Zak's Early Years
While most of you know me as a proud Californian, I wasn't born here. Granted, I've lived here since I was six years old, when my family moved to Southern California in summer 1975. Previous to that, though, we moved around... a lot. My dad was a salesman in the apparel business, and he switched jobs and territories often. That ended up having me living in six different midwest/East Coast cities before my sixth birthday: Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago (Evanston, to be specific), and two cities north of Boston: Lynn and Marblehead.
My earliest real memories, in fact, were in Marblehead. It's a beautiful town that I've since revisited. Marblehead is a small city filled with history; it's next door to Salem, the place known for the famous witch trials. It's also a well-known harbor, and a place that's filled with boating enthusiasts (in that aspect, much like my current home of Redondo Beach, CA). My dad took me to Red Sox games, and despite my subsequent years of enjoying warm LA-area weather, I recall building snow forts and loving the cold back then. There was a restaurant we'd go to back then called The Barnacle that had the best clam chowder I've ever experienced in the many years since.
Back Bay Days
In 1985, between my junior and senior years of high school, I attended a semester at Berklee College of Music, one of the finest music schools in the country. I lived in the dorm there on Massachusetts Avenue near the corner of Boylston Street. It's in the heart of Boston's Back Bay area, and was my first real exposure to living on my own, and the only time I've ever actually resided in the middle of a big city.
Berklee was not only an amazing place to learn about music, but also was huge in my maturation process. The few months I was there was a preview of life to come in terms of being on my own, having a serious girlfriend (I never forgot about you, Juley Katz!), and enjoying the freedom of exploring a city with my friends. We'd take the T into Government Center, or walk up the street to the banks of the Charles River, or down toward Fenway. I have terrific memories of that city, and will always feel like it's part of me.
Here's to Beantown!
Like many cities temporarily affected by tragedy, Boston's going to be fine. Or, as a Bostonian would say, fuckin-A right, we'll be fine. It's a city filled with strong, smart, tough, and proud people, whose history eclipses almost any other place in the USA. Here's my salute to all of you.