Bostonian Luggage and my grandfather
A funny thing happened on my way . . . to a google search. Vintage luggage has been a trend for several years now. I've never really gotten into it but then I came across a pair of beautiful leather stitched pieces of luggage with the original tags from Dorchester, Massachusetts. It reminded me of some of my own family history so I started the search.
There is something about a vintage suitcase especially with tags that makes you really think about the story behind it. Who were the owners? Did they travel often? What was it like to travel in the 20's, 30's, 50's? So different than today because of security and technology but not so different than today because when you're setting off on an adventure you're filled with the same excitement and/or anxiety.
In an effort to research more information about the luggage I had acquired, which had the tags Brush Hill tours, I ended up down a rabbit hole in search of Bostonian luggage, the company my grandfather started. As we all know once you begin a google search you end up down a never ending path looking for more information.
My grandfather started the business in Somerville, Massachusetts in 1955. I had never asked about it and with luggage on my mind I asked my Dad to tell me more about my grandfather and what he did in the early years.
My grandfather was adopted by his step-father at a young age (unusual back then), went to Somerville High School graduated from MIT with a degree in Architecture. He was a salesman, entrepreneur, writer, married for somewhere around 75 years and always had a joke. In 1955 he started Bostonian Luggage with three partners, some of whom were his neighbors on Highland Avenue in Arlington. They opened up their business on Myrtle Street in Somerville. After the Navy, my dad began helping him fix up the building where Bostonian Luggage was to open and while they were painting my grandfather cut his finger off in a fan (I always thought it was a lawnmower). The business stayed in that location for several years with accounts at Filenes in downtown Boston, until moving to Lawrence where they eventually had to close their doors.
I found this all fascinating so I continued the google search in an attempt to find Bostonian Luggage. In search after search nothing came up. I thought - how cool would it be to have a piece of something my grandfather started? Worth nothing to someone else but tells me more about his story. Finally, while searching on etsy.com I came across LuckyLenoreVintage from Clyde, Michigan. Lucky Lenore happened to have an advertising tag and two luggage keys from Bostonian Luggage for $10. I don't know why it was important for me to have it but it was. From Boston to Michigan and then back to Boston.
It's a small, two inch square tag, with two keys and I don't know how it would have survived all these years but it did. I love antiques because I am fascinated with the people and stories behind them and in this case it led me down a path to some of my own family history.