Classes & Concerts
We might have expected major transitional anxieties as we faced new married life in poverty, far from our families, and with my senior year at MIT to get through. You’ll have to ask Valerie, but I recall nothing of the kind. We were still newlyweds, and if we suffered significantly, that’s not what I remember.

Music was a big part of that year, but I’ve already mentioned that we were very much in love. By the end of the school year, Valerie was already five months into our first pregnancy. Then of course, we spent half of our $100 per month household budget on food and the other half on concert tickets. Of which, this being Boston, half (often the best ones) came free of charge. Lots more fun, this time around, since we could do them together. In my earlier Cambridge days, I’d done rather less dating and such than Valerie’s inclined to believe, even now.

To help with expenses, I worked some evening shifts at the East Campus desk at 3 Ames Street. Not very demanding: got a lot of homework done between the intrusions of duty. Also taught a series of SAT-preparation classes to high-school kids who came in to an upstairs suite on Arlington Street, just around the corner from the S&CJ. On another floor of the same building, our Cambridge Branch/Ward friend Alberta Baker1 taught Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics. We’d share insights on the connecting stairs, during class breaks.

Commuted by bicycle the whole school year across the Salt-and-Pepper-Shaker bridge from Boston to Cambridge and back. Through the usual long, frigid winter, that meant picking out an ice rut, early in the trajectory, and praying that it went where I wanted to go. In Boston traffic. Which, if you’ve never experienced, I can’t explain adequately to you.

These days, when wet pavement suffices to keep me and my Hepzibah indoors, this reminiscence is a source of wonderment.
Arranged my schedule so as to have Fridays free: a blessing that came with a light schedule of required sessions. We’d sleep in 'til 9 or so, have a leisurely breakfast, and then walk down to Symphony Hall, where we’d get in the “rush seats”2 line. At 11:00 or so (my memory may be squishy, here), they’d sell to the first three-hundred-and-some in line, second-balcony-center reserved seats for the afternoon performance of the Boston Symphony. Erich Leinsdorf was the conductor, and we took in all (or nearly) the concerts of that season. For sixty cents a ticket!
1In later years, when we had a car, we used to compete good-naturedly with Bob Chandler (that’s the only way Bob ever competes) for the privilege of bringing Alberta from her home on Kidder Avenue in Somerville to Church meetings in Cambridge. Also enjoyed flirting with Alberta, which I could get away with because she was elderly, widowed, and crippled. Also one of the smartest and funniest people in our congregation. Which is saying something.
2I understand they still do rush seats at BSO. And elsewhere: it’s sort of a public-service-good-citizen thing. Dunno what they charge now, but I’ll bet it’s more than 60¢.
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