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Getting Started

statler

Cyburbian
Messages
447
Points
14
(Michele- I hope this is the type of thread you were looking for here.)

History
As I mentioned in the other thread I am in the process of moving from my home town (Roslindale-a neighborhood in Boston) to Malden (a street car suburb just north of Boston). I'm moving so that my fiancee can be closer to her family and work after we get married. (Also, the house stock is a bit cheaper). I'm not thrilled about the move, but I've decided to make the best it and try to make Malden my new home.

About Malden
Malden is an old manufacturing city, turned suburb and is about a 10-20 minute drive from downtown Boston. Also accessible via MBTA (T) Orange line. Population ~56,000 It has a decent downtown center with some old industrial era buildings mixed in with some horrible 60's-70's era urban renewal.

Good Points
Malden does have some wonderful neighborhoods with some fantastic Victorian houses. Most of them are in good shape or a being restored. A lot of this is thanks to a very active Victorian Society in the city. Malden is also home to two beautiful H.H. Richardson buildings (though, I think I might have been done by his firm after his death) There is also a rather busy downtown with a large T station nearby. The downtown shops are mostly occupied by mom & pop type stores with only a few chains (DD's Mc'D's)

Bad Points
Like most cities Malden went through it's urban renewal phase in which a large chunk of it's downtown was destroyed and replaced with some second-rate brutalism (tinged with red brick for contextualism I guess) So the dense downtown core is broken up by large swathes of open & useless plazas. Some of the remaining older buildings have been retrofitted to appear more modern. There are some empty storefronts as well and most of the mom & pops don't maintain their fronts all that well (or their landlords don't at least).

Overall, the bones are there for a wonderful little city, but there seems to be a small town vibe hanging over the place. There seems like there isn't a push to clean it up for fear of gentrification (a legitimate fear I suppose)

While I really believe there are things that can make Malden a much nicer place I'm not sure that I really want to 'get involved'. My biggest problem is that my fiancee's family has lived there for a few generations and are very active socially and politically. I'm afraid first that I'll be known as the kid who married into the _______ family and secondly, if I make waves I'll get backlash from her family. So I'm not sure what to do. I'm sure there are groups and orgs that I could join and get my urban development jones, but I don't know how to do it without stepping on toes.

Any thoughts?
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
statler said:
While I really believe there are things that can make Malden a much nicer place I'm not sure that I really want to 'get involved'. My biggest problem is that my fiancee's family has lived there for a few generations and are very active socially and politically. I'm afraid first that I'll be known as the kid who married into the _______ family and secondly, if I make waves I'll get backlash from her family. So I'm not sure what to do. I'm sure there are groups and orgs that I could join and get my urban development jones, but I don't know how to do it without stepping on toes.

Any thoughts?
You know, it has got to be one of the biggest stereotypes that in-laws make your life miserable (and all stereotypes have some basis in fact). And, frankly, if they are going to be jerks, it doesn't much matter what you do, they will make you miserable. And if they are going to be decent people, it doesn't much matter what you do (within reasonable bounds), they will Get Over it. :)

If you refrain from pursuing your genuine interest in urban development, I suspect that will be something that makes you miserable. Would you rather be miserable doing something you love and putting up with disgruntled in-laws? Or miserable doing nothing and letting the reactions you IMAGINE they will have run your life? People don't always do what we expect them to do. This could be a great opportunity to bond with your future in-laws. And they can give you a leg up on hitting the ground running in your new community so that it doesn't take so long for you to feel really involved.

In ANY social situation, no matter how bad, you ALWAYS have two choices: 1)you can allow others to define you and then live up to their expectations or 2) you can choose to define yourself and let them figure it out and be cross-eyed for a while. :-D I, personally, would not give up an interest of mine for fear that others would think I was doing it because I "married into X family". The irony is that if you get involved and risk being seen that way, you will, in fact, be "being yourself" and NOT defined by them. But if you refrain from such activities because you are worried that people will see you as being influenced by your in-laws, you will, in fact, be living life in reaction to your in-laws and they will be defining you, in a reactionary and negative way as to what you choose to NOT be.

In all likelihood, your specific interests will be somewhat different from theirs anyway. Eventually, you will find your own niche. There is a Persian saying to the effect that "a tree heavy with fruit bows low to the ground". We might say "A lion doesn't need to roar". If you've got the goods, people WILL eventually figure it out. You don't need to scream about it and make a big fuss. You can quietly go about your business and prove yourself. For one last cliche: "The proof is in the pudding". :)
 

statler

Cyburbian
Messages
447
Points
14
Thanks Michele

I guess that was the kick in the butt I was looking for. :)

Her family is deeply involved in the Victorian Society I mentioned so that might be a good place to start. But first I need to get my own property in order before I start telling people what they should do with theirs! ;-)

I'll try to keep you updated and I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this forum. Thanks again for starting this up!
 
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