Editorial, Opinion

GIRL, 20: Hills of Vantage Throned

If all goes accordingly, my future will sit atop a wooden staircase and be encased by oak panels, rare books and a view of the State House. This isn’t a vain desire spawned from some materialistic, preadolescent “Better Homes and Gardens” fantasy, either — it’s instead a rather specified and well-coordinated plan I’ve had for about 10 years.

A decade ago, I went with my mother to look at some real estate on Beacon Hill (looking at property during the housing boom was a hobby of hers). Since I lived in a small — okay, piss-ant — town, spending time in Boston was something I’d do as frequently as possible, even if it just meant looking at boring property with my parents. So up the brick-laden Hill I walked on that October day to the open house my mom wanted to tour — with my mind probably set on the Newbury Street visit that would come after — and we entered a building at the summit with the word “SEARS” and a date inscribed above the door. We first looked at a modest, vacant apartment with a fireplace and, as advertised in “Johnny Tremain,” a Birth and Death room, complete with a nightmarish baby head above the threshold (one thinks of the Museum of Fine Art’s Fenway entrance).

I patiently waited for my mom to evaluate the wood floors and assess the one-and-a-half baths, and I thought about what a waste of space it was for adults to populate a perfectly good ballet studio with intrusive furniture and electronics.

I followed through the back and climbed up a dusty staircase. To my surprise, however, I walked into my ideal future home. I entered a room that doubled as a library and a ballroom (functionality), which would have been surrounded by intricately carved oak, but was — ever so rudely — interrupted by the most beautiful view of the State House’s backyard in the entire Hub.The carved embellishments ran along the bookshelves and created a woody cosmos all over the ceiling, and I pictured myself someday dancing on my pointe shoes with a versi-colored collection of books as my audience, and not to mention whoever happened to be mowing the lawn at the State House that morning.

“Eff my life, this means I’ll probably actually have to wear clothes around the house now.”

Still, I had to live there.

When it was time to go, I gave my future home one final glance that has never left my mind. To this day whenever I’m jogging up Mount Vernon Street (by jogging I mean trying not to collapse and bargaining with God due to my smoking habits), I try to look for the same building, but it’s lost in the slew of other Brahmin brownstones. But the innocent portrait of my 10-year-old dream house complete with a ballet studio is, in reality, probably inhabited by some middle-aged, Botoxed Real Housewife of Beacon Hill whose life revolves around The Bar Method and an impossibly precise coffee order at Starbucks. That’s okay, though. She can keep it warm for me while I brainstorm up some color schemes.


Sydney Shea is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, and a columnist for the Daily Free Press. She can be reached at [email protected].

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