On the Cutting Room Floor – My New Job

Readers of The Wrong Calamity know that my job as an assistant in my freshman year at Brandeis changed the course of my life. This bit of local history didn’t make it to the book: Brandeis was only 15 miles from Boston, but there was no way to get to the city. The B&M Railroad regularly went past nearby Roberts Road but stopped there only during weekday rush hours. My boss, Peter, got the railroad to agree to a trial period of stopping at Roberts Road every time it passed. Then he heavily promoted Boston events on campus and convinced the school to subsidize students’ train fares. Evenings and weekends, I stood on the main road of campus 15 minutes before each train was due, while he stood down at the train stop. We each held boxy squawky walkie-talkies, big black things with long antennas. If a student came running down the road, I’d holler, “Are you going to the train?” If yes, I’d alert Peter with my two-way radio. He’d step onto the train with one foot but keep the other foot on the ground while he talked the conductor into waiting. It worked! The B&M is long gone, but the old Roberts stop now has an actual boarding platform and is the Brandeis/Roberts station on a metro-Boston commuter line, providing students frequent, easy access to the many treasures of Boston.

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