There’a video on YouTube that I particularly love featuring two very aged Boston Brahmins sitting in the Boston Athenæum, discussing whatever it is that Brahmins discuss, I don’t know maybe the Harvard-Yale game of 1896 or something like that. I love the video because they speak in this pseudo-British prep school mid Atlantic accent. They are both wearing conservative tweed suits and I’m not surprised that they filmed this video at the Athenæum. I mean I’m sure this is where these two Brahmins actually live. I don’t mean Beacon Hill. I mean in the Athenæum.
I love this video too because as I reflect back on ten years of living here, I remember how I actually thought people talked in Boston, but to be honest, I’ve never actually met anyone here who speaks with this accent. I’ve never actually met a Brahmin either.
Before I moved here, I thought that people like that comprised all of Boston. Well, taking that out further, I thought this was a city of memberships, clubs, secret handshakes and exclusivity. If you didn’t have your Brahmin accent and your Harvard diploma, away with you. But what I found here is the opposite. Everything is pretty much open to everyone. When I started going skiing, I wanted to find ski trips to go on, so I typed “Boston” and “ski” into the internet and found my ski club. I thought there was some kind of membership interview, aka would another bunch of people find you cool enough, but no. It was just open membership. You pay the fee, you go on the trip.
I’ve found a lot of things like that in Boston. But this place still surprises me. A couple of days ago, I went to Beacon Hill with a friend. I don’t spend a lot of time up there. I have no business up there. All of my stuff is in Downtown Crossing or Brookline. A friend said there are decorations to see up there, but what I found was again what I love about Boston.
The houses on Beacon Hill were really elaborately decorated and people were hanging out in front of their houses, giving out candy. People were talking to everybody. People were hanging out with their dogs and generally having a good time. The atmosphere was really nice.
Maybe I did finally meet a real life Beacon Hill Brahmin because there was a guy wearing twill pants with little skeletons embroidered on them. That’s an old money rich people thing. New money is flashy and paints everything in gold. Old money wears pants embroidered with foxes or lobsters or something. The guy with the skeletons on his pants, that money came from rum, whaling or cotton plantations. That’s not hedge fund money, that’s for sure. But he was out on the street, hanging out candy with decorations on his house, just like everyone else.
Everyone was cool enough to join the Beacon Hill Halloween celebration. No interview needed. Just come on down and join.