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Jacob Passy | A Bit Off

The sights unseen

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 08:12

As the great Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss), says in his book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” (1990), “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).”

I cannot claim that I found utter and complete success in my journey this semester to find those places off the beaten path that few Tufts students explore. At times, I probably talked of a place that more than a couple of Jumbos have ventured to since they arrived on the Hill. More regrettably, I know there are places I’ve missed.

The worst part is, I don’t even know what or where these places are. We come to the Medford and Somerville community with only the knowledge gleaned from open houses, tours and overnight stays. In the end, there’s no guidebook to the local neighborhoods. The sights that locals see are difficult to catch a glimpse of, especially when the work piles on.

So, I cannot say I am the shining example to live by in the efforts to reconnect with these communities that border Tufts. Even when I made it my job to visit these places at least once a week, it more often than not became just that: a once−a−week hassle that I had to grapple with, instead of a chance to enjoy myself. In the mix, there were always places on my to−do list that I never got to visit.

Take, for instance, the Royall House and Slave Quarters on George Street in Medford. This colonial−era mansion housed many famous Revolutionaries, such as George Washington’s secretary, Colonel Richard Cary. The site is now a National Historic Landmark and houses the only surviving slave quarters in Massachusetts today. Its door closed in early November for the winter season, before I had a chance to go inside and view its great details, including a tea box that it supposedly from the same batch as those from the Boston Tea Party.

I was also never able to sample the delectable foods from Magnificent Muffin and Bagel Shoppe on Broadway in Teele Square. Those who walk by the take−out establishment in the mornings would recognize it by the long line that seems to perennially stretch out the door until it closes up shop at noon. While I can’t be certain, these long lines and the decent reviews on Yelp seem to suggest that their breakfast sandwiches are definitely worth trying — particularly for the cheap price.

And then there’s the Somerville Museum, the location that was always top on my list. Located on Central Street, off of Highland Avenue, this museum is only open Thursdays through Saturdays, and I never seemed to have a free moment on a weekend to make the trek. Had I done so, I could have seen the exhibition of photographs and art by Somerville resident John Superti in his gallery, “Three Paths to Italy,” which detailed his genealogy and Somerville’s connections to Italy. While the exhibit closed in early November, the museum is still a beacon for local culture and history, and I struggle to think of a better way to learn about our beloved home away from home.

So I may have never made it to these places and that is a shame. If I’ve taken anything away from this experience, it’s that it only matters if you try. We may only spend four years here at Tufts before we move away and onto potentially better places and things.

But in those four years, make that journey. Go to those places. Get off campus. Don’t worry about success. After all, as Dr. Seuss inquires, “How much can you lose? How much can you win?”I’d say you’ll win much more than you lose.

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Jacob Passy is a senior majoring in international relations. He can be reached at Jacob.Passy@tufts.edu.

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