On Being Both

Swan Boats, Boston Public Garden

I’m a Bostonian. My first memories are of chasing pigeons and ducks in the Public Garden, and dropping coins to an organ-grinder from the balcony of our apartment on Charles Street. The Red Sox are my team. I do not follow any other team, or for that matter, any other sport.

Boston is world-famous. Watertown, on the other hand, was a quiet, working-class suburb, at least until this week. Yet Watertown also plays a central role in my family history. My father, a chemical engineer, worked his entire career for a water treatment company in Watertown. For my first summer job, I rose before dawn with him every morning, and ate breakfast at a diner in Watertown alongside contractors, plumbers and electricians. At the plant, I worked alongside local Armenian-Americans and Portuguese-Americans. At lunchtime, I would go out to explore the nearby shops in search of lahmejune, the addictive…

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