Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Cambridge Spirit. Writings: Julia H. Low. Drawings by Andre B. Toth. (411 Franklin St. Apt. 813 Cambridge, Mass. 02139) No. Price.

In the introduction to this beautifully illustrated book: “The Cambridge Spirit” Julia Low writes: “What makes Cambridge so special is the Cambridge spirit. A phenomenon that is abstract yet visible, an atmosphere that is brilliantly real.” Both Julia Low the writer and Andre Toth the illustrator dedicate this book to the residents and friends of the City of Cambridge and visitors alike.” The creators and many of the subjects written about are residents of the city.

Andre B. Toth has a watercolor illustration of the Charles River and its banks on the front cover…very fetching if I do say so myself. There are illustrations peppered throughout this book including: the Central Square T entrance, 1369 Coffee House, the Gateway to Harvard Yard, “Out of Town News,”, as well as some of the denizens of Cambridge’s many neighborhoods.

Julia Low who is the writer for this book is an unapologetic lover of the “Republic”. She writes in “My Heart Belongs to Cambridge,”

“Harvard square steals my soul,/ Nations learn to live in peace…Charles bank is my place to stroll/ My heart belongs to Cambridge.”

And how about an ode to of all places “The Cambridge Citywide Senior Center.”

“Couldn’t wait to be sixty-five/ on February twenty-eight/ When bus rides will be ten cents and five/ T ride will cost only two ten cents/ Know what diversity is?/ Find it at the Cambridge Citywide Senior Center… Come to 806 Massachusetts Avenue/ Where Arts and crafts, pool playing, and/ sounds of music fills the rooms.”

And here is a love poem to the River Charles:

So Long, Charles, Farewell!

Was it not so long ago,
When he held my hand
As we strolled along the Charles?
His whispers softly touching my heart.

Will I find his image above the clouds?
Or under the frozen waters,
Perhaps on the familiar bench
Where we once counted the fallen stars.

It was not long ago
When he let go my hand.
Since then, I have been longing and
Yearning for return.

So long, Charles, farewell!
“tis not the winter chill I cannot bear,
But the emptiness he left behind,
Since he went away…

This book is a very nice grassroots effort by two senior citizens, involved in a long, requited love-affair with the fair city of Cambridge.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson update

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