Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kathy Geoghegan-Barek

Hi Everyone,

I’m Kathy. I’m taking this course just for fun. I work for Boston University at the medical campus and am involved in medical research, which is a very different kind of science. I spent 2 decades working in the biotechnology field before coming to work at the university. Since I started working here I’ve taken several classes, all of which were job related. I heard about this class last summer and thought it would be fun, but decided it would be “irresponsible” to take this class when I could be taking something more “practical” like Cytogenetics or Molecular Genetics instead. I spent both semesters last summer indoors, but I kept thinking that this class really could be fun, so I decided this summer I was going to be irresponsible. When I told my boss I was taking a few vacation days so I could take this class and he read the course description he said to me “You just want to go to the beach.” I guess he’s right. I just want to go to the beach.

I grew up in Boston. My mother never had a driver’s license and my father worked 2 jobs and wasn’t home much to take us anywhere. As a result we rarely ventured far from our Allston-Brighton neighborhood. The only wild life I saw as a child was pigeons, sparrows and squirrels. We consider robins and chipmunks to be exotic species. When I was six I read a story that had a firefly in it. At the age of fifteen I actually saw one and was totally amazed. Until then I thought fireflies were fictitious creatures, kind of like unicorns. Needless to say, my knowledge of the natural world is severely limited and I’d like to do something about that. (Unicorns are fictitious, right?)

Despite the fact mom didn’t drive, a few times every summer we would load our arms up with our beach bags, towels, sand toys, blanket and folding beach chairs and head out to the bus stop a few blocks away where we would catch the bus to Central Square. We would then board a red-line train to Washington St, followed by the orange-line train to State St. and finally get on a blue line train to arrive at Revere Beach. There my sisters and I would spent the afternoon collecting interesting looking rocks, seashells and sea-glass that we would, of course, want to bring home with us at the end of the day. It was the same every time. We would beg mom to let us bring them home and she would refuse. She would remind us that we already had to carry home beach bags, towels, sand toys, blankets and folding chairs on 3 trains and a bus. She wasn’t willing to carry home 40 pounds of rocks as well. Those summer days at Revere Beach are some of my fondest memories from childhood.

Later, when I was in college, there were 2 summers that I decided to take a class at UMass Boston. I didn’t attend UMass year round so I wasn’t aware that the campus was right on the water. Everyday when class was over I’d walk along the water’s edge and watch the jellyfish. They move so gracefully through the water that I felt a sense of peace watching them. It’s no wonder why this summer I just want to go to the beach.

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