Days like the one I had Wednesday make the book tour fun. They weren’t about selling lots of copies of “The Race Underground”, just spreading the word and talking about a project that was 5 years in the making.
I started my day early, reading and talking with a group of about 50-60 juniors at Newton North High School at 8 a.m. They were still waking up, but it’s cool because I was, too. They are studying American history and just finished the Gilded Age period, so the time period was right up their alley. As I figured, they seemed interested and curious, but when it came to asking questions, like a lot of teenagers, they went mum. But when I threw questions their way, they had all the answers. Their teacher, Kathryn Codd, was incredibly warm and welcoming to me, and arranged for us to use a great auditorium space. That school is something else, it’s like a college campus, so impressive. My high school in Barrington, R.I. was nice, this was another universe.
After my day at The Globe working on this Sunday’s new real estate section Address, I raced to Dedham at 7 p.m. to another sparkling facility that opened around the same time as the new Newton North H.S. This was New Bridge on the Charles, a beautiful independent and assisted living facility. My audience here was a tad older than my morning crew, average age of about 80, and I had to wear a microphone to be heard. But unlike the teens, they had no shortage of questions for me. And what I loved about this audience is they were eager to share their own experiences riding wooden trolley cars in Boston or walking beneath the El in New York.
I started my day talking to teens and ended it talking to their grandparents. But my favorite observation of all: In the morning and the evening, both groups had to be politely reminded to (wait for it!) please turn off their cell phones!