(This series features those who have made South Boston home for thirty years plus and those who are new to the neighborhood.)
If you are ever tempted to think that all new neighbors to South Boston, bring ill-regard and annoyance to the treasured neighborhood, you haven’t met Alabama born and raised, Alan Barlow. At twenty-seven, he completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in Alabama, is a Physician’s Assistant and visited forty-eight states. He has now landed in South Boston, the only place he has lived outside of Mobile.
“I absolutely love my job at Mass. Eye and Ear,” he said. “Everyone who works there seems to want to be there. I randomly applied through Indeed, and interviewed at other Boston places, too, but I couldn’t have been luckier to get this.”
He expresses enthusiasm and joy for his home of less than a year and engages in a natural and intelligent way. He observes some of the behavior he doesn’t like but stays focused and without obvious judgement.
“I always wanted to live in a bigger city and not drive. I am loving it here. There is always something to do. I live right near the beach and played volleyball there this summer, and now we have moved over to Moakley Park. Then, Trivia Night at the Shamrock has become a stable in my life. The same group plays every week, and it is fun and right down the street,” he said.
Beyond these positive activities, Alan thought through his choice of where to live. “I didn’t want a high rise. I like this kind of place, but I understand how people who have lived here a long time get nervous about costs going up,” he said. As he walks around the city, he is quick to see beauty in the Public Garden, and Charles St, and in travel to other New England states, but there is something that feels at home about him in South Boston. With a slight Southern accent and ample politeness, he looked for a different place to call home, and seems to have found it.
“Yes, it is different, and I haven’t had a winter yet, but what I notice is that people tell you what they don’t like. It’s honest. No one tries to be nice to be nice,” he said with a notable sense of modesty and confidence.
As comfortable as he is in this northeast city of new wonders, his mother, Director of IT for an international firm, and a pharmacist sister, mother to his young niece and nephew all live in Alabama. So far, his outgoing manner allows for a connection in both places.
“They are used to me missing because I travelled so much, but I will go back for the most important holiday, Mardi Gras, make no mistake,” he said laughing.
Of course, much of Alan’s time is devoted to work in the Sinus Clinic at Mass. Eye and Ear, and the interesting and complex situations that led him to want to have a patient-facing career over other medical possibilities. Even so, he is already thinking of volunteer work when the time and place are right.
“I want to do something that provides a service and also helps me stay medically up to date. I’m thinking about where when the time is right, “he said.
It will be a lucky place that matches him, as it has been for Mass. Eye and Ear and South Boston. He brings the kind of energy and sensitivity any community can appreciate.
“I am planting my feet and want to stay at a place,” he said.
Please welcome Alan Barlow to South Boston!
(If you know of someone with 30 plus or a newcomer to SB who might want their story told, contact email@example.com)