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Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Klein’

Recently, I cut out an article about Dr. Seuss and his hometown of Springfield, Mass., for a visiting brother who had memorized Dr. Seuss’s first book at the age of 3. The book was And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Writes Christopher Klein in the Boston Sunday Globe travel section, “Whenever young Theodor Geisel [the birth name of Dr. Seuss] stepped out the front door of his pale gray boyhood home at 74 Fairfield St. a century ago, a vibrant urban cavalcade awaited. Streetcar bells clanged. The engines of locally built Stevens-Duryea automobiles and Indian motorcycles purred. Clydesdales clomped on cobblestones as they hauled wooden barrels of beer produced at the Geisel family brewery.

“During summer months, young Ted explored the vast natural spaces of nearby Forest Park, and he sled down its hills in wintertime. The boy’s creative mind concocted the extraordinary from everyday life. After visits to the park’s zoo with his mother, he doodled a wild menagerie of beasts with nonsensical names on his bedroom walls.

“The Springfield of Geisel’s youth was a dynamic boomtown; its population doubled between 1890 and 1910. The city’s factories roared as they manufactured everything from Smith & Wesson firearms to Milton Bradley board games, Rolls-Royces to Absorbine Jr. It was a magical time to grow up in Springfield.”

After leaving for Dartmouth College and years in the advertising business in New York, “a chance sidewalk encounter on Madison Avenue with a college friend who had started a job that very morning with Vanguard Press led to the 1937 publication of his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in which the magical imagination of a boy named Marco transforms a mundane horse-drawn wagon into a street pageant complete with a ruby-clad rajah atop an elephant pulling a big brass band.” More here on a charming tour of Springfield today.

I wonder if Mulberry streets in the old days — before the irrelevant street naming of massive developments — got their names because they had actual mulberry trees. I like picking mulberries, and Suzanne and John always liked them, too. Suzanne even lived on a Mulberry Street after college.

Photo: Christopher Klein
A Lorax statue in a Dr. Seuss sculpture garden, Springfield, Mass.

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Right outside my window at work is the rejuvenated Boston Tea Party Museum, which I watched rise from the ashes over a period of years.

On Sunday, December 16, there was a public reenactment of the original Boston Tea Party. A Boston Globe reporter got into the action:

“Upon entering the museum,” writes Christopher Klein, “we were given cards with brief biographies of actual Tea Party protesters, identities we would assume for the next hour. I realized I was dealt a bad hand as I read about my alter ego, John Crane, the Colonist caper’s lone casualty. After being knocked unconscious by a falling tea crate, Crane was thought to be dead and hidden by his compatriots under a pile of wood shavings in a nearby carpenter’s shop.
 
“He awoke hours later, however, and given a new lease on life, much like this museum itself, which was destroyed by a lightning strike in 2001 and set ablaze again in 2007 from sparks from a construction project on the Congress Street Bridge. Reborn after a $28 million makeover, the attraction features historically accurate replicas of two of the Tea Party ships, the Eleanor and the Beaver, which were modified from wooden fishing vessels.”
 
More at the Globe.

Photograph: Christopher Klein for the Boston Globe
Costumed volunteers at Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum where they toss crates of tea into the harbor.

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