My husband and I have enjoyed living in your city for 10 years. My son took a little while (8 years) to come around, but he now likes it, too. My daughter was born here, so this is home to her.
We want to thank you for your efforts to keep us here when we thought we couldn’t afford it. The last few years, we’ve been looking for a bigger place. We thought a multi-family dwelling was the solution, but it turns out to have snags we hadn’t realized.
Last summer, we toyed with moving in or near Salem. We decided to give in one more year. To squeeze in a 2 bedroom condo with a porch, but no property. (Why are there nearly no 3-bedroom places in Cambridge? WHY?)
Our needs have been modest: 300-400 more square feet, 3 bedrooms, 1 ½ baths, a little property, and a driveway.
An extra bedroom? A full bath instead of a half? Garage? All of that would be beyond our wildest dreams in Cambridge.
Two weeks ago, we saw a house in our price range. On a main road and not beautiful from the outside, but still… Hopeful, we entered its halls to discover an inside dated from the middle of the last century. After we climbed the stairs, we were woeful when we eyed the ancient stove in the dining room. Set diagonally. The crumbling walls and ceilings all needed replacing. Our heart disintegrated like the plumbing within the walls.
We decided to look in Arlington, MA (one town over) the next day.
There were actually HOUSES in our price range. Not just 1, but also several. And these houses were by big parks and preserves. Some had 4 bedrooms. Some had big yards. Some were updated. Some were near town and transportation. 1 was in a ritzy part of town near golf courses.
It’s not Cambridge.
But we can see us making a life there.
With your big changes in the school system, this might be the right time to go.
We want to thank you for all that you stand for and all you try to do. Your museums are wonderful. Harvard and MIT are involved in our schools. School choice and good funding means stronger schools than in a typical city (though poverty poses many challenges, especially in the classroom). You have a liberal recycling program. I like that when I bring my compost to the recycling center, I can also swap books. You have good public transportation. (And you’re next door to Boston!) I can keep my kids entertained all summer between the libraries and summer park programs. Best of all, you don’t just accept different cultures, families, and religions, but embrace them. Sometimes you fall short of what you’re trying to achieve, but you try.
Famous authors and scientists walk around this town, along with people whose families have lived here for generations, along with immigrant families and students from all over the world.
While Arlington will offer some of this, it won’t offer all of it. But it will probably offer things I can’t imagine, and I will sing their praises once I know them.
Moving a few miles away won’t change who we are. We lived in Cambridge, which shared many of our values. But it doesn’t mean Arlington won’t. When I look at city data, it’s not all that different. Why does it feel a world away?
We’ll be here all the time, anyway. My kids will still keep their after school lessons and friends. My college is here. My husband still works here.
Besides, the coveted parking permit is still good for another year.
Theresa Milstein xo