Coolidge Corner, two of my favorite places growing up, were smaller than I remembered, but no less fantastic. I expected things to be the same, yet different, and that’s what happened.

What I didn’t expect, because Brookline is a town very steeped in history, was that the 1893 Victorian I grew up in would be gone. As I was walking up to visit it, just to see it (we left decades ago), I expected the towering three story, 6,000-foot beauty to be as it was, with whatever alterations had been done over time. What I got was a dirt lot, with everything removed down to the street line, and walls of new construction going in. I studied it in shock, unable to process what I was seeing. The old house – gone. All the memories – now a dirt lot. There’s nothing to be done, the house is now nothing but rubble, but to say I was gut punched is an understatement. Apparently, it is now going to be townhouses. Alas, my childhood.

Even with that, I enjoyed my visit to Boston. It will always be where I came from, and it shaped who I am, both as a person and as a writer. The old house will live on in my stories, and the city remains an essential part of me.

How has your hometown shaped you?

Have a great day!

Claire Davon

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3 Responses to Hometowns

  1. pamelagibson says:

    I grew up in a small town in California with a Franciscan mission at the center. I have always loved history and trace my interest to hours spent wandering the mission gardens and buildings (my grandmother lived across the street). The mission was San Juan Capistrano. Still there.

  2. Great post. I did my residency in Boston and lived on Beacon Street at the Brookline Border. LOVED IT! The last time I was there I walked all my old haunts like the Rose Garden, the Fens, and Fenway of course. Downtown, recognizable and I miss the trolleys that ran to the museums.

    I grew up in NYC and bemoan the knockdown of old historic buildings to put up super skyscrapers and ugly, brick boxes.
    Despite that, the spirit of the city remains, even as we’re coming out of the past two years of COVID. Resilient, wacky, and bit more kind, I think.

  3. sueberger3 says:

    I was born in Buffalo New York, but I had so many hometowns growing up. From the time I was five we moved every year unless we actually bought a house, in which case and stayed two years.
    I went back to Buffalo four years ago for a family union on the Berger side. And I took my son Jim who came with me by my old house. Surprisingly enough it was still there. 74 Jewett Parkway. A red brick salt box house. It has so many good memories for me. It had a basement a wine cellar and an attic with secret rooms. I can still go to every room in the house in my mind. I’m so happy to see it survives. I’m very sorry they knocked your childhood home.

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